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Sunday, January 31, 2010

What's for Munch?

A couple days ago, Keith asked me to invent "Munch." We share our home office, and as I surveyed the empty snack bags and peanut butter jar from the night before, I knew what he meant -- Midnight Lunch. Aptly named Munch. He's a night owl, you see, and while he sticks with the svelte plan during the day, he tends to snack at night.

Admittedly, I've been somewhat of an enabler lately. You see, I have an alter-ego who is somewhat of a diet saboteur. I'll call her Dough Girl (a bad enough name to hopefully deter her appearances, as I certainly don't want to be "doughy!"). While I love the challenge of making healthy recipes that taste great, I also love to bake. Mostly pies and breads -- I love the whole delicate process and the delectable result! So anyway, Dough Girl has frequented my kitchen lately, and I'll wake up to find that there is significantly less pie or cookie dough than there was the evening before. And I know I'm not sleep-eating!

I know Keith is going to stay up late, and I know he's going to snack. I also know that I love to have a snack in the evenings, as well. My favorite hobby is watching cooking shows and reading cooking magazines, which is maybe why my appetite just won't quit. So whether you do your snacking for Munch, Brunch or Linner, here are some healthy choices to keep you svelte!

We go through a LOT of plain yogurt in this house. I use it for everything from dinner sauces to dessert. For snacking, try mixing plain yogurt with your favorite herbs and spices -- this makes a great dip for raw veggies or homemade whole grain tortilla chips (see next tip) and it's significantly lower in calories than mayo or sour cream. In fact, you can eat a whole cup of plain yogurt for about 150 calories -- fewer calories than 2 tablespoons of mayo! And let me tell you, a cup is a LOT of dip. You won't eat that much. I mix mine with tarragon, basil, dill, garlic, caramelized onions, fresh mint, etc. -- not all at once, I experiment with my favorite flavor combos! If you're in the mood for sweet, add a teaspoon or two of honey and some berries. YUM.

Instead of reaching for that bag of fried tortilla chips, try making your own! They are fantastic with salsa or your favorite yogurt dip creation. Take your favorite brand of whole grain tortillas, slice them into wedges with a pizza cutter, spread them out on a cookie sheet, mist them with olive oil and sprinkle them with your favorite spices -- salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, whatever! Bake them at 350 degrees for 7 minutes. Don't worry if they're still a bit soft when you take them out, as they'll crisp up as they cool. And they keep well in a plastic bag for several days, so you can keep them on hand.

Keith always turns his nose up when I offer him an apple, but he'll pick off my plate when I'm having one. You may not think an apple will satisfy you, but once you dig in, you'll be happy you did! Drizzle it with honey or dip it in yogurt if you like. Yum! Fresh fruit is always a winner, but so is frozen! I've talked about frozen grapes, which are our favorite -- simply pull them off the stems and freeze them in freezer bags. They make a surprisingly good snack! Frozen blueberries also work quite well, as do frozen banana slices. Try making a smoothie with fresh or frozen fruit, ice and bit of skim milk. SO good, and very filling!

I love edamame (boiled baby soybeans in the shell). It's loaded with fiber and great soy protein, and sprinkled with a bit of salt, it takes the place of salty snacks like pretzels. If you haven't tried it, you should. It's really good! I buy it frozen in just about any decent grocery store.

Popcorn is a whole grain and can be a great snack if you watch the oil. I love using my air popper. I mist it with spray butter and sprinkle it with salt and it's a perfect healthy snack.

And of course The Svelte Gourmet Main Courses leftovers make a great Munch! A couple strips of leftover chicken wrapped in a piece of lettuce with a drizzle of your favorite yogurt dip is great! Heat up some leftover soup or chili for a tasty serving or two of veggies and lean protein. A slice of The Svelte Gourmet pizza would be healthy, too, if there was ever any left over -- hasn't happened yet!

So hopefully, that's what's for Munch. Or Linner. Whatever! I just hope that Dough Girl stays away for a while -- the temptation is killing me!

The Svelte Gourmet: A Month of Main Courses is available at www.thesveltegourmet.com/products.html. A portion of all sales through the end of February will be donated to the relief efforts in Haiti.

3 comments:

Jessica said...

you might try sprinkling a LITTLE brown sugar and cinnamon on those pita chips for a sweet snack... we like that here, too!

The Svelte Gourmet said...

Yes, that's a great idea! I'll try it -- and thanks for reading! =)

Snack-Girl said...

These are great snack ideas. My favorite website for healthy snacks is http://www.snack-girl.com/

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