Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sweet and Salty Snack Bags

I am moving more into meal planning and prepping. I got out of the habit with pregnancy and taking care of kids. But I really do enjoy having everything planned out and available. I think one of the greatest tools we have to be healthy is by being prepared so when we are in a pinch or hunger strikes, grabbing a healthy snack is possible.

Having the right balance of your calories makes a huge difference. It balances blood sugar, satisfies hunger, provides healthy fats, and gives you vitamins and minerals. So here's a couple snacks that provide that and you can make them ahead of time for a week or a couple weeks. Pull them out when you are hungry or pack them in your bag before you leave home. I've already done all the work for you so you can easily follow my directions.

Eating several times a day helps with speeding your metabolism and balancing blood sugar levels. It's what fit people do so I know you want to be fit too! Do what fit people do and you'll become fit. These snacks provide a healthy amount of calories between 200-300 for a snack. They have healthy fats which we want so don't be worried if you are afraid of eating a little more fat. The "low fat" era actually did more harm than good and we are worse off now than before because it ushered in so many harmful processed foods. If we are eating whole foods that contain some "higher fat" don't worry because it is actually not going to make you fat (I once thought it would too).

I chose dark chocolate because it's good for the heart, brain, helps control blood sugar, full of antioxidants, it's high in vitamins and minerals such as potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron. It also contains theobromine which hardens tooth enamel which lowers your risk of getting cavities.

Almonds give relief from constipation, respiratory disorders, heart disorders, anemia, and diabetes. It also helps with hair, skin, and dental care. It is the most nutritious nut out of all the nuts. It is rich in vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, zinc, and copper.

Dried prunes, which are dried plums, are am excellent source of fiber and are one of your best friends for weight loss. They contain potassium, vitamin A, antioxidants, and help prevent cancer and heart disease.

Walnuts provide a huge source of daily omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Therefore it helps with growth, digestion, helps with dry skin, sperm generation, and is loaded with anti-oxidants. Walnuts also contains important B-complex which is a group of vitamins to help with the skin, hair and nail growth.

Cranberries, which are craisins, are also healthy for you. They helps with urinary tract infections, help with gum disease, stomach ulcers, heart disease, certain cancers, and have antioxidants.

You just can't really go wrong with these snacks when you have lists upon lists of health benefits!

Prune Mix
Almonds - count out 6
Dark chocolate chips - 1 tablespoon
Dried prune - 1 cut into 4 small pieces
Walnuts - 1/6 cup

Calories total - 240
18.5 g carbs
4.5 g protein
15.5 g fat
11 g sugars (3 from prune which is natural)

This next mix is perfect for my father who is a diabetic and has to have snacks available for his blood sugar if it goes low on him. The craisins provide more sugar to bring his sugar levels up but not too high. The protein helps his blood sugar stabilize once it's brought back up.

Craisin Mix
Almonds - count out 6
Dark chocolate chips - 1 tablespoon
Walnuts - 1/6 cup
Craisins - 1/8 cup

Calories total - 280
28.5 g carbs
4.5 g protein
15.5 g fat
24 g sugar (unless you get no sugar added craisins, which I recommend so sugar is lower)

My mom cannot have walnuts due to allergy so this contains only almonds.

Almond Only Mix
Almonds - count out 18
Dark chocolate chips - 1 tablespoon
Craisins - 1/8 cup

Calories total - 270
29.5 g carbs
5.5 g protein
13.5 g fat
23 g sugar

Feel free to swap any of these things like the prunes for raisins or other dried fruit. Be careful to get no sugar added with dried fruits and the nuts to be plain, unsalted, no sugar added.

I made up 22 bags of snacks with many more it can make. I would need to buy more walnuts and dark chocolate though. Definitely goes a long way!

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