Here is a list of our favorite, nutritious and inexpensive snacks to enjoy!:

 almondsNuts: So there are many healthy snacks out there, but there are few that are as easy and as healthy as a handful of nuts. Some people find nuts to be boring or tasteless but nuts can actually be a very sweet, delicious treat. There are many different ways to prepare and eat them, from spices and sweeteners, to roasting (see below) and baking. Added bonus: You can buy nuts in bulk to save big money!

Roasted Nuts: If you are someone who tends to have a sweet tooth, especially late at night, roasted nuts are perfect.  Take a mixture of your favorite nuts (plain nuts- a bunch of sugar and salt voids the purpose of the healthy snack), put them in a skillet with some honey. Stir constantly until the nuts begin to smell as though they are cooking. Remove from heat and let set.  If you like deeper flavor, let them darken a bit.

Trail Mix: Make your own trail mix. Skip the m&m’s and only include nuts and maybe some dried fruit (cranberries are delicious, tart and great for cleansing your body).  Be sure the nuts are raw and the fruit isn’t sugared.

Raw Fruits and Vegetables: I know that is seems like an obvious, but many people don’t think to just grab a stick of celery, or a carrot or two on the way out the door. Grab a banana or an orange, maybe even some cauliflower.  They are all natural, healthy, easy, and cost friendly.

Lunch Meat and Cheese: Lunch meat and cheese is a win-win situation when it comes to healthy quick snacks.  Grab your favorite sliced meat and your favorite cheese and roll them up for a tasty, low-carb snack.  For a little extra flavor, and a lot of extra nutrition, add a few slices of avocado to the middle.  (Avocado is a fabulous alternative to mayo!)

Granola: Granola is a great snack and it is also a nutritious, fiber-full topping to add to snacks.  Bring a small bag of granola to grub on in the car or on the train, or throw some granola in your yogurt to give it a little crunch.  You really can’t go wrong with healthy granola.  However, be careful not to buy granola that is covered in sugars and fats.  You want to go for natural brands and avoid the sugar crash; check out the options lining the shelves of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s!

Rice Cakes: Rice cakes are an awesome alternative to bread. You can do anything you would do with bread on a rice cake. Some ideas I use on my rice cakes:

  • Peanut butter & jelly
  • Avocado and sliced turkey
  • Cream cheese and strawberries
  • Cheese and sliced, grilled meat (chicken, turkey)

Apples: Everybody loves sweet and crunchy apples!  Try to spice them up a little with a yummy dip– all-natural peanut butter or plain yogurt are great compliments.

Hard Boiled Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein and keep really well when they are hard boiled (meaning you don’t need to keep them refrigerated for the entire day). They are also very filling and will take the edge off of hungry quickly. I recommend hard boiled eggs with Kashi crackers but an egg alone will do for a a quick snack to hold you over.

Lean Animal Protein and Crackers: Try out some tuna or grilled chicken (chicken or tuna salad are also great options!) on your favorite whole-wheat or gluten-free crackers. What a healthful, filling snack for an on-the-go schedule –good for kids, too!

jamIt’s easy to recognize how delicious jams can be– all you have to do is eat them! What most people fail to acknowledge, though, is just how good jams and jellies are for you.  This article does a great job at listing almost twenty health benefits to eating jam.

Jam’s first benefit is the mere fact that eating it instead of butter or margarine on your toast is a huge upgrade in healthy eating.  It also has benefits that are a direct result of the antioxidants, amino acids, minerals and vitamins inherent in the fruits jam is made of.  Health benefits range from helping to heal cuts and wounds, to providing energy, to lowering blood pressure. (These benefits are more prevalent with jams as compared to jellies & preserves but all three have potential.)

Before we get into some fun recipes let’s just briefly define the difference between jam, jelly, and preserves.

  • Jelly: Jelly is made from fruit juice.
  • Jam: Jam is made from whole fruit pulp and tends to be thicker than Jelly.
  • Preserves: Preserves are made from whole fruit and tend to be chunkier than Jam or Jelly.

Now that you are well aware of all differences between jam, jelly and preserves, as well as many of the great reasons to enjoy them, I’m sure you are ready to know how to make them yourself!  Here are four do-it-yourself jam/jelly/preserve recipes you are bound to love:

Simple Quince Jam Recipe: This jam recipe is sure to steal your heart and capture your taste buds. Just 4 easy steps and you are off to making great jam. Please see the link included for directions. To start you will need the following ingredients:

    • 6 cups (packed) of quince, rinsed, grated (discard cores, leave peel on), from about 2 lbs of quince (about 5 quince)
    • 4 1/4 cups water
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
    • 4 cups sugar

Cranberry- Raspberry Preserves: You berry lovers will melt when you try this berry delicious preserve. Please see the link included for directions. To start you will need the following ingredients:

  • 6 c Raspberries (3 pints)
  • 2 1/2 c Sugar
  • 3 c Cranberries (12 oz. bag)
  • 1/4 c Fresh orange juice

Meyer Lemon Marmalade: Lemon marmalade is not for everyone, but for those of you who love it, YOU LOVE IT. If you are looking for a great lemon marmalade recipe you can’t go wrong with this one. Please see the link included for directions. To start you will need the following ingredients:

    • 2.5 lbs. Meyer Lemons
    • 8 C Water
    • 6-6.5 C Sugar

Pear and Lemon Jam Recipe: This isn’t the most obvious of combinations to a novice jam maker, but rest assured once you try it you won’t give a second thought as to whether these two flavors belong together. Please see the link included for directions. To start you will need the following ingredients:

    • 2 kilos of pears (peeled, cored and chopped
    • 3 medium lemons (strained juice and zest)
    • 1 kilo of granulated jam sugar
    • 1 litre of water

For those of you who are just getting into jarring you might want to check out these jarring and canning tips.

Happy Jamming!

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