Tag Archives: snacks

Israeli Nachos

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was quiet and filled with lots of delicious food. Couldn’t have asked for more.

For as long as I can remember, New Year’s Eve has meant a dinner of appetizers. As a kid, I loved that. We got to eat in front of the TV, which never happened. My husband and I have continued the tradition, although our selection is pretty different from what I had growing up. We vary some items, but some sort of chip/dip/nacho combo is always in there.

These are what I loosely call “Israeli” Nachos. They were originally inspired by nachos my husband got at Middle Eastern restaurant and then riffed off of this online recipe. I like that there is some substance, but easy on the cheese. The hummus kind of acts like the guacamole, the Israeli salad like the pico, and the yogurt sauce like sour cream. Whether you could find anything like this in Israel, I don’t know. But I’d eat it if I did.

If you are looking for other appetizer ideas for your New Year’s celebrations, look here.

Israeli Nachos (Serves 4)

Israeli Nachos

½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ red onion, diced
½ jalapeno, diced small (seeds and membranes removed if preferred)
1 clove garlic, mincedd
1 can reduced sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon curry powder (to taste, based on heat of your curry)
Tortilla chips
Shredded mozzarella cheese (about ¼ cup per person)
1 cup low fat plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
3 tomatoes, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
¼ red onion, diced
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 recipe hummus

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion and jalapeño until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add 1 clove garlic, cooking 1 minutes. Add chickpeas, garam masala, and chickpeas. Saute until combined and heated through, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

3. Spread tortilla chips evenly over baking sheet. Sprinkle chickpea filling evenly over the top. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 5-7 minutes, until cheese is melted.

4. While cooking, prepare yogurt sauce by coming yogurt, 1 clove garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and tahini in a blender until smooth.

5. Also prepare salad: combine tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and remaining olive oil and lemon juice.

6. Serve nachos with hummus, yogurt sauce, and salad.

Recipe notes: Pita chips seem like the logical choice here, but I remember them being tortilla chips at the restaurant. Either would work of course. You notice I didn’t put nutritional information on this one. This one is a little complicated, since it is very variable on how many chips you like and how much of the dips you use. You will have a lot more dip than bean topping. So, you could double the topping. I didn’t have any, but I think some chopped flat leaf parsley in the salad would be really nice.

Source: adapted from memory from Laffa restaurant in Tulsa (If you are ever in Tulsa, go there please. Yum!) and here

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Smart Vending Machines

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I heard a news story about an interesting development in vending machines. New “smart” vending machines can use facial recognition technology to restrict an individual customer’s choices. According to the manufacturer, this can be used to prevent kids from buying cigarettes or keep dieters on track.

I think this is an interesting proposition. There are obvious flaws to the system. However, it could have a needed effect of increasing the amount of healthy items available in a vending machine. I mean, if it isn’t going to let you buy a Twinkie or Snickers, there has to be an alternative apple or carrot sticks it will let you buy. Right?

What do you think? Are you for or against technology like this? Should we help people by restricting their choices on a person by person basis? Or should we just change all options in a vending machine to be healthy? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Happy Holidays!

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Chips and Dip

Football season is here.  My husband is in heaven for the next few months.  Like all sports, I prefer watching football in person than on the television.  But some good snacks always make me more inclined to watch a game.

Chips and dip are a classic game day snack, but both can be overloaded with fat and salt.  Here are some homemade versions that won’t break your calorie bank.  You can feel good about the veggies in the salsa and guacamole.  And yes, avocados are high in fat.  But the monounsaturated fats in avocados can actually be beneficial to your health – when eaten in moderation and replacing saturated fats.  So eat that guacamole, especially if you are replacing a cheese sauce.

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Baked Tortilla Chips (Serves 5)

5 fajita-size whole-wheat flour tortillas or 10 small corn tortillas
Cooking spray
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Spray both sides of tortillas lightly with cooking spray. Stack tortillas and cut into sixths (flour tortillas) or fourths (corn tortillas). Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle with salt.

3. Bake for 5-7 minutes, watching to make sure they don’t burn. Once they look lightly “toasted”, flip over and bake for 2 minutes more. Serve with chips and salsa.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 132
Protein: 4
Fat: 4.5 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 19 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 241 mg

Source: adapted from online

Easy Pico de Gallo (Serves 4-5)

6 roma tomatoes, diced
¼ medium red onion, diced small
½ jalapeño, membranes and seeds removed, diced small
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Allow to sit in refrigerator for a couple hours for best flavor.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 34
Protein: 1.5 g
Fat: 0 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 8 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 126 mg

Source: adapted from family recipe

Guacamole (Serves 4-5)

3 large avocados, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup pico de gallo or salsa
pinch of salt

1. Mash avocados with 1 tablespoon of lime juice. (A pastry blender works well here.) Stir in remaining tablespoon of lime juice, pico de gallo, and salt. Serve immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 195
Protein: 2.5 g
Fat: 18 g
Saturated Fat: 2.6 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 11 g
Fiber: 8 g
Sodium: 44 mg

Source: adapted from family recipe

Recipe Notes: Using flour tortillas provides a little different taste than normal tortilla chips – a cross between tortilla chips and pita chips. Adjust the amount of onion and jalapeño in the pico de gallo to your preference. Raw red onion can become very powerful as it sits, so keep that in mind. You could use raw garlic, but I actually prefer powder here, as it can mix into more of the salsa than chunks of minced garlic.

Low iodine adjustment: Use non-iodized salt. You can make homemade tortillas or use salt-free tortillas.

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All about Snacks

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My life seems to be filled with the word snack lately. My little one recently added that word to her vocabulary and requests a snack anytime she isn’t getting her way. Every other blog post I read is about preparing after school snacks for kids. Recipes for snack type foods are popping up everywhere with the resurgence of football season.

But snacks aren’t just for kids or for munching your way through a lazy day on the couch. Snacks can be healthy contributions to your diet. Eating a snack when you are hungry between meals can prevent overeating at your next meal. Snacks can provide a boost of energy in a slow part of your day. Snack time can be a great time to get more servings of fruits and vegetables. You just need to keep a few things in mind.

-A snack should be about 200 calories or less. As you will see in the examples below, that isn’t a lot.

-You shouldn’t be adding calories to your total daily intake with snacks. If you eat a snack between lunch and dinner, you need to eat less than you normally would at dinner.

-Snacks ideally include fiber and protein. Both of these nutrients can help you feel full longer, increasing the benefit of snacking between meals.

-There is no hard and fast rule of when or when not to eat a snack, but I would suggest not eating a snack within one to two hours of a larger meal. Eating that close to a meal will either lead you to eat without listening to your body as your satiety cues will be suppressed or lead you to skip a meal and graze on less healthy items later.

Here are a few snack ideas to get you going:

– 1 peanut butter banana oatmeal bar
– 1 container of nonfat Greek yogurt with ½ cup of berries
– 1 medium apple and 1 string cheese
– ⅓ cup hummus with 1 cup of carrots or celery
– Trail mix made with a mixture of dried fruit and nuts. Most single serving packs available are under 200 calories, but you could also make your own using about 2 tablespoons each of almonds and raisins.
– ½ sandwich on whole wheat bread with 1 ounce of turkey, ½ ounce of cheese, lettuce, and tomato
– 1 medium banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter

Hope that helps and happy snacking!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Q&A: Nutrition on Nights

Q: How do I eat healthy while working the night shift? Do I have to be more conscientious of what I eat because of my different work schedule?

A:  No matter what your schedule looks like, a healthy diet has the same components.  If you work a night shift, though, you may need to make some adjustments to the way you think about eating.

One of the issues with working nights is that the body’s circadian rhythm – which tells us to sleep at night and be awake in the day – never really adjusts to being on the night shift.  This means you will likely generally feel tired at night and find it difficult to get enough sleep in the day.  It might help your sleeping patterns if youceat your heaviest meal as your “breakfast”, or first meal after sleeping.  A lighter meal as “dinner”, or your last meal before sleeping, will make it easier to fall asleep.

Also, when we are tired, we tend to eat high fat, high calorie foods.  We also tend to snack more when we are tired to stay awake.  This might be one of the reasons why people who work the night shift seem to have a greater risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  A balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight are therefore all the more important for moderating these risks.  Keep your portion sizes reasonable.  Try to focus on lean proteins, whole grains, and eating more vegetables.  Snacks are ok, but try to focus on lower calorie options, like fruit or vegetables.

Thanks for the question!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars

After I had my baby, I discovered that I needed to snack more than I had previously.  I quickly got tired of my typical grab and go snacks, but I wouldn’t take the time to make something like a sandwich.  I found this recipe, and it hit the sweet spot.  A whole pan was quick and easy to make.  It was a tasty, healthy, and filling snack.  My husband says these look like I unwrapped a granola bar.  It does have a similar taste, only much softer.

Another great thing about this snack is it doesn’t have a lot of added sugar.  A recent study found that people who consumed 25% or more of their calories from added sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those who consumed less than 10% of calories from added sugar.  This recipe has only 7 g of added sugar.  Compare that to a regular granola bar, which has 12 g of total sugar, which is predominately added sugar.

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Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars (makes 16 bars)

2 large bananas, ripe or overripe
3 cups dry oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup skim milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup peanut butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.

2. In a large bowl, mash bananas. (I usually just use my mixer.)

3. Add dry ingredients (oats through cinnamon) and lightly mix to combine.

4. Stir in vanilla, milk, and eggs.

5. Stir in peanut butter until combined.

6. Pour into prepared 9×13 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Let cool completely. Cut into 16 bars.

Nutritional Information (Amount per bar)

Calories: 163
Protein: 5 g
Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 24 g
Carbohydrates: 24 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 264 mg

Recipe notes: The original recipe called for quick oats and creamy peanut butter. I never have quick oats, and it works fine with regular oats. My bars do look more “oatey” than the original, so that may be the difference. I only buy chunky peanut butter, and I like the little bit of texture. The original suggested serving these with jam on top, which is tasty, but they are good on their own, too.

The original recipe called these “breakfast” bars.  I would think you’d need to eat 2 or 3 of these to make a filling breakfast. I prefer them as a snack.

Source: slightly adapted from letsdishrecipes.com

Low iodine adjustment:  I loved these as a snack on the low iodine diet.  Replace the brown sugar with regular sugar (most of 1/2 a cup) and a tablespoon or so of honey.  Use non-iodized salt.  Use water in the place of milk.  Use 3 egg whites in place of the whole eggs.  Use unsalted peanut butter.

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