Easy and Healthy Snacks

In our house, snacks are almost a way of life. Particularly in the summer, while we travel to the creek by day and out of town on the weekends, snacks take a central roll in getting us where we want to go in a healthy way. A good snack can help alleviate the afternoon blahs as well as prevent low blood sugar after a meal that was hours ago.When it's hot outside, whole fresh fruit is an excellent option.

Fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals as well as water and electrolytes. Most people tolerate fruit well, especially when it is coupled with some protein. An apple or pear, halved and cored, filled with almond, peanut, or macadamia nut butter tastes great and is filling. Softer fruits like apricots or plums are great the same way, or filled with chopped walnuts.If vegetables are your favorites, try the old standby, celery filled with nut butter.

Baby carrots meet their match when dipped in a puree of black-eyed peas, garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Add some sesame butter (tahini) to this mix for a great hummus alternative. Any veggie tastes great with feta cheese crumbled on top or packed inside.For an interesting, tasty, easy to make treat for all ages and blood types, make some "Fun Nut Balls". Grind 2 TBS of flax seeds, add at least a cup or more of your favorite nut butter, such as peanut or almond. Add 1-2 TBS of honey and mix well.

Add some carob or cocoa powder to taste along with a pinch of sea salt (this is the fun part, as you have to keep tasting it). Form into tiny balls with your hands. Roll these in chopped walnuts or hazelnuts until you cannot see under the chopped nuts. Place in the refrigerator for a few hours until chilled and firm.

These travel well as long as they are not squashed when they become warmer. For variation, add some coconut, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, or molasses. These fun treats are high in protein and essential fats while low in saturated fats and sugars.

A good source of calcium and iron, especially if made with blackstrap molasses.

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By: Tara Barker

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