I love to snack. I really do. Snacking is by far one of my favourite hobbies. Snacking also helps in preventing overindulging in meals. The problem is though, so many prepared and easy-to-grab snacks are high in sodium, fat, sugar and overall calories. For example, one serving of Lays brand classic potato chips yields 280 calories, 28% of your recommended daily fat intake* and 14% of your recommended daily sodium intake*. Potato chips and other salty or sweet snacks are also referred to as “empty calories” because they contain little nutritional value aside from energy (ie way high in the calorie count and way low in vitamins and minerals). The trick: only acceptable snacks are carrots and celery sticks and cauliflower.
Kidding, kidding. I had you scared there, didn’t it? While the above veggie choices will make a fantastic snack, it would be terribly dull to crunch solely on crudites, especially sans dip. But DO look for snacks that are light in the calories. Eat Right Ontario recommends snacks between 85-250 cals per serving. That being said, serving size is very important. Make sure you stick to what is listed as a serving size on your package or be prepared to calculate the additional calories, fat, sugar and sodium content. Compare labels between similar packaged foods, and choose those which are lowest in calories, sodium, fat and sugar. An even better option would be to make your own snacks.
Fruit, low fat dairy products, veggies, whole grain goods, hard boiled eggs and nuts are the first suggestions I have to make. Sometimes though, you really do need your salty, crunchy fix. I like roasted chickpeas (see this blog for the recipe) and kale chips (see below). That way you control how much salt and oil is being used and you’re also getting some super healthy benefits: protein, fibre and folate from chickpeas and vitamins A, C and K, folate, fibre, iron and antioxidants from kale. Kale, like it’s leafy green friends, is also REALLY low in calories, which is great for the waistline! As with packaged foods, you will still need to watch your portion size. Stick to a couple handfuls of chickpeas. Kale chips are lower in calories, so feel free to eat those a bit more liberally – they do still have oil and salt though, so do use some discretion.
Krispy Kale Chips
- 1 bunch kale
- Olive oil
- Your favourite sodium-free seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350oF
- Wash and trim stems from kale leaves. Tear into bite size pieces and place into a respectable bowl for the amount of kale.
- Drizzle just a touch of olive oil into the bowl (1-2 tsps should be enough depending how big your bunch is). Follow the oil with a pinch or two of salt and gently massage the kale until the leaves are evenly covered with oil.
- Spread your leaves onto a baking sheet in a single layer. My oven is an appropriate size for a dollhouse, so two batches were required as one bunch of kale was too much to fit on one of my teeny tiny baking sheets
- (optional) Sprinkle with any seasoning you like – I used cajun and cracked black pepper, the spicy kick was AMAZING. Other suggestions are curry powder, chili powder, chili flakes, whatever you have on hand.
- Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes. Leaves should still be green, not brown (in other words, burnt kale chips do NOT taste good…).
- RUN to the grocery store and buy more kale because these will be gone in the blink of an eye.
*based on a 2,000 calorie diet reference