Meal Planning Monday ~ Snack Attack!

 

          You’re out running errands on a Saturday morning.  In the midst of your grocery shopping, your stomach growls loud enough for everyone in the produce section to hear it!  You round the corner, and there is the free sample lady with donuts fresh from the bakery.  She doesn’t have to ask you twice if you want a sample!  You feel a little guilty, but you need something to shut your stomach up, right?  A few months ago, we featured a post on having great snacks on hand for your kids.  This week, I thought we’d talk about having some satisfying and healthy snacks available for you, too!

            I have always been a “grazer” when it comes to eating.  If I don’t eat a little something every three to four hours, my blood sugar crashes, my stomach growls, and I get cranky.  (My husband will gladly attest to this!)  I frequently pack healthy snacks in my purse, my car, and my desk at the office so I have a something to hold me over until my next meal.  However, many of us don’t do this.  So when hunger strikes, willpower is low, and mealtime is still hours away, people frequently hit the convenience store, vending machine, or fast-food drive thru.  I know, because it’s happened to me too.  Afterwards,  I mentally beat myself up for making a poor food choice and promise myself that I’ll work out an extra thirty minutes tomorrow to make up for it.  (Which I never do…)

            Well, it doesn’t have to be that way!  By putting a little of your Meal Planning know-how into your snacks, you can have a satisfying, healthy snack that will carry you through until dinner time.  Here are some of my favorite snacks and how I save money on them.

 

~ Kashi & Cascadian Farms Organic Granola Bars.  Most of these granola bars come in under 160 calories with no artificial ingredients.  I stock up on these when coupons come out, because that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.  You are in luck, though!  This month there’s a great printable coupon on Coupons.com for $1.50/ 2 Kashi TLC granola bars!  You can print two of this coupon per computer.

~ Fruit.  Bananas, apple, pears, and grapes all make great snacks on the go.  Apples and pears are in season and on sale right now, so experiment and try a new variety or two!

~ Nuts.  Whether you prefer peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pistachios, nuts are great source of protein and healthy fat that will stop hunger in its tracks.  Be aware of portion sizes so you don’t eat too many calories in one sitting.  Robert Ferguson, author of “The Diet Free Life,” says that snacks should be 100-200 calories for women and 100-300 calories for men.  Certainly, you can buy the 100-calorie snack packs of nuts so you won’t have to worry about overeating.  But I find it’s much cheaper to purchase a larger container of nuts (with a coupon, of course!) and divide them into snack-sized zipper baggies with the proper portions.

~ Popcorn.  Popcorn is a filling, low-calorie snack, so long as you don’t drench it in butter.  Air-pop it to have the most control over how much fat is being added.  Microwave popcorn is very convenient, and there are some healthy options out there.  I like Orville Redenbacher’s Natural brand popcorn, the Salt & Pepper flavored mini bags.  I can eat the whole bag for 160 calories, and I’m getting 4 grams of fiber.  You’d best avoid popcorn at the movie theater – even the small size is a calorie bomb.

~ Protein or energy bars.  When I’m starving and dinner is still hours away, nothing holds me over like my favorite energy bar – Luna bars!  I’ve tried a lot of protein and energy bars, and I’ve found Luna bars (and Cliff bars) to be both tasty and nutritious.  I like them because they are made with all natural ingredients and 70% organic.  The Chocolate Peppermint Stick flavor is my favorite!  It reminds me of Mint Oreo cookies.  Now, these energy bars can be expensive.  So, I recently went on to E-Bay and purchased twenty 50 cent off coupons for $6.  At my local Kroger, Luna bars are sold for 99 cents apiece.  Since my Kroger doubles coupons, my 50 cent coupons are actually worth $1 each = FREE!  My net cost for 20 Luna bars was only $6, or 30 cents each (70% off retail!)

            Now, when you’re ambushed by a “snack attack,” you can just reach into your glove box, purse, or briefcase and satisfy your hunger without guilt or empty calories.  Happy Snacking!

            Here’s a great recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip cookies.  This snack is sure to please both kids and adults alike (and it’s actually pretty healthy.)  I baked some this weekend and froze half of the batch in individual sized baggies, so I can just grab a few cookies on the run.

 

            Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

            (From MyFoodLovers.com)

  • 2/3 Cup Smart Balance Buttery Spread
  • 1 cup of organic granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)
  • 1 cup of mashed ripe banana
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups of Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon of Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 2 Cups of semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

 

In a small bowl, cream buttery spread and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg, banana, and vanilla.  In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Gradually add to the creamed mixture.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Place tablespoon-sized drops of dough 2 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 for 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Comments

  1. I’m a bit of a grazer too with my blood sugar. I love those little nutrion multi packs of nuts. They really hit the spot! Great post and good reminder. (Though…why did you have to post that donut photo…It looks so yummy!!!) LOL!

  2. Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is great, as well as the content!

    • Christine says:

      Thank you! I’ve been blogging less than a year, but I’ve always loved to write. We try to make sure we’re putting good quality content out there! :)