As a Fruit and Vegetable Ambassador in Action for the Produce for Better Health Foundation, I hope you’ll join me in taking the Have A Plant™ Pledge. It’s simple. Add one more fruit and/or vegetable to your daily routine for 30 consecutive days to boost your health and happiness. And what better time to pledge to eat more fruits and veggies, than in September! Not only is it National Fruits and Veggies Month™, but busy schedules are in full swing with back to school and fall festivities. While it’s easy to find yourself raiding the candy bowl at work, with a touch of planning a filling nutrient-dense snack can be your go-to to add one more fruit or veggie instead! Snacks that contain PROTEIN and FIBER – the “dynamic duo” as I like to call them, help maintain blood sugar levels to assist you in better food choices throughout the entire day. Protein provides satiety and the ability to maintain lean muscle mass. In small bursts of 10-15 grams of protein per snack, it’s just what busy people need to keep them from breaking down these valuable stores for energy in between meals or getting overly hungry! Fiber, the indigestible part of plant foods, allows blood sugar to rise at a steady pace and provides volume in our stomach, helping us to feel full and satisfied.
What: Healthy, nutrient-dense snacks, when consumed properly, can provide energy and antioxidants. Having a snack (or two) isn’t a license to graze continually, but instead, having 1-3 snacks per day (each between 150-250 calories) can help to control appetite and top off carbohydrate stores for workouts. Sticking to whole food options that provide some protein will curb cravings and provide health benefits!
Why it’s perfect for #haveaplant and to meet the Have A Plant™ Pledge: These uncomplicated, easy to grab-and-go options will make snacking something you look forward to in between meals or on your way to a workout. And it gets you closer to meeting the daily recommended amounts of fruits and veggies into your diet in a more fun way. If you have a sensitive stomach, keep them at least 45 minutes to one hour away from a workout to cut down on the chances of GI upset.
When: Consume these fun, super snacks about 1.5-2 hours after your last meal to keep you fueled, satisfied, and making better nutrition choices all day long!
Dynamic Duo Ingredients
- 1 oz. almonds (about 23 nuts) + 1 sliced apple
- 2 Tbsps. hummus + 1 cup of baby carrots
- 1 low-fat string cheese + 1 cup grapes
- Cup 0-2% Greek yogurt + raspberries and 1 oz. walnuts (12-14 halves)
- Roast beef (3 slices) + two cherry tomatoes + 3 ½ oz. cheese blocks (I used Havarti, but you can choose your favorite!)
- Essentially no preparation other than the roast beef skewers! Just layer roast beef with small blocks of cheese and pop a cherry tomato on the end of each!