Open fridge . . . nothing to eat. Open the cabinet . . .nothing to eat. Lower expectations . . .and then repeat.
You know the drill. Your stomach is rumbling. You glance at your “eat healthier” New Year’s resolution that’s pinned to the fridge and consider the same old snack options: Apple? Ho-hum. Pretzels? Yawn. Yogurt? Snore.
One package of Double-Stuffed Oreos and about 1,680 calories later, despite your best intentions, you find yourself lying on the couch wishing you’d settled for “same old.”
I recently lost my food groove. To get my mojo back, I turned to my friend Meg, who is the picture of health. She eats so nutritiously that her idea of dessert is a sweet potato. Meg recommended five 150 calorie or less snacks from EatingWell.com that will titillate your taste buds and won’t compromise your goals for healthy eating:
- Apricot Canapés: Sprinkle a dried apricot with some blue cheese, chopped pistachios, ½ tsp. honey and freshly ground pepper. Now, if you’re like me, you’re thinking, where there’s blue cheese there’s mold. I spend half my life trying to kill the mold in my shower. Why would I want to ingest it? I am here to tell you that mold is your friend. Blue cheese is tangy and tasty—especially in this sweet and savory snack. If you can’t hang with the tang, ricotta is a good substitute. 64 calories each.
- Cinnamon Orange: Remove orange rind with a knife and cut the orange into slices. Whisk together 2 tbsp. orange juice, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp. sugar and ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon and spoon some mixture over orange slices. Serve with a knock knock joke: “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” 86 calories per orange.
- Gorp: (‘good old raisins and peanuts’) is a fun word for trail mix (a mixture of high energy foods such as nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips). When I prepared a batch of gorp for my kids I was surprised how they descended on it like locusts. When they cleared away from the bowl, the chocolate chips had vanished. The entire bowl of dried fruit and nuts remained. I adapted the recipe to make it more kid friendly by melting the chocolate with the fruit and nuts in a microwave oven. Combine ½ oz. almonds, ¼ oz. dried cranberries, 1 tbsp. chopped pitted dates, 1 ½ tsp. chocolate chips. Mix the Gorp with a little honey and heat in microwave until chocolate is melted. Drop spoonfuls of mixture onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet and refrigerate until hard. I call it “gorp candy.” About 100 calories per cluster.
- Spiced Chickpea “nuts”: When roasted, garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chick peas) become super crunchy. Who knew? Blot chickpeas dry and toss in a bowl with olive oil, cumin, marjoram, allspice and salt. Spread on a rimmedbaking sheet (or spend the rest of your afternoon retrieving stray chickpeas from the bottom of your oven). Bake, stirring once until brown and crunchy, 30 minutes. ¼ C. = 103 calories.
- Avocado tea sandwich: Combine 1 tbsp. mayonnaise, ½ tsp. lemon juice and 1/8 tsp. pepper in a bowl. Thinly spread on thin sliced wheat bread and top with thinly sliced smoked salmon, a ripe, sliced avocado, and thinly sliced cucumber. If tea sandwiches sound pretentious to you, they can be served without the “upper crust.” 143 calories per sandwich.
Meg taught me that you don’t have to lower your expectations to enjoy quick and easy food that’s good for you. Bypass the boring and break the mold . . . with or without blue cheese.