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Six Healthy Snack Ideas from a Registered Dietitian

Looking to step up your snack game? This post outlines how to choose a healthy snack, along with six easy, healthy snack ideas approved by a Registered Dietitian – me!

As an RD, people ask me all about snacks. Are they good for us? How often should we have them? What are some healthy snack ideas? Snacking is ingrained in American food culture – we are bombarded by snack advertisements in the media every single day. From fruit roll ups to 100 calorie packs, this post will help you weed through the media messages and give you nourishing, filling, and simple snack ideas.

Is Snacking Good or Bad?

Like most questions about nutrition, the answer to this one is not black and white. Snacking is neither inherently good nor bad, and it may benefit some people more than others. Remember that our nutrition needs are highly individualized, and what works for one person may not work for the next.

Snacking has been studied as it relates to weight status, blood sugar level, and hunger prevention. Overall, snacking is probably not necessary for the average person to maintain weight status OR maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day. But, studies show that snacking may prevent hunger, and therefore prevent overeating at mealtimes later on.

Given this research, it is important to consider a few things when snacking. First, contemplate your motivation for snacking. Are you craving food because you are truly hungry, or does it relate to an emotion like boredom or stress? Second, snacking is highly individualized. A very active person will probably benefit from more frequent snacking, as they are naturally expending more calories than a sedentary person. Finally, it’s WHAT you snack on that really matters. Consuming balanced snacks, just like balanced meals, will have positive effects on weight, blood sugar level, and hunger prevention.

How to Make Healthy Snack Choices

Here are some of my tips for making mindful, balanced snack choices.

  • First and foremost, tune in to see if you are truly feeling hungry. Many of us, myself included, fall into emotional eating to satisfy a need that is not based on hunger! Take a step back before reaching for a snack to determine your motivating factor. If you find you’re not really hungry, do something to tackle the negative emotion you are feeling, such as taking a walk around the block.
  • Be mindful of portion size. Snacks are not meant to be as energy dense as meals. While I don’t count calories, a good size snack for most people is usually around 200 calories. This may vary based on age, gender, body composition, and health goals.
  • Start with fiber. Fiber is a nutrient many Americans don’t eat enough of. Since it slows digestion and absorption of nutrients, fiber helps keep us full. It also has a host of health benefits, which include promoting gut health, lowering cholesterol, and keeping our bowel movements regular. Use high fiber foods as your starting point for a balanced snack, such as whole fruit, whole grain products, or vegetables.
  • Add protein and/or healthy fats. Pairing your fiber-rich snack with some protein or healthy fats will further help slow down digestion and keep you fuller for longer. For those looking for snacks to help regulate blood sugar levels, choosing higher protein snacks seems to be best, based on research. Choose proteins like yogurt, egg, nuts/nut butter, and seeds, and healthy fats like avocado, olives or nuts/nut butter. The combination of fiber + protein/healthy fats makes us feel more satisfied, so we are less likely to keep reaching for more.
  • Make it simple and tasty. Snacks shouldn’t take you tons of time or energy to prepare – you’ve got other things to get done during the day! Keep it simple, and make sure your snack is enjoyable 🙂

Six Healthy Snack Ideas

Apple Nachos

Cut a small apple into wedges. Drizzle with 1-2 tsp nut butter, add 1 tbsp granola, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serve with ¼ cup low fat yogurt for dipping.

apple nachos

Mini Protein Box

This is a totally customizable snack. Mix and match different sources of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Some examples include a hard boiled egg + small handful of nuts + 3-5 strawberries, or ½ cup grapes + 1 string cheese + 5 whole grain crackers.

mini protein box snack idea

Popcorn Trail Mix

2 cups air popped popcorn + ¼ cup of your favorite trail mix makes for a voluminous, portable snack that is great for munching.

popcorn trail mix healthy snack idea

Steamed Edamame

1 cup of steamed and lightly salted edamame is the perfect snack, as it contains fiber, protein, and healthy fats!

steamed edamame healthy snack idea

Bell Pepper + Quick Guacamole

A refreshing snack to much on in warmer months. To make quick guacamole, mash ½ of  ripe avocado with a squeeze of lime juice + a dash of both salt and garlic powder. Top bell pepper slices with guacamole and enjoy.

bell pepper and guacamole healthy snack idea

Chocolate Coconut Balls

These little bites are delicious, easy to make, and portable for on-the-go snacking. Filled with nuts, dates, coconut, and cacao powder, they only take 10 minutes to whip up. They taste incredibly decadent and dessert-like, so if you’ve got a sweet tooth, this is the snack for you!

chocolate coconut balls

What makes these balls a healthy snack? They’ve got fiber from the dates and oats. Healthy fats and protein come from cashews and coconut. Plus, they’ve got a boost of antioxidants from the cacao powder! One or two of these little guys will tide you over until your next meal.

chocolate coconut balls

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Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration.

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Chocolate Coconut Balls

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1012 balls 1x
  • Category: Snacks

Description

A sweet, chocolately, and delicious snack to make. These chocolate coconut balls are full of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants!


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Blend together for 3-5 minutes, until a sandy consistency is reached. Scrape down the edges occasionally, if necessary.
  3. Remove “dough” from food processor and use your hands to form a large ball. Break off ~1 tbsp sized pieces and roll into 10-12 smaller balls.
  4. Roll each ball in additional shredded coconut, if desired.


Notes

Best stored in the refrigerator. 

Keywords: chocolate coconut balls, coconut, healthy snacks, healthy snack ideas

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chocolate coconut balls Pinterest graphic

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which help keep Daisybeet running. I truly love all the brands I link to, and use them frequently in my daily life!

The Daisybeet 2018 Holiday Gift Guide!

Happy Holidays, friends! I absolutely love the holiday season – especially Christmas! I’m looking forward to cooking family recipes with my mom and spending time with my sisters who live in different cities.

I put together a little gift guide this year to share some of my favorite products with you guys! While it looks like my life revolves around food on Instagram (and let’s be honest, it pretty much does), I also enjoy other things, like finding new beauty products and interior decorating! I’ve been trying to live an uncluttered lifestyle since moving to Boston, so items I don’t use frequently get the boot. You can be sure I regularly use and love the items on this list, save for a few goodies that I don’t own, but have been coveting 🙂 I also included a wide price range, so many of these gifts are quite affordable!

What are you guys looking forward to most this holiday season?

1. Aerie Chill Seamless Sports Bra

I was given this as a birthday gift, and pretty much haven’t stopped wearing it since! It is THE most comfortable bra I own. I actually have not worked out in it – I wear it under regular clothes! It is definitely better suited for smaller chests and low impact workouts like yoga. I went to order more, but they were sold out in my size!

2. Dagne Dover Hunter Toiletry Bag

I also received this bag as a gift! I absolutely love it. It is the perfect size to hold all your skincare and makeup essentials for traveling. I love the smaller pouch it comes with – I’ve been using it to organize my purse!

3. Hu Kitchen Chocolate

One of my favorite chocolates to snack on after dinner. Each super dark flavor is delicious. My current fave is the crispy quinoa!

4. Aritzia Blanket Scarf

Those closest to me know that I’m always cold, which makes winters in the Northeast quite the challenge. I love layering this scarf under my jacket. It is super warm, covers your face, and can be used as a shawl or blanket if your destination is chilly. I use to bring this to the NYU library to study when I was a student there!

5. The Ordinary Rosehip Seed Oil

This is one of my recent beauty finds! I’ve been dealing with perioral dermatitis and very sensitive skin for the last 6 months or so. My usual cream moisturizer was no longer working for me, as it left my skin feeling stingy. My sister happened to have this product, and it’s been a total game changer. It’s pure rosehip seed oil, and is incredibly moisturizing. I use 5-6 drops on my face once or twice a day, and after every shower. It really sinks into my skin, so it doesn’t look or feel greasy, and I can easily layer my powder mineral foundation over it.

6. Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp

This is another gift I recently received, and I’m already in love! This Himalayan pink salt lamp is a gorgeous addition to our apartment – it looks like a giant crystal! I love that this lamp has a dimmer, so we can lower the lighting for movie night.

7. Resistance Band Loops

Resistance bands are one of my essentials for at-home or hotel room workouts. I bring these with me when I go visit my family on Martha’s Vineyard and work out in our yard. They take up no space in your suitcase, you can do so many moves with them and they can make your workout more challenging than using just your body weight.

8. Succulents

I’ve become such a plant mom since moving to Boston. We already have 11 pants at our place, and that number will be growing! A plant lover will always find room in their home for more plants – so a few pretty succulents would be a welcome gift. I follow Fairy Blooms on Instagram, and they have the most beautiful, unique succulents! You can also find them at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or local plant stores.

9. NutriBullet Balance

This is one of my new favorite kitchen tools. This blender connects to a smartphone app using Bluetooth. The base acts as a scale to measure the ingredients as you add them in real time, and calculates nutrition information of your blend. I think this is such an innovative learning tool for those people in your life who are looking to make some healthy lifestyle changes! PLUS, my friends at NutriBullet were so kind to offer you all a discount code. Get 20% off your order until December 19 using the code 'ALEX'.

10. Madewell Hoop Earrings

Because who doesn’t love getting pretty jewelry as a gift!? These hoop earrings are the perfect size – not too big, not too small, and super lightweight. I have sensitive ears – these are 14k gold-filled and don’t bother me!

11. Le Labo Santal 26 Candle

My favorite scent to wear, in candle form. I want my entire life to smell like Santal! I would love this to fill my home with this iconic scent.

12. Primal Palate Spices

I seriously use Primal Palate organic spice blends every day! Some of my favorites include adobo seasoning, seafood seasoning, and apple pie spice. They now have a Spice of the Month Club, which ships 3 spice blends quarterly. The perfect gift for the healthy chef in your life!

13. Magic Weighted Blanket

I LOVE my weighted blanket. They were developed to help with anxiety, stress and even Autism Spectrum Disorder. The weight mimics deep pressure touch, and is similar to a strong hug. As someone who struggles with anxiety, this tool was a welcome addition to my home, and it really helps me feel calm and grounded when I use it.

14. Glossier Boy Brow + Haloscope Duo

I don’t wear a lot of make-up, but these are two products I use regularly. I use Boy Brow every day to shape and add fullness to my brows, and use Haloscope to add a little bit of shimmer and dewy-ness when my complexion is looking a little “blah”. I have Boy Brow in brown and Haloscope in Quartz.

 

This post contains affiliate links, which helps keep Daisybeet running. I own and love each of the products with these links!

 

Healthy Puppy Chow

Lately, I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the most random things. Maybe it’s because I’m officially an “adult” now being completely done with school and working a full-time job, or realizing I’m only 2 years away from being 30 years old, but time seems to be flying by too quickly!

Last night, my roommate was showing me home video clips she watched after going to her parent’s house for the weekend, and we chatted about all the Disney VHS movies we both owned. Who else was a diehard Little Mermaid fan?

In addition to nostalgia for things like movies, I’ve also been thinking about foods I haven’t eaten in years. I bought a box of shredded wheat cereal to add to yogurt bowls for quick breakfasts last week, and that brought me down memory lane! I used to LOVE frosted mini wheat cereal for breakfast – there was something so satisfying about that sugary flavor and that delicate ratio of milk to cereal that created the perfect texture piece of cereal.

Munching on shredded wheat all week reminded me about a popular snack we had growing up: puppy chow! My own mom actually never made this for us, and I don’t think I was introduced to this treat until middle school at a friend’s house. This crunchy, peanut buttery, chocolately, sugary snack was so addicting.

Puppy chow is traditionally made with peanut butter, chocolate chips, rice chex cereal, sometimes butter and coated in heaps of powdered sugar. I decided I wanted to make a more nutritious version, without compromising on flavor!

My version maintains the same texture and rich peanut butter chocolate goodness, however I swapped the powdered sugar for a blend of powdered peanut butter, cacao powder and cinnamon. Here are some of the benefits of my puppy chow:

  • Whole grain fiber, thanks to unsweetened shredded wheat cereal
  • A boost of antioxidants by using dark chocolate
  • Zero added sugars or preservatives by using natural peanut butter and no powdered sugar

If you guys had puppy chow growing up, I encourage you to try this recipe for a more nutritious trip down memory lane. I plan on making another batch for a Super Bowl snack to munch on!

Ingredients:

  • One 3.5 oz bar of dark chocolate, roughly chopped (or ½ cup dark chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 4 cups shredded wheat cereal
  • ¼ cup powdered peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the stovetop. Stir in peanut butter once melted.
  2. Add 1 cup shredded wheat cereal to a large mixing bowl. Add a few big spoonfuls of melted chocolate and mix.
  3. Alternate about 1 cup shredded wheat cereal and melted chocolate, and mix gently until everything is combined. (I suggest using a rubber spatula to scrape out as much chocolate as you can).
  4. In a large ziplock bag, combine powdered peanut butter, cacao powder and cinnamon.
  5. Pour chocolate coated cereal into the bag, close and shake until pieces are well coated.
  6. Pour into a bowl or enjoy! This snack will keep well in the fridge.

 

If you try this recipe, tag @daisybeet so I can see your creations! I hope you enjoy 🙂

Raw Cashew Coconut Snickerdoodle Truffles

Raw desserts sound intimidating and expensive. Sometimes, there is a laundry list of obscure ingredients involving multiple layers and complicated steps. But, they can actually be surprisingly easy to make, and man, are they satisfying! I secretly dread dragging out my food processor and the ensuing clean-up to make them, but these cashew coconut snickerdoodle truffles took no time at all. I could easily devour the entire recipe in one sitting because they taste incredible.

If you told me these truffles were made from less than 10 simple ingredients, I wouldn’t believe you. I also wouldn’t believe that they are nut based and full of healthy ingredients! No expensive, hard-to-find add-ins here. In fact, I bet you actually have most of what you need to make these on hand already. Free from refined sugar, flour, dairy and eggs, these truffles would be a perfect addition to your holiday dessert line up. I guarantee they’ll be a hit, and will suit the dietary needs your guests may have (vegan, gluten free, and paleo).

Here are some of the highlighted ingredients:

And the nutrition breakdown:

  • Cashews are one of my favorite nuts. Their neutral and mild flavor lends itself nicely to a variety of recipes. Compared to other nuts, they become particularly creamy when blended, making for a great cream replacement. Cashews are an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral that is essential for energy production in our bodies, but one that many of us may fall short of in meeting our daily requirements. One serving of cashews provides about 20% of our daily magnesium needs! Reach for a handful of cashews for a protein packed snack that is also rich in minerals and healthy fats.
  • FlavaNaturals chocolate bars are one of my recent favorite products. I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic with a huge sweet tooth, so I was thrilled to create this recipe. These bars come in creative flavors like blueberry matcha, so they are delicious eaten on their own. What separates FlavaNaturals chocolate bars from others on the market is their flavanol content. Flavanols are the reason we consider dark chocolate to be a healthy treat. These powerful antioxidants are anti-inflammatory and may promote good heart heath. Unfortunately, many of the flavanols in chocolate are lost during processing. FlavaNaturals takes painstaking steps to ensure the flavanol content of their chocolate is preserved as much as possible, so you reap all the health benefits!

Now, on to the recipe! You’ll be able to whip these babies up in 20 minutes with minimal cleanup. No baking required, too! Raw desserts really are a beautiful thing 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 6 large pitted medjool dates
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 5 bars of FlavaNaturals classic dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Combine cashews, coconut, dates, spices, vanilla extract and salt in a food processor. Process until ingredients are well combined and stick together easily.
  2. Roll “dough” into 1 inch balls (will make about 15 balls).
  3. Place balls in freezer for 10-20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, melt chocolate bars with coconut oil in a double boiler.
  5. Remove balls from freezer, and dip in melted chocolate.
  6. Place chocolate coated truffles back in freezer or fridge for 10 minutes.
  7. Can be eaten right from the fridge or freezer, or brought to room temperature.

 

I hope you guys enjoy these easy, delicious treats! Tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see what you whip up 🙂

Chocolate Chip Almond Flour Blender Banana Bread

Hi guys! Thank you for following along with my journey to this website. I am so incredibly grateful for your support! I’ve been wanting to get this up and running for a while so that I can share more details about my life and provide inspiration for a healthy, balanced life. As some of you know, I recently became a Registered Dietitian (RD). I’ve worked very hard to get here, and could not be happier to be considered a nutrition expert. One thing I admire about dietetics so much is that it is a science-backed field. I can’t wait to share recipes and lifestyle tips that are based off of scientific evidence.

 

One of my goals for this blog is to share “RD approved” recipes. The recipes I share on this blog (and through my Instagram) will all meet certain evidence-based criteria. This way, you know when you create them for yourself, you are making a nutritionally balanced recipe that you can feel good about eating. In each recipe, I will also share the health benefits of some highlighted ingredients.

 

I am so excited to share this recipe with you all – it’s definitely a keeper! I love this recipe for many reasons. First, and most importantly, it is absolutely delicious! You would never know there is no processed flour and is only sweetened with banana and a minimal amount of maple syrup. Second, it is full of nutritious ingredients. Third, it is SO easy to make! I love one bowl recipes, and this one is a one BLENDER recipe!

Here are some of the highlighted ingredients:

 

And the nutrition breakdown:

  • Bananas: Bananas are rich in potassium, which is an essential mineral and an important electrolyte. Potassium has many functions in your body, such as maintaining fluid balance, lowering blood pressure, and regulating muscle contractions.
  • Almond Flour: Nuts are an excellent addition to a healthy diet! They are full of the “healthy” unsaturated fats to keep you full, a good source of plant-based protein, and contain important micronutrients and minerals. Almonds are always a great choice – even in almond flour form – because they are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and low in saturated fat. Make sure the almond flour you’re purchasing has just one ingredient – almonds!
  • Eggs: Eggs are one of my favorite vegetarian protein sources. They protein in eggs is one of the highest in terms of bioavailability – this means that pretty much all the protein in eggs will be utilized by your body. Egg yolks are a good source of Vitamin D (a vitamin many of us are deficient in) and choline, which is another heart-healthy nutrient.
  • Primal Palate Apple Pie Spice: Spices in general are an important part of a healthy diet. Not only can they reduce sodium intake by contributing delicious flavors and aromas to food, but spices also have nutritional actions of their own. Ginger, found in Primal Palate Apple Pie Spice, can help with nausea and an upset stomach, and may also be anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon is full of antioxidants, and may also be anti-inflammatory.

These superstar ingredients all combine to make this RD Approved Recipe. Ready to get baking?

 

Ingredients

2 medium-large very ripe bananas

2 large eggs

3 tbsp avocado oil

2-3 tbsp maple syrup or honey (can use less if bananas are riper)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

2 cups almond flour

1 tsp Primal Palate Apple Pie Spice

½ tsp salt

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease pan.
  3. In a small bowl, mash bananas with a fork.
  4. Add mashed bananas, eggs, avocado oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract to a high-speed blender, and blend on medium until smooth.
  5. Add almond flour, apple pie spice, baking powder and salt to the blender, and blend again until smooth and well combined.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Pour batter into the loaf pan and smooth out with a spatula. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips, if desired.
  8. Bake for 30-45 minutes until edges are just starting to brown
  9. Let cool before slicing. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.

 

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I do! Tag your photos with #Daisybeet so I can see your creations 🙂