Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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Recipe: Gingerbread Cookies

By: Snap Fitness

Looking for a healthier holiday treat to bring to your next party or family gathering? Try these Gingerbread Cookies! This recipe is gluten-free and doesn’t contain eggs or dairy. Grab your favorite cookie cutters and get to baking!

 

Ingredients

4 cups gluten-free, dairy-free shortbread cookie mix

1/3 cup packed-light brown sugar

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 ¾ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ cup molasses

6 tablespoons canola oil

¼ cup water

 

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Put cookie mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, and nutmeg in a bowl. Mix together with a fork.

-Add molasses and canola oil to bowl and blend together with fork.

-Add water and mix with fork until content forms a dough.

-Place dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out ¼-inch thick.

-Refrigerate 10 minutes.

-Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes from the dough.

-Transfer the cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 8-12 minutes.

-Let cookies cool and decorate as needed!

Tips for Eating Healthy While Traveling

By: Snap Fitness

With holiday breaks coming up, you might be logging a lot of hours driving or flying to see loved ones. When you’re traveling, healthy dining options can be limited. Fast food restaurants and cheap snacks at gas stations may be convenient, but they are not the best choices – especially if you’re stopping at them throughout your trip!

 

Just like packing your clothes, take a little time and try to plan out what you’ll be eating during your travels beforehand. Not only will it save you money, it’ll help you avoid unhealthy choices like French fries, greasy double cheeseburgers, and more.

 

Here are some easy tips to follow when it comes to eating while traveling:

 

Pack snacks. This is a great way to avoid grabbing candy or chips at the airport or gas station. Pick foods that are nutrient-dense and good sources of protein; they’ll help you stay full longer. Granola bars, dried fruit, and trail mix are solid snack options. Keep portion control in mind so you aren’t eating several servings in one sitting.

 

Drink more water. There are countless benefits to drinking water: flushes out toxins, boosts your immune system, improves skin complexion, and more. If you have the choice between water and soda, water’s always the clear winner.

 

Don’t skip breakfast. You need a morning meal to get your metabolism going. The longer you go without eating a meal, the hungrier you’ll be and in turn, more likely to over-eat. Start your day with a serving of oatmeal and a banana to get some energy!

 

Download a nutrition app. There are plenty of them available on your smart phone or tablet, like MyFitnessPal, Calorie Counter Pro, and more. If you’re ever unsure of the nutritional content in a meal or food item, simply scan the bar code or look it up by name.

Healthy Tailgate Snacks

By: Snap Fitness

Football season is back! You know what that means – going to games or yelling at your TV watching your favorite college and professional teams. Didn’t you miss the emotional roller coaster than comes with being a football fan?

 

One of the best fall pastimes is tailgating before a football game. If you’re at the stadium or your living room, having the right food is a must. Brats, burgers, and beer quickly come to mind. They may be the easy choices, but if you’re trying to keep a healthy lifestyle outside of the gym, they’re not doing you any favors.

 

Here are some healthy and delicious alternatives that’ll fuel you up and give you energy for the big games:

 

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites: Who needs chicken wings when you can sauce up veggies? Take one head of cauliflower and chop it into bite-size pieces. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup water, pinch of garlic powder, and pinch of salt thoroughly with a whisk in a small bowl. Dip cauliflower in the batter then place them on a greased, non-stick baking sheet. Bake for until the batter hardens (about 10 minutes), then flip with a spatula and bake for another five minutes. In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and 1 tsp. butter together. When the cauliflower bites are done, brush each piece with the hot sauce mixture. Put the cauliflower back in the oven again until the pieces are crispy.

 

Black Bean Hummus and Veggies: Great substitute for chips and dip, not to mention a lot less sodium. Black beans are filled with fiber, protein, and iron. Carrots and celery sticks are perfect for dipping! All you need is one can of black beans, two tablespoons of lemon juice, two tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, and 1 minced garlic clove. Blend everything together in a food processor and you’re good to go!

 

Sweet Potato Fries: The perfect comfort food, minus all the guilt! Peel and slice five sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch long slices and 1/4-inch long strips. Toss sweet potatoes in a bowl with olive oil. Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice (salt, pepper, paprika). Spread potatoes out on a cooking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. Turn potatoes occasionally, until golden brown in color. Let cool and enjoy!  

 

What’s your favorite healthy tailgate snack? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Back to School Snacks

By: Snap Fitness

It’s Back to School time! Start the kids’ day off right with a fun and healthy breakfast that also doubles as an after-school snack. Pack the lunchbox with a rainbow-inspired lunch of hummus and veggies, some berries, and a delicious grain-free cucumber sub sandwich.

 

Gluten Free Breakfast Cookies are packed with protein and fiber. Made with healthy fats, they will help keep your kids fueled until lunch. Serve with dairy-free yogurt or a glass of almond milk and some fruit.

 

Beans may not be exciting to all kids, but when blended with flavorful ingredients, garbanzo beans become a healthful and tasty dip. Perfect as a sandwich spread, rolled in a wrap or used as dip, hummus is very versatile. Stir in different flavor components to change up the flavor to suit your children's taste. When dipping, serve with your favorite whole grain or seed gluten free crackers or serve with any vegetable.

 

Trying to serve up more veggies and not sure where to start? Try making a fun sub sandwich using cucumber for the bun. Cucumber’s mild, juicy flavor is a hit with most kids. When topped with their favorite sandwich toppings, a cucumber sub is a delicious way to nibble more veggies.

 

Gluten Free Breakfast Cookies

Makes 10

 

2 cups gluten free rolled oats, divided

1/3 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut

1 and 1/4 cup unsalted nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds

1/2 cup unsalted pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds

1/4 cup chopped dates or raisins

1/4 cup gluten and dairy free chocolate chips

1/3 cup coconut oil or olive oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut sugar or packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

 

In a food processor, grind 3/4 cup of the oatmeal with the coconut until finely grounded.

 

Add the nuts to the processor and pulse until nuts are chopped, but not grounded into a powder. Put oat mixture into a bowl with pumpkin or sunflower seeds, dates and chocolate chips.

 

Whisk oil, maple syrup, sugar, egg, vanilla and salt together until well combined. Pour over dry ingredient. Mix well until everything is well coated.

 

Using a 1/3 cup scoop, scoop batter onto parchment lined cookie sheets.

Lightly pat each mound into a circle about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Moisten

fingers if needed if batter is sticky.

 

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Halfway through baking time, rotate pan(s).

 

Allow cookies to completely cool completely before removing from parchment. Keep in an airtight container for up to one week or wrap individually and freeze.

 

 

Hummus

Serves 6

 

1 - 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup tahini

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, optional

2 tablespoons minced parsley, optional

 

Directions:

Place beans, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, cumin, black pepper and red chili into a food processor or blender and purée until smooth.

 

Scrape down sides of the bowl as needed. If the mixture is too thick, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, during blending. Stir in dill and parsley.

 

Serve immediately or refrigerate, tightly covered.

 

Variations:

Beet Hummus: Blend 1/4 to 1/3 cup cubed cooked beets with garbanzo beans until smooth.

 

Italian Hummus: Replace cumin with Italian seasoning and cilantro with minced basil. Stir in 1/4 cup minced sun dried tomatoes after hummus is smooth.

 

Guaca-Hummus: Blend one peeled and pitted, ripe avocado with chickpeas until smooth. Replace lemon juice with lime juice.

 

Olive Hummus: To basic hummus, stir in 1/3 cup diced green olives and 1/3 cup black olives.

 

 

Cucumber Sub “Sandwich”

 

1 medium cucumber

Favorite sandwich fillings. (Pictured: Dairy free cream cheese alternative,

turkey and ham)

 

Directions:

Trim cucumber ends. If the skin of the cucumber seems a bit thick, peel strips of the peel to make it easier for biting.

 

Slice cucumber in half the long way. Scoop out the seeded center of the cucumber halves.

 

Fill bottom half with you favorite sandwich toppings, mounding slightly.

 

Add top cucumber half to enclose filling and finish sandwich.

 

15 Ways to Treat Yo’ Self

By: Snap Fitness

Sometimes you simply need to indulge into your cravings and treat yo’ self. But before you run to the candy section, make sure you’re making a healthier choice. After all, you don’t want to ruin your intense workout in two minutes! Instead, try one of these healthier alternatives the next time you feel a craving coming on.

 

1. Strawberries and Cool Whip

For an easy and guilt free dessert dish up a bowl of this sweet, fiber-rich combo.

 

2. Chocolate Avocado Moose

This rich, chocolate dessert is so delicious you won’t believe the creaminess came from an avocado. The chocolate takes over the taste of the avocado, which leaves you with a smooth texture you’d never thought imaginable. 

 

3. Banana Ice Cream

All you need to create this delicious treat is a blender, one frozen banana and some almond milk. If you’d like to give it more flavor you can add peanut butter or a few teaspoons of cocoa powder for some chocolate flavor.

 

4. Dark Chocolate

In moderation, dark chocolate can be a healthy treat to enjoy. It’s packed with antioxidants and can help regulate level of the stress hormone, cortisol.

 

5. No Flour Oatmeal Banana Cookies

These chewy no-flour cookies are free of gluten but full of flavor. We suggest topping your favorite yogurt or ice cream with these cookies. 

 

6. Chocolate Milk

If you’re looking for a refreshing treat and an effective post-workout recovery drink, chocolate milk is a great way to treat yourself!

 

7. Smoothie

Smoothies can make a great breakfast, snack, or dessert.  They are sweet enough to fill any cravings. Try this cinnamon apple smoothie for a cool treat.

 

8. Air-Popped Popcorn

If you’re craving something on the salty side, dive into some air-popped popcorn.

 

9. Yogurt Parfait

Top 1 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt with your choice of toppings: crumbled graham crackers or granola, various nuts and some shaved chocolate!

 

10. Peanut Butter and Jelly Protein Shake


Not only does it taste great, it’s also loaded with protein making it perfect for a post-workout treat. Get your peanut butter and jelly fix any day of the week without wreaking havoc on your health and your physique.

 

11. Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry
There’s nothing better than fresh strawberries in the summer! To give them an extra punch of goodness by dipping them in chocolate and let set in the refrigerator until the chocolate coating has hardened.

 

12. Fruit and Cottage Cheese
This is a great protein packed snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth. You can add more flavor by drizzling honey on it or adding a teaspoon of cocoa powder.

 

13. Greek Yogurt Mini Cheesecake

Finally, a guilt free cheesecake! This recipe is modified to use less cream cheese, and in its place use protein-rich Greek yogurt. It is also crust-less, which is great news to those on a gluten-free diet.

 

14. Frozen Grapes
Enjoy a vine of frozen grapes for an antioxidant packed snack. Simply wash your grapes and put them in the freezer for a couple hours and enjoy.

 

15. Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins

These Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins are quick to make and better yet, are easy to freeze and reheat  – so they are great to have on stand-by in the freezer!

 


 

Tell Us: What’s your favorite way to treat yo’ self? Head to our Facebook or Twitter to share! 

10 Ways to Make Your Groceries Last Longer

By: Snap Fitness

Eating healthy means eating lots of fresh produce. Sadly fresh veggies and fruit don’t stay fresh for very long. Here are some easy tricks to give your groceries some extra shelf life.

 

1. Store delicate herbs like flowers.

Put them in a jar with water, cover them with plastic, secure it with a rubberband, and refrigerate. This keeps delicate herbs like parsley, basil, cilantro, and chives fresh the longest.

 

2. Use a vinegar solution to make your berries last longer.

Mix together one part vinegar (white or apple cider) and ten parts water. Soak the berries in the mixture, drain, rinse, and put them in the fridge. The solution is diluted enough that you won’t taste the vinegar. Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft.

 

3. One rotten apple can spoil the bunch.

It’s not just an old wives’ tale. When apples begin to decay, they emit ethelyne gas. If the rotting apple is mixed in with the good, the good apples start to absorb the gas and rot.

 

4. Don’t store onions with potatoes.

They spoil faster together. Instead store separate in a cool dry place with good air circulation, onions will last 2-3 months.

 

5. Store potatoes with apples.

The ethelyne gas produced by apples prevents potatoes from sprouting.

 

6. Put onions in pantyhose, and tie knots between each onion.

Onions stored in pantyhose will last as long as 8 months.

  

7. Wrap the crown of a bunch of bananas with plastic wrap.

They’ll keep for 3-5 days longer than usual. Bananas also produce more ethelyne gas than any other fruit, so keep them isolated on the counter.

 

8. Wrap celery, broccoli, and lettuce in tin foil before storing in the fridge.

It’ll stay crisp for 4 weeks or more.

 

9. Mason jars are your friend.

Produce will keep a few days longer if stored in a jar. Mason jars also provide a healthier and longer-lasting alternative to plastic tupperware, which deteriorates and stains easily. 

 

10. Clean your fridge.

Once something goes bad in your fridge or cupboards, it leaves behind mold that's ready to eat up your new food. Disinfect the fridge, it’ll make everything last longer.

 

What's your favorite trick that helps your groceries last longer? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

5 Ways to Eat Less Sugar

By: Snap Fitness

These days we’re drowning in sugar. It’s estimated that Americans eat 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day, which adds up to 56 pounds each year! This added sugar not only leads to weight gain, but some serious health problems.

 

Here are 5 easy ways you can cut down on your sugar intake:

 

Cut out sweetened beverages.

Nearly 40% of the added sugar in our diets comes from sugary beverages like soda, juice, and sweet tea. Trade out your sweet drinks for good ole water. If you still need some flavor add in lemon, lime, fresh mint, or even some mashed fruit.

 

Beware of hidden sugar.

Sugar can be sneaky. There are many foods that have more added sugar than you may think.  The best way to avoid added sugar is to check the ingredients list. Avoid foods with corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, molasses, cane sugar, and evaporated cane juice.

 

Sweeten things yourself.

Buy truly unsweetened goods (not products made form calorie free sweeteners) and sweeten them yourself. For example greek yogurt, oatmeal, and almond milk. You can then add in organic honey or maple syrup, both contain some nutrients and antioxidants.

 

Go Natural.

Replace your favorite sugary treats with fruit. Strawberries and blueberries are naturally sweet and just as satisfying. Also there are many tricks to replacing sugar in your recipes with delicious fruit options for less calories. You can add pureed fruit to any recipe form cookies to coleslaw.

 

Establish your limits.

For many a life without sugar just isn’t as sweet. It’s not realistic to cut it out all together. Everyone once in a while you need to treat yourself. Pick a day each week or even a number of when or how many sugary treats you can have. Use this to help you avoid temptation during the rest of the week.

 

What’s your trick to cutting down your sugar intake? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

 

Sources:

 

Sass, C, (MPH) 5 Ways to Eat Less Sugar (2014) Health.com. Retrieved May 14, 2014.

       

5 Ways to Eat Avocado

By: Snap Fitness

Guacamole is only the beginning! Avocados are filled with a ton of nutrients, like potassium, folate, and vitamins C and K. In fact, an avocado has about 60 percent more potassium than a banana. Did you know avocados are actually fruit? Additionally, they're low in fat and have no cholesterol.

 

The best part about avocados is that they can easily be added to any meal! Breakfast, lunch, or dinner is the best time for some of this green fruit.

 

Here are five quick ways to add avocado to your diet:

 

-Plain: cut the fruit in half, take out the pit, and enjoy! If you need a little more flavor, add some lemon juice or a favorite seasoning.

 

-With cottage cheese: a snazzy version of the plain avocado! Put a scoop of cottage cheese in where the pit used to be. You have a pre-made bowl that you can take on the go!

 

-With an egg baked in it: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and crack an egg into an avocado half (sans pit). Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy!

 

-Sliced up in your salad: Slice and dice up pieces and shake them into your favorite salad. We recommend making them a staple for Cobb salads!

 

-Spread on your sandwich: A BLT with avocado? Delicious. A grilled cheese with avocado? Mind-blowing!

 

Got any other fun ways to eat avocado? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter!

Best Heart-Healthy Foods

By: Snap Fitness

In order to lead a healthy lifestyle, nutrition and exercise are equally important. Working out an hour a day is great, but it doesn’t do much if you’re hitting up a fast-food joint upon leaving the gym. A well-balanced diet makes your workouts more effective and keeps you energized throughout the day. Eating well is important, but do you know what foods help promote a healthy heart? 

 

Make the most of your meals with these five heart-healthy foods:

 

-Blueberries: full of antioxidants and anti-inflammorties, you can eat these berries plain or add them to a smoothie.

-Oatmeal: great choice for breakfast! A bowl of oatmeal is filled with omega-3s, potassium, and fiber.

-Olive oil: an easy swap for your current salad dressing of choice, olive oil lowers the bad LDL cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease.

-Salmon: another great source of omega 3s. Studies show that eating salmon helps reduce blood pressure and the risk of having a heart attack.

-Spinach: perfect for salads, spinach is an excellent source of folate, fiber, and potassium. 

 

What’s your favorite way to incorporate these foods into your meals? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Superfood of the week: Flaxseed

By: Snap Fitness

Flaxseed is one of the world’s most powerful superfoods. Not only has it been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes, it is also good for the skin, hair, and proper cell function. Can you believe all of that goodness comes from a tiny little seed?

 


Flaxseed is found in a variety of foods such as frozen waffles, crackers, oatmeal, and salad dressing. Flaxseed is a wonderful addition to your morning smoothie, or you can take it as a daily supplement.

 


Although flaxseed contains all sorts of health benefits, it’s best known for these three:

 


-Omega 3 fatty acids: Also known as the "good” fats. These acids have been shown to provide heart-healthy benefits. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of omega-3s.

 


-Fiber: Most Americans do not get enough fiber in their diet. Each tablespoon of flax contains about 8 grams of fiber. This helps keep your bodily functions regular and promotes proper digestion.

 


-Antioxidants: Contribute to protection against cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants are also good for cell rejuvenation, clear skin, and acne.

 

What's your favorite way to enjoy flaxseed? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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