As counterintuitive as it may seem, snacking is an important part of weight loss. By now you probably know that we encourage 5 meals a day - but most of these “meals” can actually looks like snacks! Having snacks planned is a great way to ensure that you stay on plan when traveling, going to an event, trudging through a long, stressful work day, and generally on-the-go. Any time your blood sugar drops and you become ravenous, it's harder to make sound food choices. So having some go-to’s is a huge key to your weight-loss success!
Unfortunately, the food industry hasn’t made it easy for us to choose healthy on-the-go snacks from the shelves. Store bought foods like granola bars can pack up to 300 calories!
So your challenge this week is to make and pack your own snacks!
Now we know that not everyone likes to cook but stick with us. Making your own snacks doesn’t mean buying a lot of ingredients and spending a ton of time in the kitchen. We’re going to share three super easy recipes you can make in under 30 minutes:
Avocado Breakfast Toast
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
Pinch of sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 slices whole wheat or artisan bread
Combine all ingredients, except toast, in a food processor, and pulse until smooth. Or, use a fork and mash avocado, along with the other ingredients, until smooth.
Toast bread and spread each with approximately one tablespoon avocado spread. Sprinkle with additional red pepper flakes, if desired.
Chocolate Coconut Almond Protein Balls
1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3 tablespoons chocolate protein powder
1/16 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1 1/2 tablespoons warm water
Whisk together oats, cocoa powder, and salt. Puree dates and water in a food processor or blender to form a paste. Add to bowl with oats and cocoa powder. Mix well, using hands if necessary, and form into balls.
Spread almonds and coconut on a plate. Roll the balls, pressing the almonds into them when necessary. Makes about 12 one-inch diameter balls.
Balls will keep for about one week covered in the fridge or 2-3 weeks in the freezer in an airtight container. Enjoy!
Three Ingredient Energy Bars
1 cup nuts
1 cup dried fruit
1 cup (12-15 whole) pitted dried dates, preferably Medjool
Roast the nuts (optional). Nuts can be used raw or roasted; roasting will add a toasty, nutty depth to the bars. If desired, roast the nuts at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, until fragrant and golden. Allow to cool before using.
Combine the nuts, dried fruit, and dates in a food processor. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times just to break them up. Separate the dates if they start to clump together.
Process continuously for 30 seconds. By this point, the ingredients should all have broken down into crumb-sized pieces. Scrape the edges of the bowl and beneath the blade to make sure nothing is sticking.
Process continuously until a ball is formed, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue processing for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the ingredients clump together and gather into a ball.
Press into a thick square and chill. Lay a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper on your work surface and dump the dough on top. Press the dough with your hands until it forms a thick square, roughly 8"x8" in size. Wrap and chill for at least an hour or overnight.
Divide into bars. Unwrap the chilled dough and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 8 large bars or 16 small squares, as desired. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap or wax paper.
Store the bars. Store the bars in the fridge for several weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. The bars can be eaten straight from the fridge or freezer and will be firm, but chewy. Room-temperature bars are perfectly fine to eat and can be kept in a lunch bag or backpack all day, but will be more soft and paste-like.
What are your go-to snacks? Have any recipes to share with the community?
Prize DetailsIn addition to learning new healthy lifestyle skills, by completing this Weekly Challenge you’ll also receive 1,000 FITera points! Be sure to blog about this challenge and keep us updated on your progress. At the end of each week, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with how you did on the challenge, as well as your FITera username.
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Rules & Regulations
Keep us updated on how you’re doing with the weekly challenge by posting blogs on FITera with your progress, questions, or any tips, obstacles, or experiences you’d like to share. There is no minimum number of blogs required, but the more you post, the more support, encouragement, and accountability you’ll receive from others.
Just as you’ll receive support from others, please offer the same kind of feedback and encouragement to your peers. As you’ll soon discover, the more you give, the more you’ll receive.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Every Monday we'll announce the details of the upcoming week's challenge. Each challenge goes from Monday to Sunday.
COMPLETING YOUR CHALLENGE: At the end of each week (Friday night, Saturday, or Sunday morning), please post a blog on how you did with your challenge for the week, such as what you learned, obstacles you overcame, and your plans for continuing this new healthy habit long-term.