Snack Right to Stay Healthy Through the Holidays

Office candy dishes, gifts of baked goods, parties, dinners, and extra-packed to-do lists all shuffle in with the holiday season. And increased stress levels can also follow suit. While we can’t do your holiday shopping for you, we can offer up a helpful tool for keeping your energy level stable, your mood happier, and your weight steadier during the holiday season… snacks. But not just any old snacks will do, follow these four tips to ensure your snacks are energy-boosting powerhouses.

Use the Rule of 2: The combination of protein, high fiber/less processed carbohydrates, and fat is one that keeps blood sugar and energy levels stable for hours. At mealtime, make sure you have this triple threat (+ veggies!) on your plate. At snack time, aim for at least 2 of the 3…what we call the “rule of 2.” Examples: Sliced pear (carbs) with almond butter (fat); string cheese (protein) with hummus (fat); small latte (protein from milk) with walnuts (fat).
Recipe idea: Pear Slices With Goat Cheese, Pistachios, And Pink Peppercorns

Sip with Snacks: The winter air is dry. When you combine that with a hectic schedule with too few sips of water, dehydration often comes knocking. To ensure water intake throughout the day, hydrate along with snacks. A cup of herbal tea or sparkling water with lemon not only helps to hydrate but also makes your snack feel more satisfying by naturally slowing you down while you eat (because you’re also sipping). Including fruits and/or veggies in snacks also helps to hydrate, since these foods naturally contain lots of water.
Recipe idea: Pear And Pineapple Green Smoothie

Pear and Pineapple Green Smoothie smSQ

Practice Mindfulness: A busier-than-usual schedule mixed with more-abundant-than-usual treats lying around can lead to all-day noshing without really realizing or enjoying it. Mindfulness — having an internal conversation with yourself before eating to ask yourself if you’re actually hungry, what you’re really hungry for, etc. — is a vital component to ensuring that you don’t eat more than you need and also make choices that make you feel good. Before eating, ask yourself “Will this make me feel good now? In two hours? Tomorrow?” If you can answer yes to all three, and you’re genuinely hungry, then have enough to satisfy that hunger. If your answer is no, take a walk, sip some tea, catch up with a co-worker, or any other non-food related 5-minute activity.
Recipe idea: Grilled Chicken, Pear, and Avocado Toasts

Plan Ahead: Preparation is key during the holidays. Have a holiday party coming up? Think about your schedule, consider what time the party starts, what you want to eat there, and whether you need a snack beforehand. If you’re shopping on the weekend, plan where you’ll have lunch, how you’ll stay hydrated, and whether you need a snack or two in your bag (answer: you usually do.) The bottomline is that if you don’t plan out food choices ahead of time, you leave it up to chance and that doesn’t always bode well during the busy, sweet-filled holidays. But a little planning goes a long way to making you feel better all season long!
Recipe idea: Pear PB And J Bouquet

PBJ Bouquet 1

Pear and Pineapple Green Smoothie

Pear and Pineapple Green Smoothie sm

Looking for a smoothie that combines both fruits and vegetables and still tastes delicious? Look no further! This recipe includes a full cup of spinach and several sprigs of brightly-flavored cilantro. These flavors are balanced by the honey-sweetness of pear and the tanginess of pineapple. Add refreshing coconut water as a base, and you’ve created the perfect green smoothie.

Ingredients
1 ripe USA Pear, such as Anjou, Bartlett, Concorde, or Comice, cored and cut into large chunks
1 ½ cups cubed pineapple
1 packed cup spinach
10-12 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 cup cold coconut water

Directions
Place all of the ingredients into a blender and puree at high speed until smooth.

prep time: 5 minutes
yield: 2 servings

Here’s the Apps.

I’m pretty good about cooking most of my meals at home during the week, so I depend on apps, websites, and blogs to keep me inspired with new recipe ideas and easy planning tips. Here’s a roundup of our favorite recent apps:

Epicurious: The Cook’s Companion
price: free

The motherlode of recipe compilation, this app is filled with recipes for all occasions and meals – most of them straight from the pages of world-class food magazines like Bon Appetit and Gourmet. Each recipe includes an easy-to-read shopping list and user reviews. (Hint: Try the Roasted Pears with Blackberries, Ricotta, and Lavender Sugar!)

Whole Living Smoothies
price: $0.99

This unique app is all about delicious (ahem, Pear and Avocado) and restorative smoothies. For less than a dollar, you’ll have inventive smoothie recipes at your fingertips, including allergen-free and detox options. The photography is beautiful, and the app includes how-to videos and nutritional information.

EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry
price: free

This recipe app features gorgeous photos. I also love that the recipes have been professionally developed (so they’re bound to be tasty) and never feature processed ingredients. Best of all for a girl on the go, all of the recipes on the app can be prepared in less than an hour!

If only I could view them on something like this!