Healthy Snack Foods

Apparently, people like to eat.

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PictureSarah
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Healthy Snack Foods

Postby PictureSarah » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:20 am UTC

So, I just started a new job, and in my office there are roughly 25 women. Most of them are overweight/pre-diabetic, and not as physically active as they could be. I'm not judging them, I am overweight myself, and have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and insulin resistance. As such, I'm not supposed to eat any simple carbs or refined sugar. This has gotten SO MUCH HARDER since starting my new job, where these ladies (who ALSO aren't supposed to have simple carbs or refined sugar) bring in things like cookies, homemade candy, homemade cinnamon rolls, etc. almost every single day.

I would like to start occasionally bringing in some healthier alternatives, both to make things easier on myself, and to set a good example for them. I do have one recipe for pumpkin cookies with walnuts that are whole wheat, include flax seeds, and I usually make them with Splenda and molasses instead of sugar.

I would love some ideas or recipes for cookies, muffins, little appetizer-like things, etc. that are healthy. Low-fat is nice, but low in carbs and sugars is much more important to me. Ideas?
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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby poxic » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:01 am UTC

Find a tasty whole grain cracker (I kind of like Mary's but they taste a bit like health food), or another healthy vehicle including veggies cut small. Spears of fruit are good, too.

Find a tasty dip, spread, or paste. My current passion is a black olive dip with a bit of spice from a local Mediterranean deli, full of good fats and few carbs. Fruit or tomato salsas are good, and usually low fat. I have a recipe kicking around here somewhere for pineapple salsa, or there's an online version that's similar.

I'm sure our resident chefs (cheves?) will be by with even better ideas. You won't be able to wean your coworkers completely off of the quick carbs -- I suspect that the sugar/starch combo is a powerful enough drug to the system that quitting it will require the same sort of mindfulness one needs to start an exercise program. Still, it would be nice to have options for yourself, at the least.
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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby Nath » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:29 am UTC

I can't think of any low carb cookie/muffin type things, since these sorts of things tend to be made from some grain or the other (though I guess you're looking for ones made from less refined grains). For a healthy, filling snack, I like nuts and dried fruit. Dried fruit is probably mostly out if you are avoiding sugars and such. Looking at the nutrition info on some peanuts and sunflower kernels I have handy, the calories are largely from fat, with about equal amounts of carbs and proteins.

If you want non-refrigerated low carb, low fat snacks, it gets trickier. Canned fish, I guess? Lean jerky?

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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby Rinsaikeru » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:16 pm UTC

Banana bread with molasses and whole wheat would be a good option I think. Also, not baked, but Edamame is my favourite easy snack to bring with me, high in protein and nummy, also good for you. :D

I've got a gluten free granola muffin recipe that's pretty tasty too. You can use homeade or storebought granola in it.
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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby Gia » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:36 pm UTC

If you're wanting a healthier cookie, look up some recipes for ginger snaps. Some recipes are reasonably low-cal, and I find that with the spiced flavor I'm satisfied with fewer cookies.

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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby bright roar » Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:03 am UTC

I enjoy bumble bars, which I think meet your requirements, although they are somewhat expensive.

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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby PAstrychef » Mon Jan 04, 2010 1:48 am UTC

You could make a fruit crumble bar using granola for the crust and a sugar-free fruit jam for the filling, then just oats with a bit of sweetener for the topping.
It wouldn't be perfect, but it would be better and look familiar.
You could also check out the world of Japanese snacks, which have a much more varied punch than American ones.
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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby PictureSarah » Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:44 am UTC

Homemade salsa or various veggie dips and raw veggies are a good idea. The banana bread and oat bars are a bit more carb-centric than I'm hoping for (as are the pumpkin cookies that I mentioned), but even if they aren't perfect, they're loads better than what is currently being brought in. On Friday, one of my coworkers brought in clusters of cereal (I think Cornflakes) held together by melted Milky Ways. I shit you not.

I would absolutely love to explore Japanese snacks, and little nori rolls or something would actually be fantastic as far as I'm concerned...but I don't know how much this particular demographic would be into trying new foods. I will try, though. I might be able to bring in a bowl of edamame pods and see what happens.
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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby Rinsaikeru » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:29 am UTC

You can make a really delicious hummus style thing from edamame too. Mmm.

Maybe start small and slowly introduce things and see what sticks?
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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby Fallen Angel » Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:31 am UTC

Mixed nuts is does well for me.
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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby voidPtr » Mon Jan 04, 2010 5:07 am UTC

PictureSarah wrote:Homemade salsa or various veggie dips and raw veggies are a good idea. The banana bread and oat bars are a bit more carb-centric than I'm hoping for (as are the pumpkin cookies that I mentioned), but even if they aren't perfect, they're loads better than what is currently being brought in. On Friday, one of my coworkers brought in clusters of cereal (I think Cornflakes) held together by melted Milky Ways. I shit you not.


I'm not a dietician nor a chef, but in my opnion a switch to a reasonably healthy snack choice despite the carbs is better than no switch at all ...foods like the banana bread, carrot cake, oatcakes, etc. may not be perfect, but they're a far better choice than commercial snack foods or very sweet high fat homemade snacks.

I'm trying to eat more healthy too, and re are some things I'm doing. (I know you've already thought up most or all of these already, but I'll list them anyways):

jellies made with fruit juices. -- you can add a little liquer for flavour
fruit juices mixed with club soda (I like Cranberry juice the best with a slice of lemon if handy.)
fruit
yogurt
pretzels
sliced veggies & dip ( I make my own dips.)
celery & peanut butter
soda cracker peanut butter sandwiches
pickled or hardboiled eggs with rock salt
trail mix (granola, dried fruit, nuts)
toasted pita triangles with hummus or other dips
cold sushi rolls (even without fish)

I know most of these choices aren't so inspiring for sharing around the office, but you might be able to get away with one of them if it is presented nicely.

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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:51 pm UTC

voidPtr wrote:I'm not a dietician nor a chef, but in my opnion a switch to a reasonably healthy snack choice despite the carbs is better than no switch at all ...foods like the banana bread, carrot cake, oatcakes, etc. may not be perfect, but they're a far better choice than commercial snack foods or very sweet high fat homemade snacks.

Normally, that might be true; but we're talking about people with diabetes and PCOS. In that context, a switch from refined sugar to complex sugars isn't much of an improvement because it doesn't change the glycemic load of what they're eating, only the glycemic index. It's good for everyone to base their diet principally on foods with a low glycemic index, but people who are pre-diabetic, diabetic, or insulin resistant (one facet of PCOS) need to take in less sugar and carbohydrates period. For that purpose, there really isn't much of a difference between white bread and wheat bread. Sprouted breads and those made wholly from relatively unprocessed grains such as barley and oats are better, but added sugar will still be a problem even if it comes from a relatively complex source such as honey or blackstrap molasses.

This adds a lot of work to the task of healthy eating. To you or me, vegetables might be vegetables; but to someone who's watching their carbs, veggies like green peas, corn, squash are to be avoided. Even carrots and onions, which contain more sugar than you probably expect, aren't the best choices. Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and mushrooms are the best. The big problem is that these foods just don't have many calories, and everyone needs a certain amount of calories regardless of their particular diet.

Similarly, fruit juices aren't any better than soda. Actually, juice isn't that much better than soda for most people—most "juice" you buy in the store has just as much sugar, and even natural "100%" juices are pretty sugary. Citrus beverages like OJ, grapefruit juice and lemon aid are almost as low in pH as Coke or Pepsi, and may actually contain more sugar.

Celery is a good, very low-sugar vegetable, and peanut butter is good in small amounts (high calorie/fat content). Sushi isn't terrible, as it often contains some very healthy, low-carb, low-sugar ingredients, but the rice itself is a refined carbohydrate that might as well be Wonder bread; and on top of that, it's sweetened.

I'm not just trying to be negative, here—most people don't seem to have much understanding of what's involved in this sort of diet and so my goal is to give some basic foundational information that will make people think twice about whether the foods they think of as healthy and low-sugar are actually either. And although this sort of diet is only strictly necessary for a certain group of people, it's actually an excellent diet for humans in general. The amount of carbohydrates people consume in most of the world today is grossly inflated beyond what's necessary for health and survival.
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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:52 am UTC

The amount of carbs I consume definitely dropped when I first went gluten free--because until I learned how to bake again a lot of things were off limits to me. I probably ought to still cut them a bit from where they are now.


What about lettuce wraps? That's what I eat instead of sandwiches sometimes--not sure precisely what you'd want to use as content, I've used everything from hamburgers to cheese to hummus. I usually use endive, but any leafy green thing works. I also tend to keep brown rice crackers around but I'm not sure how thos would be for you Sarah.
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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby caje » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:15 am UTC

Bacon, cook it put it in a bag then eat it later (I dare someone to choose a cookie over bacon :mrgreen: )

Hard boiled eggs (Omega 3 eggs). (If you can eat it outside your compatriots will probably not enjoy the smell)

Cuts of turkey, ham, etc.

Standard easy to eat vegetables vegetables: Small tomatoes, carrots, cut up cucumber, zucchini, celery, spinach, normal salad stuff.

Cut up avocado.

Almonds, walnuts, Brazilian nuts.

Beef Jerky. (look for ones with low ingredients and the least amount of salt)

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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby pamelaluck » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:22 pm UTC

Healthy Nutritious Snack Food :
Cut Up Fruit and Veggies
You can have all sorts of healthy veggies and even fruit sitting in your fridge, but your family won’t grab it for a snack because it would involve peeling and cutting. Instead they go for a bag of chips or some other ready to eat snack. Make it easy for everyone by cutting up some of the fruit and veggies and keep it in plastic containers ready to eat.

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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:27 pm UTC

I've been making homemade granola for my yogurt lately--though I usually do use brown sugar in that, I'm sure there's a way to make it less sugary somehow.

It seems like lots of the ladies at your work are using brand cook books--you know like Kraft or Heinz cookbooks that just push brands rather than actually baking (that cornflake milky way concoctiion for instance reminded me of this: http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/sevenup2/index.html
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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby PAstrychef » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:17 am UTC

You could try googling diabetic snack recipes and see what pops up.
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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby Faust06 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:54 pm UTC

Well, everything's pretty much covered already. I eat what I eat because a) it's convenient, and b) it's healthy as all hell. Grab:

-almonds
-fruit, or veggies
-tuna (with olive oil or other flavor, eat it out of the can)

This, on it's own, will make you feel unstoppable. Raw foods with vitamins and minerals intact are the best, and since women have a tendency to be anemic, the iron content is a plus as well.

Exercise is also important, but nutrition much more so.

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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby hermaj » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:46 pm UTC

I've made these muffins for a lady who was both diabetic and had Coeliacs disease, and they were a complete success for her (and also really really yummy.) That site has excellent sections for both low-carb and diabetic-friendly, so it's a good place to skim for ideas.

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Re: Healthy Snack Foods

Postby Kohlliah » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:59 am UTC

I'm an insulin dependent diabetic, so I know how hard it can be to find snacks that don't have tons of carbs or sugar. I started eating string cheese (low moisture, low fat is my favorite) when I was pregnant with my daughter, and I still have string cheese several times a week as a snack. =)
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