Category Archives: Meals & Snacks

The 10 Best Foods To Beat Your Sugar Cravings

Even if you cut out sweets, the amount of added sugar in processed foods — from bread to salad dressing — makes it hard to give it up without a fight. And all of that sucrose, fructose and glucose that adds up in your diet is addictive as it raises your insulin level so you want more.

Read on for 10 foods that can help you kick your sugar habit.

1. Homemade Smoothies With Yogurt, Milk and/or Protein Powder

A smoothie often includes the fruit skins, so it provides an extra boost of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. If your smoothie includes yogurt or milk, you get some calcium too, and the fruit adds fiber, helping to slow digestion, lower cholesterol and control blood sugar. As a breakfast, one with protein powder, healthy fats and low glycemic index fruit can push off any unhealthy midmorning snacking and get you through to lunch.

2. Plain Yogurt

Phosphorus, found in dairy products like yogurt, is a building block for bones. While you don’t want to overdo phosphorous, choosing plain yogurt also gives you the benefit of probiotics, which help maintain proper digestive health. In fact, imbalanced gut bacteria and candida overgrowth have been linked to more intense sugar cravings, and probiotics can help rebalance the gut bacteria. Enjoy your yogurt with some fresh berries and low-sugar granola for a satisfying fiber- and protein-rich snack that will keep your blood sugar from spiking.

3. Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Sugar cravings can also often be a sign that your blood sugar levels are out of balance, which is why it’s important to eat low glycemic index (GI) foods that prevent energy crashes and sugar cravings. Most breakfast cereals contain simple carbohydrates, which break down into sugar in your body and cause a rapid rise in your blood sugar levels. Instead of a muffin, sugary cereal or handful of cookies, steel-cut oatmeal will keep your blood sugar level more stable. Sprinkle some cinnamon and nutmeg or drizzle some honey on a bowl of your steel cut-oatmeal and pair with a serving of nuts for added protein.

4. Cinnamon

Even spices can help you overcome the sugar addiction. Cinnamon has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels and can also help reduce sugar cravings. Cinnamon minimizes insulin spikes after you’ve eaten, thereby keeping you from craving more sugar. When you’re craving something sugary try sprinkling cinnamon over a banana and add some crushed raw nuts on the side.

5. Apples

Another reason you crave sweets can be due to a deficiency of chromium. Chromium is known to be important in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and getting enough chromium is thought to improve the way your body regulates sugar and cholesterol. Apples are a great source of it, but other fruits that provide chromium include bananas and oranges. Try this easy dessert: Slice an apple and sprinkle with cinnamon, then microwave for 30 to 45 seconds.

6. Nut Butter

Eating protein is an excellent way to reduce sugar cravings because it stabilizes your blood sugar levels. Nuts and nut butters (or sunflower butter if you have nut allergies) provide protein along with healthy fats, but if you’re trying to lose weight, only eat two tablespoons a day. And be sure you get ones that have no sugar added! Nut butters also provide sulfur, which is the third most abundant mineral in your body and found throughout your muscles, skin and bones. As we age, a lack of sulfur can lead to sagging and wrinkling of the skin or stiff muscles and joints. For snacks that combine protein and fiber, try a piece of toast with almond butter topped with berries or dig into a spoonful of peanut butter with some celery sticks.

7. Dates

With their caramel-like taste and texture, most foodies will tell you that dates are the next great thing, especially because they can be a healthier replacement for sugar in some dessert recipes. Fewer calories than sugar and a lower glycemic index, 6 medium-size pitted dates provide you with 6 percent of your daily allowance of potassium, which can prevent osteoporosis, stroke, kidney stones and high blood pressure. With high levels of soluble fiber, they help fight off sugar cravings and even stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines. But, at 23 calories per date, be sure to eat them sparingly.

8. Beetroots

Beetroot can help curb those sugar cravings. Known for fighting off inflammation — a root cause of conditions ranging from arthritis and heart disease to migraines, dental issues and cancers — beetroots are also high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B and iron. They’re helpful for purifying the blood and cleansing the liver, but, most importantly for your cravings, they’re a good source of glutamine, which is ideal for some extra get-up-and-go when what you’re really hankering for is the spike of energy that sugar can give. For a quick, healthy snack, try roasted beetroot sliced and served with goat cheese and raw walnuts on some peppery greens.

9. Sweet Potato

Naturally sweet, this veggie can help with sugar cravings too. While starchy, a sweet potato’s natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream and won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. A great source of potassium and high in iron, vitamins like B-6, C and D and one of the best sources of vitamin A, the sweet potato is also high in L-tryptophan, which can help satisfy your sugar craving.

10. Vanilla

Studies have shown that vanilla-scented products reduced a person’s need for sugary foods and drinks. You become desensitized by its smell, so you can trick your sweet tooth with a vanilla-scented product like body lotion or a candle instead of something sweet to eat. But if you won’t be satisfied without something in your mouth, try adding natural vanilla extract to tea, coffee or even sparkling water to curb that craving.

11 Pre-Workout Snacks

Whether you’re doing intense cardio, yoga or weight training, all forms of exercise require energy. Even if you find your workout is “fine” without fueling up in advance, having the right type of energy readily available to your body can enhance your workout.

But what should you eat or drink before your workout? And when should you do it?

Snacking is part of a pre-workout fueling strategy and eating a carb-rich snack close to exercise time is beneficial for performance, especially when there’s not enough time for a meal beforehand. It should feel light on the stomach and shouldn’t weigh you down.

Although some people do like to work out in a “fasting” state, a 150-200 calorie pre-workout snack can help increase the effort you feel like you can exert. Though snack timing can vary, it’s best to eat a pre-workout snack about 30 minutes before workout.

Read on to find the top performance-enhancing munchies recommended by nutrition and fitness pros and how to include them in your pre-workout routine

Banana Beetroot Smoothie

Try this recipe for a banana beet smoothie about 30 minutes before an intense 45- to 60-minute workout by blending together:

8 ounces of cold water
1 small steamed beetroot (or half-tablespoon of beetroot powder)
1 tablespoon of nut butter
Half a banana
Pinch of sea salt
Ice cubes

Beetroots contain nitrates, which help increase energizing oxygen to muscles; banana has carbs for energy; nut butter has protein for muscle repair; water is hydrating; and sea salt contains the electrolyte sodium, which is lost in sweat.

Yogurt

Yogurt’s a great food choice before working out, but rather than just eating it plain, try this honey matcha yogurt 30 minutes before a workout by stirring together:

6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder
1 teaspoon of honey

Yogurt and honey have carbs for energy. Yogurt also has protein for muscle repair and probiotics to keep the digest tract feeling good through a workout. And matcha contains caffeine to help energize a workout.

Banana

A good rule of thumb before a workout: When in doubt, grab a banana 20 to 30 minutes before exercise. They’re easy to digest and generally won’t trigger bloating or digestive upset. Keeping the gut happy is one of the primary objectives of a pre-workout food, so you won’t inhibit performance.

Also bananas have a relatively low glycemic index, which means they provide slow-burning fuel; they’re packed with potassium, which supports heart function and muscle contractions, prevents muscle cramps and helps maintain muscle mass; and they contain vitamin B-6, which supports mental clarity and helps regulate blood sugar levels for sustained, level energy.

Snack Bar

For a quick snack before a class, grab a bar 30 minutes to two hours beforehand, but make sure you pick one that has good, natural ingredients and isn’t loaded with sugar.

While eating too much fiber before exercising may cause discomfort for high-performance classes, it may be beneficial for those practicing lighter-intensity activity.

Dairy & Fruit

Sometimes food duos pack a greater punch than single foods. One of those dynamic duos is dairy and fruit. You could pair a piece of in-season fruit for a good dose of carbohydrates, with a single piece of string cheese that provides some protein to help bring oxygen to your muscles.

Or you could try Greek yogurt and a banana before working with weights or doing a yoga class.

Toast With Maple Syrup

Toast isn’t just for breakfast. Glamming it up a bit can be ideal for a pre-workout snack about an hour before endurance workouts like running, swimming or cycling. How about trying a piece of whole-wheat toast with cinnamon and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.

Compared to white bread, whole-wheat bread takes longer to digest and won’t spike your blood sugar because it has more fibre and protein, that means it will slowly release carbs into the bloodstream and the pure maple syrup provides quick-acting fuel from carbs that should last for at least 60 minutes into your workout.

Dates & Almonds With A Dusting Of Sea Salt

Got 30 to 60 minutes before your workout?

Dates provide a good dose of simple carbohydrates and potassium. Because potassium is an electrolyte lost when sweating, potassium-rich foods can play a role in proper hydration while potentially preventing post-workout cramping.

The almonds provide some protein and crunch, which will help keep you full throughout the workout, and the salt brings out the natural sweetness of the dates while helping to replace salt you may lose in sweat.

Latte

A jolt of caffeine can boost your workout performance! So, have a pre-workout latte with milk 60 minutes before your workout. It also helps with what’s called ‘rating of perceived exertion (RPE),which basically means caffeine can help you do more because you feel better working harder.

Since that caffeine is coupled with the milk in a latte, it’s especially beneficial as a pre-workout snack for either aerobic or power/resistance workouts. The milk contains carbohydrate and protein, including leucine, an amino acid that directly stimulates muscle protein synthesis.

Tart Cherry Juice

Move over, sports drinks! Drink a glass of tart cherry juice 90 minutes prior to exercise. It keeps you hydrated, maximizing exercise intensity and endurance and helps you get the most out of your workout.

It also contains potent phytonutrients that help to protect muscles against damage.

Iced Green Tea

Iced green tea is a beverage with benefits! Of course, it helps hydrate, but it also contains caffeine, which has been shown to help improve performance, increase strength and power, reduce feelings of fatigue and potentially stimulate fat burning.

Green tea will work for exercisers of all levels who want an exercise boost and to make their workout seem a little easier.

15 Diet-Friendly Healthy Carbs

Nutritious carbohydrates contain fiber, which your digestive system works to break down before they can be absorbed. As a result, they help keep your energy, blood sugar, moods and appetite levels in check between meals.

Keep reading for a list of 15 healthy carbs that you can include in your diet.

1 Whole Grain Rice

Lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes may be as simple as swapping out white rice for brown. In a 2010 study researchers analyzed the diets, lifestyle habits and overall health of nearly 200,000 adults. Participants who ate two or more servings of brown rice per week were less likely to have diabetes risk factors compared to white rice eaters. Unlike white rice, which is stripped of valuable nutrients during processing, brown rice is a whole grain. As a rule, whole grains provide more nutrients, satiation and wellness benefits than refined grains.

2 Popcorn

Eating better doesn’t require you to permanently give up crunchy snacks, particularly if you enjoy popcorn. In a 2011 study participants who ate far-free popcorn showed significant reductions in overall dietary fat and saturated fat intake and increases in fiber intake. Popcorn provides a nutritious, whole-grain alternative to low-nutrient processed foods like crisps and pretzels. So the next time you’re itching for something crunchy, go ahead and grab some air-popped popcorn with a dash of salt.

3 Squash

Squash probably isn’t the first food that comes to mind when you think about fiber, but eating more squash provides a simple way to increase your fiber intake all year long. Fiber has a wide range of health benefits, from helping you maintain a healthy digestive system to aiding in the prevention of heart disease. Try using squash in soups, stews, casseroles and side dishes.

4 Quinoa

Quinoa is high in protein and offers higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals like iron and B vitamins and it’s a naturally gluten-free grain alternative. A 2/3-cup serving of cooked quinoa provides about 5.5 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber. Plus, quinoa only requires about 20 minutes of cooking time and can be used in place of rice or couscous in most any dish.

5 Berries

Fruit not only offers nature’s finest carbohydrates, complete with a good source fiber, but also thousands of potent, health protective antioxidants and phytonutrients. Berries are particularly high in these nutrients and are considered brain food. According to a Harvard study, blueberries and strawberries help preserve brain function in women and delay memory decline by two and a half years. Enjoy berries solo or as a healthy add-in to your smoothies, whole-grain pancakes and even salads. When buying frozen berries, select varieties without added sweetener.

6 Sweet Potatoes

The compound that provides the starchy vegetable’s pigment also provides the antioxidant beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. Sweet potatoes also provide rich amounts of vitamin C, which plays an important role in immune function, and valuable amounts of heart-healthy fiber. Half of a large sweet potato contains a mere 81 calories, which is way less than most sugary sweets.

7 Beans

The slow-digesting insoluble fiber abundant in beans can help lower cholesterol, keep blood sugars stable and help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. One cup of cooked white, navy or adzuki beans provides a whopping 19 grams of fiber. Lima, pinto and kidney beans each provide 16 grams of fiber per cooked cup. They’re also rich in protein and antioxidants and low in fat.

8 Dark, Leafy Greens

Dark, leafy greens are prime sources of beta-carotene and valuable sources of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin K and iron. One cup of cooked turnip greens, mustard greens or collard greens provides 5 grams of fiber. Cooked spinach, beet greens and Swiss chard each provide 4 grams of fiber per cup.

9 Oats

Oats have been linked with improved cholesterol levels, body weight and blood pressure. And as a fiber-rich food, oats have the added benefit of being quite filling. To make oatmeal even healthier, use low-fat milk or water instead of whole milk, and top it with fresh fruit.

10 Flaxseed

Flaxseed contains rich amounts of fiber and a gummy material called mucilage — which helps in the digestive process — and are the top plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s play an important role in heart health and brain function. To reap these benefits, add ground flaxseeds to smoothies, yogurt, cereals and baked goods.

11 Mangos

With about 135 calories per fruit, mangos are high in fiber (containing nearly 4 grams of fiber per average-size fruit) and antioxidants (including vitamin C and beta-carotene). Mangos are also a cancer-fighting fruit. In a 2010 study  researchers observed the effects of mango extracts on noncancerous cells and cells associated with colon, prostate and breast cancer. They found that the extracts helped the healthy cells stay cancer free and reduced the growth of cancer cells.

12 Whole Grain Pasta

Whole grain pasta contains all nutritious parts of the original grain, making it a valuable source of B vitamins, iron, protein and fiber. One cup of cooked whole wheat spaghetti provides 6 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein. To make sure that you get truly whole wheat pasta, choose pastas labeled 100-percent whole grain, or choose pastas that list whole grains, such as whole wheat, spelt or brown rice, as the top ingredient.

13 Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce may not be what springs to mind when you think about healthy carbs, but it’s a highly nutritious source of fiber, vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene, a potent antioxidant, is linked with a reduced risk for prostate and breast cancer. Red fruits and vegetables are also prime sources of flavonoids, which reduce inflammation.

14 Artichokes

One medium-size artichoke provides more than 10 grams of fiber, plus potassium, folate, magnesium and vitamin C. Because sweating and dehydration lower potassium levels, potassium-rich foods are particularly important in hot weather and following heavy exercise.

15 Bananas

Bananas are naturally devoid of fat and cholesterol and a valuable source of vitamins B6 and C, manganese, potassium and fiber. The electrolytes in bananas, including potassium, guard against dehydration. The 3 grams of fiber contained per serving promotes fullness, making it a useful between meal snack.

5 Ultimate Smoothies

Smoothies are a great way to pack in a ton of nutrient-dense foods, and they can be the perfect portable meal replacement or energy-boosting snack.

All you need to make a great smoothie is produce and a decent blender.

Here are 5 tasty, superfood smoothies that are ideal for any time of day. They’re packed with antioxidants, healthy fats, protein and made entirely without dairy, gluten or added sugar.

1 ZESTY BLUEBERRY BASIL SMOOTHIE

If you’ve never tried spiking your smoothie with herbs, this is where you should start. The combination of lemons, blueberries and basil is bright and pleasantly sweet without being too sugary. It’s a great way to energize your morning routine.  CALORIES: 187

2 CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN SMOOTHIE

If you’re looking for a sweet treat, but you also want to be kind to your body, this one is for you. This chocolaty, creamy, decadent plant-based smoothie packs in 15 grams of protein per serving. And the raw cacao is loaded with magnesium, B vitamins and plenty of good antioxidants.  CALORIES: 328

3 GINGER BERRY SMOOTHIE

This smoothie is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits and the ginger will help fight inflammation and keep your digestion on point. The chia seeds provide some healthy fat and protein to keep you feeling fuller longer.  CALORIES: 211

4 TURMERIC CITRUS SUNSHINE SMOOTHIE

After trying this sunny smoothie, you’ll want to wake up to it every day — especially in the winter when citrus is at its prime. This one has plenty of vitamin C to keep your body going strong and a healthy dose of turmeric to fight inflammation.  CALORIES: 251

5 BEETROOT AND PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE

This may sound like an unlikely combination, but give it a try. Beetroots are a great source of immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber and essential minerals like potassium, which support healthy nerve and muscle function and the addition of pineapple and coconut make this taste like a tropical treat. CALORIES: 126

LOSE FAT, EAT CHOCOLATE!

If I told you that to lose fat, you should eat chocolate, you’d probably think I was mad. This is because the word, “chocolate” is frowned upon in certain nutritional circles. But recent studies show that the vilification of all chocolate is unjustified. In fact, certain types of chocolate could (and in fact should) feature in your diet. 

Raw Cocoa

To many this will seem completely alien. But if you consider the fact chocolate is indeed a plant-based food that originates from the seed of a fruit, then it’s probably less absurd. Cocoa bean studies show that raw cocoa is naturally high in flavanols (naturally occurring plant nutrients) and this is where the magic happens. This is because researchers from the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of L’Aquila in Italy, found the flavanol content of dark chocolate improves our glucose metabolism. What this means is it improves a person’s ability to absorb sugars and carbs making them less prone to storing fat.

So why does chocolate get such bad press? The answer lies in the manufacturing process since not all chocolate comes equipped with a magical cocoa supply. For instance, dark chocolate is typically quite high in cocoa and boasts a 70% to 85% content depending on the brand. Whereas not surprisingly, caramel-layered, sugar-ridden variations don’t come with quite the same health properties and should be included in the diet in moderation. This is because the additional sugar causes fat storage, cravings to occur and ultimately causes the wheels on our dieting wagon to completely fall off.

So, as an alternative to a packet of chocolate biscuits, try replacing it with a chocolate bar with 70-85% cocoa content, because contrary to popular belief ………. not all chocolate is evil.

9 Healthy Nuts That May Help You Live Longer

While nuts are high in fat and calories, research shows that people who eat nuts tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of many diseases compared to people who don’t eat nuts.

The New England Journal of Medicine published findings that show that eating a handful of nuts a day could possibly extend your life.

Find out which type of nuts contain a potent antioxidant that may help fight cancer and which nuts can lower your “bad” cholesterol.

1 PECANS

Delicious and versatile, pecans can also help keep you healthy. At just under 200 calories per one-ounce serving, pecans provide 3 grams of dietary fiber and over 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and zinc. According to the USDA, pecans are ranked among the top 20 foods for antioxidant capacity. Some research suggests that antioxidants play a role in reducing a variety of chronic diseases from cancer to heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease to vision loss. Pecans are also a rich source of oleic acid.

2 PISTACHIOS

Along with being one of the nuts containing the lowest amount of calories and fat, pistachios are also a nutritional powerhouse. This little nut is an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and manganese and contains other essential vitamins and minerals. Studies show that pistachios may have important health benefits and play a role in heart health, weight management and even lowering mortality rates. Researchers at Harvard University found that eating a daily handful of nuts, like pistachios, may boost health and longevity.

3 HAZELNUTS

At around 180 calories per 1-ounce serving, hazelnuts contain 3 grams of fiber and are a good source of copper, magnesium, thiamin and vitamin E. Like other nuts, hazelnuts can have a protective effect on heart health. Research from the Journal of Clinical Lipidology found that a diet enriched with hazelnuts may help to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol. Hazelnuts also contain an especially high amount of proanthocyanidins, which are compounds found in plants that are believed to have anti-inflammatory and other health benefits.

4 ALMONDS

At 160 calories per serving, almonds contain about 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber — more than most other tree nuts. They’re also a good source of vitamin E, copper and magnesium. Ounce for ounce, almonds are the nut highest in calcium, with 75mg per ounce (about a quarter of the calcium in a glass of milk). Almonds are believed to play a role in weight management, heart health and even diabetes prevention. Research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that consuming almonds helped improve insulin sensitivity in people with prediabetes. The study also indicated that adding almonds to meals and snacks can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

5 CASHEWS

One serving of cashews (about 160 calories) provides 4 grams of protein and is high in unsaturated fat. Cashews are also an excellent source of essential nutrients like copper and magnesium, plus they provide some iron as well.

6 MACADAMIAS

At around 200 calories per serving, macadamia nuts are high in healthy monounsaturated fat and are a good source of thiamin and manganese. Studies indicate that tree nuts, including macadamias, improve overall diet quality by adding nutrients that are often lacking in typical diets. Like many other nuts, macadamias are good for your heart. Studies show that they can help lower the risk of coronary artery disease in people with elevated cholesterol.

7 BRAZIL NUTS

Brazil nuts are the largest nut, and one serving contains up to eight times the selenium you need in a day. Selenium is a potent antioxidant believed to have anti-cancer properties, and it may play a role in maintaining a healthy immune system. Brazil nuts are also a good source of copper, phosphorus and manganese. This nut is also among the highest in total fat (19 grams per serving) and saturated fat (4 grams per serving), so don’t eat too many at 1 go!

8 WALNUTS

A staple on many “superfoods” lists, walnuts have earned their place for good reason. They contain the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid, know for its anti-inflammatory properties and role in heart health. Walnuts also provide 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, as well as minerals like magnesium and phosphorous. Studies show that in addition to their heart health benefits, walnuts can also help with weight management, diabetes and may even help reduce certain types of cancer. One study from the Journal of Nutrition showed that women who consumed walnuts tended to have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that walnuts might lower both total cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

9 PEANUTS

Peanuts contain about 7 grams of protein per serving and are a good source of many B vitamins. This makes them an excellent plant-based protein for your meals and snacks. The magnesium content in peanuts has been linked to cardiovascular health. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who consumed magnesium-rich foods, like peanuts, had fewer strokes. They also provide phytosterols, compounds that naturally lower cholesterol, as well as resveratrol, the same heart-healthy compound found in red wine.

 

Walnuts and Weight Loss?

We already know walnuts are delicious and nutritious, but it turns out they might also be a secret weapon against weight gain.

A new study from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston found that consuming walnuts lights up the right insula — the part of the brain that controls fullness and cravings. In other words, eating walnuts makes you feel fuller for longer.

The study involved 10 obese participants actually living at the BIDMC research center so their diets could be closely monitored for two five-day sessions. Half of the participants were given smoothies with 48 grams of walnuts — about 1.7 ounces — the recommended daily serving from the American Diabetes Association. The other participants were given a comparable smoothie, minus the walnuts.

Those who consumed the walnut smoothies reported feeling less hungry, and their brain-imaging results showed that there was increased activity in the appetite-control region. The region stayed activated even when the walnut-smoothie drinkers were shown pictures of “highly desirable” foods like hamburgers and desserts.

“We don’t often think about how what we eat impacts the activity in our brain,” said the study’s first author Olivia M. Farr, Ph.D., an instructor in medicine at BIDMC. “We know people report feeling fuller after eating walnuts, but it was pretty surprising to see evidence of activity changing in the brain related to food cues and, by extension, what people were eating and how hungry they feel.”

In addition to feeling fuller, those who consumed the walnut smoothies tended to make healthier food choices later on. The researchers note that the area of the brain involved in appetite control is also connected to cognitive control and salience, which influences how closely people pay attention to their food choices.

So next time you feel a snack attack coming on, reach out for some walnuts.

The 4-Ingredient Energy Bar

  1. PREP 10 m  | COOK 30 m | TOTAL 40 m

If you’re looking to whip up a no-sugar-added energy bar in just a few minutes that will take care of your breakfast, afternoon snack or dessert, all you need are bananas, oats, nuts and dates (salt, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon are optional). Recipe courtesy of Faith Durand, author of the recipe on The Kitchn, a web magazine devoted to home cooking and kitchen design.

INGREDIENTS

SERVES 9

  •  2 bananas
  •  1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  •  2 cups Oatmeal-Rolled Oats
  •  1/2 tsp Salt
  •  1/4 cup Dates, Chopped
  •  1/4 cup Walnuts – Chopped
  •  1 dash Cinnamon Ground

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 9 inch-square baking dish using butter or olive oil.
2. Mash the bananas very thoroughly in a mixing bowl until they are almost liquid. No large chunks should remain.
3. Stir in vanilla (optional). Mix in oats, then dates, nuts and salt (optional).
4. Press the mixture evenly into a 9 x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the top lightly with nutmeg or cinnamon (optional).
5. Bake for 30 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees.

 

9 Protein-Packed Breakfasts

Eating breakfast gives you the energy you need to start your day and adding extra protein will help keep your appetite in check. Each breakfast contains more than 20 grams of protein.

CHEESY EGGWICH

Compared to typical fast food breakfast sandwiches, this version has almost 40 percent more protein and half the saturated fat. To prepare, boil an egg and toast a whole-wheat English muffin. Once the egg is cooked, layer 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese on top of the muffin and top with the egg, sliced. CALORIES: 303, PROTEIN: 25 grams.

CHIA CRUNCH

Chia seeds add omega-3 fatty acids and fiber to this already high-protein breakfast. Chia seeds are popular because of their superfood nutritional profile, and research shows they may play a role in improving risk factors for heart disease. For this easy recipe, combine 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa with 3/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt and two teaspoons of chia seeds. CALORIES: 226, PROTEIN: 22 grams.

PROTEIN EGGSADILLA

For this easy recipe, combine one egg with 2 egg whites and then scramble in a pan until fully cooked. Remove eggs and place on a whole-wheat tortilla. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese, one tablespoon of salsa and then roll up the tortilla. You can mix up this recipe up by trying different varieties of salsa and cheese. CALORIES: 336, PROTEIN: 25 grams.

ALMOND BRAN CRUNCH

Adding protein-packed Greek yogurt takes this bran cereal up a notch from your everyday bowl of cereal. Topping with almonds not only adds crunch — they’re the only nut to offer vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that also acts as an antioxidant. Combine 3/4 cup bran cereal with 3/4 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt and 10 almonds. For added sweetness you can top with fresh blueberries or a banana. CALORIES: 303, PROTEIN: 24 grams.

CINNAMON FRENCH TOAST WITH YOGURT

With 28 grams of protein, you’ll be satiated for hours with this recipe. Soak one slice of whole-grain bread in a beaten egg. Cook in a non-stick pan for approximately one minute on each side until lightly browned. Sprinkle with cinnamon (or any other favourite spice) and serve with 3/4 cup of yogurt. CALORIES: 266, PROTEIN: 28 grams.

CASHEW MAPLE YOGURT

This yogurt breakfast bowl is a complete meal offering protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats so you’ll feel fuller longer. The touch of maple syrup offers natural sweetness to the tart Greek yogurt. Mix together 3/4 cup multigrain cereal, 8 chopped cashews and 3/4 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt. Drizzle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of maple syrup and enjoy! CALORIES: 321, PROTEIN: 22 grams.

WALNUT YOGURT BREAKFAST

With only three ingredients and a prep time of less than five minutes, this easy breakfast is perfect for anyone with a busy schedule. Walnuts add a healthy dose of omega-3s. Simply combine 3/4 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt with seven chopped walnut halves and two tablespoons of wheat germ. To add natural sweetness, top with fresh raspberries or any seasonal fruit. CALORIES: 250, PROTEIN: 25 grams

KIWI AND YOGURT BREAKFAST BOWL

Kiwi fruit is a refreshing twist for this yogurt breakfast bowl. The sweet fruit combined with the tart Greek yogurt is a perfect balance of flavors and combination of healthy carbohydrates and protein. Slice three kiwi fruits and layer over one cup of plain low-fat Greek yogurt. You can also top with wheat germ or chia seeds to add a nutty flavor. CALORIES: 276, PROTEIN: 25 grams.

SAVORY PROTEIN OATS

Typically topped with dried fruit or nuts, this oatmeal breakfast recipes adds a savory twist by including bacon and Parmesan cheese. Prepare 3/4 cup dry oats with water according to directions. Cook bacon until crisp. Once oats are cooked, stir in three tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle chopped bacon crumbles on top and season with pepper. CALORIES: 361, PROTEIN: 25 grams.

5 Healthy 3-Ingredient Snacks

POPCORN SNACK MIX

Popcorn is a whole grain! Ladling it with a buttery sauce is obviously not the best idea, but you don’t need to completely go the other route and choose plain, air-popped popcorn with absolutely nothing added. Find a happy medium. Try popcorn that’s popped in healthy oil then lightly sprinkled with real bits of dark-chocolate chips and nutrient-rich pistachios. CALORIES: 267

CAPRESE SNACK SKEWERS

The Caprese salad is Italian and it’s one of those recipes where simplicity is the key. To make it snack-friendly, this recipe uses cherry tomatoes and marinated cherry-tomato-size fresh mozzarella balls, then serve on skewers. Cubed mozzarella works fine too. CALORIES: 138

VEGETARIAN CHILI POTATO

This classic combination gets new life as a snack. It’s ideal for those of you who are highly active and can benefit from the carbs. To make it, bake a potato — which can be done in just five minutes in the microwave. Halve the potato, top with warm vegetarian chili of choice and spoon on some organic low-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. CALORIES: 207

4 EGG BURRITO

Scramble the egg, stuff it into a whole or sprouted grain tortilla, and serve it with your favorite guacamole. It’s a winning combination that provides a balanced overall nutrient profile. CALORIES: 230

POWER PESTO PASTA SALAD

All you need to do is cook the whole-grain pasta and quickly chill it in cold water. Then toss it with a prepared pesto sauce and fresh baby spinach. CALORIES: 120