Tag: Healthy Snack

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Sugar is everywhere. It’s not only in obvious places like our pastries and desserts, but it is also in our coffee, cereal, soup, even in salad dressings! And I’m talking about significant amounts of hidden sugar. Guess why food companies add so much sugar to foods? So they will taste really good and make you want more of course! It looks like it is working. And our health has never been so bad.

Most of us get much more sugar in our diets than we realize. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution, the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar per year, much of which is hidden in processed foods.

“I eat really well but I can’t give up sugar.” I hear this all of the time from clients. We all know that sugar is not a health food and that it can lead to diabetes and weight gain, but most of us don’t know all of the other ways that it can affect us. And keep in mind, processed flour (even whole wheat flour) has the same effect on the body as sugar so try and get your whole grains from less processed grains like quinoa or brown rice. Here are a few things that you might not know about sugar.

  • Sugar is toxic to the liver.
  • It causes inflammation in the body which is linked to all major diseases.
  • Sugar feeds cancer cells.
  • Sugar contributes to belly fat which is the most dangerous place to have excess weight.
  • Many experts now believe that it is the sugar, not the fat, that contributes to heart disease.
  • Sugar is highly addictive, maybe more so than cocaine! Therefore, it is very easy for people to over consume and not have control of their eating.
  • There are no nutrients whatsoever in sugar and it can strip your body of nutrients.
  • Sugar can damage your metabolism and weaken your immune system.

So you can see why it is important to kick sugar to the curb and swap it out for healthier alternatives. The cravings will go away.  And please don’t think it is wise to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners. They affect your health in many negative ways as well.

I’m not about deprivation. Not in the least. I like a sweet treat as much as the next person. There are so many delicious, healthy ways that you can eat a little something sweet without the sugar bomb! I make sure that what I’m eating regularly isn’t going to negatively impact my health. I choose things like a small piece of dark chocolate, a few dates with almond butter, a chocolate smoothie or a dessert that is sweetened with a small amount of a healthier natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup.

Once you start switching to healthy sweeteners and naturally sweet foods like fruit, you’ll notice that you have fewer and fewer cravings for sugar. You’ll also find that you’re tasting the natural sweetness of fruits and vegetables. Your taste buds really do change. Suddenly, the sweet foods that you used to enjoy start tasting too sweet.

Getting off of sugar will help you to ditch the afternoon energy crash, stabilize your blood sugar and create a more alkaline environment that your body will thrive in.

Try this chocolate smoothie when you crave something sweet. Or, make it for your kids after school and they will be so pumped!!

Chocolate Smoothie (makes 1 serving)

1 small frozen banana
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
1/4 cup raw cashews (optional but gives the smoothie more thickness and protein)
1 cup almond milk
1 cup ice
1 pitted date
1 teaspoon ground flax seeds or hemp seeds (optional)

Blend well and add a little more almond milk or water if needed for desired consistency.

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Do you struggle with healthy snack (and dessert) ideas? Do you crave something sweet in the afternoon or after dinner? The perfect snack is healthy but also tasty and satisfying. I have the solution …. the Energy Ball!

These cute little balls are a fabulous way to enjoy something yummy while nourishing your body at the same time. Each of these recipes contain some healthy fat, fiber, a little sweetness from a natural source, and some good quality protein. This combination will give you an energy boost and keep you satisfied longer. They also each contain some kind of “superfood” seed. If you haven’t tried flax seeds, chia seeds, or hemp seeds yet, I encourage you to give them a try. They are full of omega 3’s, protein, fiber and antioxidants. They are so easy to find these days, even in most regular grocery stores. Any of the seeds are interchangeable in these recipes so feel free to try just one super seed for now.

Here are two of my favorites.

HEMP ENERGY PROTEIN BALLS (Makes 10-12 balls)     

1/4 cup hemp protein powder
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sunbutter or almond butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons raw cacao (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
1- 2 tablespoons local honey (amount depends on type of protein powder used – start with less and taste)
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (optional)
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)

COMBINE THE INGREDIENTS. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until ingredients are combined and mixed well. Taste to check sweetness level. Add a little more sweetener if needed.
MAKE THE PROTEIN BALLS. Once ingredients are mixed well, roll into 10-12 small balls. Roll each ball in the shredded coconut if desired. Place on a wax paper lined dish and place in freezer for 10 minutes or refrigerator for 45 minutes to firm up. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for 3-4 days or freezer for several months.

NOTES: You can use any kind of protein powder for these balls, but I highly recommend giving hemp protein powder a try. Nutiva is a great brand and the only ingredient is pure hemp protein. For other options, make sure you choose a high quality protein powder with no soy, no added sugar or artificial sweeteners, no artificial flavors and preferably a certified organic or Non GMO verified one. If you choose a sweetened one, make sure it is sweetened with pure stevia leaf.  Please do your research. There are many brands with unhealthy ingredients. And I suggest not using protein powder too often. It is still a processed food and getting your protein from real food is a better option most of the time. Plus most of us are getting way more protein than we need.

CHOCOLATE PECAN ENERGY BALLS (makes about 15 balls)

1 cup raw pecans
12 pitted dates (soak in water for about 10 minutes and then drain if dates are really firm)
1 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

COMBINE THE INGREDIENTS. Add everything to a food processor and pulse until well combined. Mixture will be crumbly but will stick together when rolled. Form into balls. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for 3-4 days or freezer for several months.

Here are some of the health benefits of these easy little treats.

  • Antioxidants from raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • Omega-3s from hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds
  • Anti-parasitic and anti-viral properties in shredded coconut
  • A metabolism boost from coconut oil
  • Anti-microbial properties plus a boost of antioxidants from cinnamon
  • Protein and fiber from hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds
  • Extra boost of protein from high quality protein powder
  • Reduced seasonal allergies from local honey
  • Antioxidants from vanilla extract
  • Energy and endurance from chia seeds – excellent for athletes
  • Minerals like manganese, copper, magnesium and zinc  – from pecans
  • Vitamin E which offers cell protection – from pecans and sunflower seeds
  • Selenium which has been shown to help DNA repair in damaged cells – from pecans and sunflower seeds

WOW that is an impressive list. Every ingredients has an important health benefit. That is a far cry from most store bought snacks. They are usually full of ingredients that are actually detrimental to your health. Try whipping up one of these tasty treats to satisfy your taste buds AND provide a whopping nutritional punch!

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Please feel free to contact me. Send me an email with the form below or at 704.575.4777

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© Copyright 2015 Krista Sigmon