Tag Archives: Snacks

Skin Friendly Snacks

The frozen snack aisle assaults you with a dizzying array of mini hot pockets, hot wings, fries, chicken nuggets, and cheese filled soft pretzel sticks, while the snack and candy aisle seems to have taken on epic proportions. There are potato chip flavors that you never dreamed were capable of fitting into a potato chip and hybrid candy bars that would have baffled Willie Wonka. And all you can think of is how badly your skin is going to react to all this. If you’re looking to avoid a major skin irritation flare up, here are some skin friendly snacks you may want to include at your next big celebration.

Berries

Berries
When choosing fruits and vegetables, color signals high the presence of natural pigments with antioxidant properties. Berries burst with color and antioxidants, replenishing your skin’s antioxidant defenses and absorbing free radicals from ultraviolet light.

Brazil Nuts
Packed with healthy monosaturated fats, Brazil nuts are a key source of selenium, which is crucial for immune support and a healthy circulatory system. These nuts are also rich in vitamin C, which improves skin circulation for a radiant glow.

dark chocolates

Dark Chocolate
Once thought to be the enemy of adolescent skin, dark chocolate is one of the newest snacks to achieve superfood status. Research in the European Journal of Nutrition and the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology shows that, dark chocolate, in addition to protecting the blood vessels and heart, can also help defend skin from sun damage. When applied topically, natural cocoa butter is an effective ingredient in preserving skin moisture and elasticity.

Yogurt
Low-fat yogurt is a key source of vitamin A, known for its skin enhancing and anti-aging properties. The vitamin boosts the skin’s production of collagen and protects against its deterioration, increasing and preserving skin elasticity.

Kiwis

Kiwi
When it comes to Vitamin C rich fruits, oranges and grapefruit typically come to mind. That’s why it may come as a surprise to find out kiwifruit is an even more powerful source of the antioxidant. Vitamin C plays a valuable role in skin health, maintaining connective tissue and also prevents scurvy. Although it has since been eradicated, scurvy was once a major cause of sickness among sailors who suffered disfigurement as a result of the deprivation of vitamin C. Other good C sources include papaya and guava.

Olives and Olive Oil
If you are organizing a skin friendly celebration, make sure olives and olive oil are on the grocery list. Besides, being full of healthy monosaturated fats, extra virgin olive oil uniquely contains phytochemicals, health improving chemicals found naturally in plants. Enjoy olives and olive oil in food, or apply the oil directly to skin to receive its nourishing benefits.

Let us know what your skin friendly snack picks are! We love to hear from you!

Energy Boosting Pre-Workout Snacks

Maybe you have heard some strange things about the athletes’ eating habits at this year’s Rio Olympics. You may have heard that the only MacDonald’s in the Olympic Village is doing unprecedented business with sales of fries, Big Macs and McNuggets going through the roof. Perhaps you’ve gotten wind of Australia’s badminton Olympian, Sawan Serasinghe, whose late night binge included over twenty items, causing Mickey D’s to put a 20 item limit on all orders. Or maybe you’ve heard about Ryan Lochte’s Friday night 8,000 calorie habit replete with wings, pizza and soda.

Well, while this may seem like a ton of fun, you should know that these athletes require a whole lot more calories than the average person, and that, if you ate only a quarter of what they did, you would probably be morbidly obese. So before you start downing those super sized -meals, here are some more realistic choices.

1. Honey
Recent research shows that carbs that blend fructose with glucose may be better than straight glucose for increasing energy. Although sports drinks may satisfy this description, honey has the perfect fructose- sugar balance with the added benefits of antioxidants. The darker the color of the honey, the better it will be in fighting disease.

Woman drinking chocolate milk

2. Chocolate milk
According to a 2006 study, chocolate milk is the new sports drink! In a study funded by the dairy industry , nine cyclists rode their bikes to the point of exhaustion, rested for a four hour period and then resumed biking. During the period in which they rested, they were given either Gatorade, an electrolyte replacement drink, Endurox, a carbohydrate replacement drink, or low fat chocolate milk. Results showed that the cyclists who drank the chocolate milk could bike about 50 % longer than those who consumed the sports drink. Ovaltine, anyone?

3. Yogurt
Exercise can also affect your immune system and athletes sometimes display greater susceptibility to infections of the upper respiratory tract, Probiotics, found in yogurt, may reduce the likelihood of contracting these infections. According to a 2008 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, endurance athletes who took daily probiotic capsules demonstrated greater activity of immune enhancing T-cells, cutting the likelihood of experiencing such infections by half. Probiotics can also soothe a nervous stomach, while providing a mix of proteins and carbs, great for just before a big race.

Eating Fruit
4. Fruit with A Mozzarella Stick
Who doesn’t love a good mozzarella? According to personal trainer and certified nutritionist, Mary Jane Detroyer, your body need carbohydrates, rather than protein, to perform physical activity. “You need to have something that’s going to get into the bloodstream and stay there throughout the workout. So you wouldn’t want to have a lot of fat or too much protein or too much fiber because those things slow the way the food is absorbed. She recommends fruit, “it doesn’t matter what kind of fruit it is. And you could have a few nuts with that.”

5. Crackers with a little hummus or hummus with veggies and an apple
Detroyer suggests a quarter cup of hummus, which she recommends because the beans in it offer fiber. “It’s going to give you some energy that will stick throughout the workout. Carbs form the veggies and fruit will contribute to the boost.”

And you? Do you subscribe to the healthy pre-exercise snacks or do you swear by the energy of the Big Mac? Let us know what works best for you and if you have some great advice about foods that give you energy, we’d love to add them to our list.

Antioxidant Packed Snacks and Lunches

Woman having lunch

Those of us that ate school lunches as children may have been scarred for life.  We may, to this day, have nightmares consisting of grey mystery meat sandwiched between a soggy bun, “pizza”  which is closer to congealed yellow cheese with red sauce on toast, canned vegetables and fruit cocktails consisting of vaguely identifiable fruit, as in, “Is that cube a pear or a pineapple?”  Well, with adulthood, the nightmare may be over, but with our busy schedules, we might find our food options are still somewhat limited, and you may even find yourself having a not so pleasant deja vu, unless your idea of gourmet food is the gas station food shop.

You may have heard a lot about antioxidants lately.  Antioxidants fight free radicals in your body and slow down the aging process.  Sound good?  Here are some ideas for  putting them in your snacks and lunches! They definitely beat the creepy hot lunches and are a lot more healthful no matter who you’re packing for.

Snacks
Trail mix nuts are a great source of antioxidants.  Studies find walnuts can be 2-15 times more powerful than vitamin D when it comes to anti-oxidizing properties.  Add in some dried cranberries and dark chocolate pieces for an added health and antioxidant bonus.

Dark Chocolate!
Who would have thought something so sinful could be so good for you!  Unprocessed, raw cocoa beans are one of the highest scoring foods ever tested on the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), the measure of antioxidant activity in food.

Fruit
There is no end to the nutritional benefits of fruit.  They are a delicious easy snack and are rich in antioxidants, with berries and red grapes leading the pack and so easy to add to the lunch bag.

Lunch
How about some broccoli and tomato pizzas? Yum!  Broccoli has antioxidants and Vitamin E and is very effective against breast cancer.  Tomatoes have lycopene which prevents tumor growth. Top with ricotta or mozzarella.  You choose!

Woman having wine at lunch

Grape and Cheese Salad
Red grapes contain the mother load of resveratrol, yes, that red wine ingredient.  Throw some walnuts on top for a crunchy way of getting melanin! And what would a salad be without the baby greens, packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin A and beta carotene? Eat up!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash, Tomatoes and Zucchini
Here’s one for the exotic veggie lover.  The Vitamin A in the squash will fight off the effects of aging and the zucchini has lutein for healthy eyes.  Leave the skin on the zucchini- it has beta carotene.  Great substitute for a carb-rich pasta dish.

Avocado Bean Wrap
Have you died and gone to heaven?  You’ve got black beans and avocados and carrots which mean plenty of immune supporting compounds like betacarotene and vitamin E. Is your mouth watering?

Veggie Lasagna
Mangia!  Try a recipe with kale, the super-food with vitamin A and C.  Throw in cherry tomatoes and garlic, packed with disease-fighting antioxidants and your choice of cheeses.

Enjoy and stay young and keep the school lunch ghoulies away!

Perfect Snacks

Walking into the grocery store can be overwhelming these days. It’s easier than ever to walk in to pick up a snack for the evening, then leaving with a cart full of impulse buys, and forgetting what you came for (especially now that more and more grocery stores are expanding their beauty departments). It’s easy to just grab a bag of chips and call it a day when you just need to get out of the store before too much damage is done, but we think you deserve better! Here are some ideas for perfect snacks that are a step up from chips and dip!

 Baguette and toppings

Simple Baguette and Toppings Bar
If the baked brie seems like a little too much work for you, or if you need to whip something up at a moment’s notice, but still want something sophisticated and versatile, you can’t go wrong with this simple snack. Slice up a baguette (the take and bake kind is great because you can serve it warm and crispy) and select a few different toppings. Things like dipping oils, bruschetta, and tapenades are perfect! Add in some cheese, and you’ve got a full-fledged wine tasting!  To add a level of elegance (and make the whole event Instagram- worthy) set everything up on a charcuterie board.

Fruit and cheese platter

Fruit and Cheese
You make be thinking, duh, wine and cheese- I don’t need someone to tell me that this works, but we know that the temptation to pull out the chips and pretzels when company comes over. Step up your game this summer and experiment with some wine and cheese pairings! This snack is impossibly easy to put together, but when you buy the right products, it’s also a huge hit. For the warmer months, pairings like a crisp Sauvignon Blanc with a French goat cheese and red grapes is perfect. The bright white wine is cool and refreshing, and a creamy goat cheese is mild enough that it doesn’t overpower the wine, but still offers a unique flavor- enjoy!

Baked Brie and Sundried Tomatoes
Before you roll your eyes and skip past this one thinking who has time for this,  you really only need three or four ingredients, and baked brie is a simple way to make your friends think you are a gourmet chef! Adding sun dried tomatoes and some fresh herbs, like parsley, will give this traditional dish a summer upgrade. As an added bonus, this versatile dish can be served as a sophisticated appetizer before a large meal, or as the main event at a wine and cheese night!

mixed nuts

Don’t Count Out Nuts!
Finally the most basic snack idea: mixed nuts. Nuts go great with everything, and are a little healthier than your average chips and dip. Nothing is easier than grabbing some nuts out of the pantry and munching on your favorite mix. Luckily for us, nuts also taste great with all different kinds of wine. For summer, pecans pair fabulously with pinot noir and lighter red wines!

Bonus points: if you have any extra time, make a sweet glaze for your pecans so it’s more of a treat!