This is my kind of wintertime snack- warm, spiced, and sweet!  This treat has no added sugar, we just used the natural sweetness of the pears.  In addition to that this snack contains a good dose of fiber, calcium and protein from the yogurt, and some satisfying fat from the almonds.  I originally had the intent to make applesauce this week, but when we received some beautiful pears in our produce box I changed my mind.  If you want to use apples instead I’m sure they would work here too.

Spiced Pear Parfait
  • 3 large pears
  • ½ teaspoon Orange blossom water (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon Apple cider vinegar
  • Cinnamon, ground
  • Clove, ground
  • Coriander, ground
  • 0% Plain Greek yogurt
  • Raw almonds

Wash pears well.  Core them and chop into 1” chunks.  Combine pear chunks, orange blossom water, and apple cider vinegar in a medium saucepan.  Add spices to your preference, I used a lot of cinnamon and a little bit of cloves and coriander.  Stir well and cover with ½ cup water.

Place saucepan over medium-high heat.  Once some liquid seeps out of the pears and starts bubbling rapidly give it a big stir and turn the heat down to medium.  Let the liquid cook down for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep anything from sticking to the bottom.  Once the mixture is syrupy and the pears can easily be smooshed with a spoon, remove from heat.  Mash the mixture with a potato masher until it’s a rough puree.

To serve, layer about half a cup of the pear sauce under a third of a cup yogurt, then top with a quarter cup chopped almonds.  Now you’ve got a satisfying wintertime snack or dessert!

The pear sauce will last one week in the fridge. 

According to a national survey, 1 in 5 Americans skip breakfast on a regular basis.  That same survey found that those who skipped breakfast had a higher BMI than those who ate breakfast regularly.  Eating a balanced meal within a couple hours of waking can help with weight maintenance, and gives you the energy you need to carry you through your day.  You can read more about the importance of a good breakfast here.

Here are some breakfasts that are easy to prepare and have around 300 calories each:
  • ½ cup cooked steel cut oats with ¼ cup raisins and 10 crushed raw almonds
  • 1 small banana and 1 Tbsp peanut butter wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 eggs scrambled in 1 tsp olive oil with spinach, onions, and 1 oz feta cheese
  • ½ cup Food for Life Ezekiel cereal with 1 cup hemp milk- try hot or cold
  • 1 sliced medium apple with 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • Smoothie with ½ container lite silken tofu, 1 cup frozen berries and 1 Tbsp honey
  • ½ cup cooked pinto beans mixed with 1 Tbsp avocado and 1 oz jack cheese topped with 1 poached egg
  • 2 brown rice cakes with 2 Tbsp tofu cream cheese and 2 Tbsp fruit preserve
  •  1 whole wheat English muffin topped with 1 oz lean turkey sausage, steamed greens, and 1 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 6 oz container plain greek yogurt mixed with 1 cup fresh berries, 10 raw walnut halves, and 2 tsp pure maple syrup­­
Today I’m sharing snack recipes from some of my favorite food blogs.  I love cooking but I’m no pro, so I thought I’d direct you towards some more talented chefs!

Cashew Queso from The Post Punk Kitchen
This vegan faux cheese spread makes for a wholesome alternative to nacho cheese.

Cauliflower Green Pea Spread from Golubka
This recipe calls for a dehydrator, I’ve made it just by blending the raw ingredients and it tasted great to me!

Kickin’ Chickpeas from My New Roots
If you liked the Healthy Snack Sunday Spicy Popcorn, here’s another spicy crunchy treat!

Pizza Hummus from Chocolate Covered Katie
This hummus is flavored with tomato and basil for a pizza-reminiscent twist.

Pumpkin Protein Bars from Little B’s Healthy Habits
These baked bars are gluten free and high in protein.  Double the recipe and freeze some for later in the week!

You may have noticed that Daily Dose Wellness has not been entirely daily these days.  While I wish I had so much more time to devote to writing daily posts, my days of late are full with clinical rotations for my dietetic internship.  I’m working my way towards becoming a Registered Dietitian (a higher credential than a Certified Nutritionist), which means I’m spending my time working in all the various places an RD can work such as hospitals, clinics, public school admin offices, and more.  I look forward to coming back to daily posts soon, but for the moment we’ll be down to a manageable 2-3 posts per week- which is probably more realistic for reading anyways!

I’m not a huge fan of calorie counting, but sometimes it’s good just to get a rough idea of how many calories you’re taking in.  If the average diet is around 2000 calories daily, and you eat three meals that are about 460 calories, that leaves room for three 200 calorie snacks.  That’s just if you want to maintain your weight, if you’re looking to lose weight it would be a little less.  Everyone’s calorie needs are different; a nutritionist can help you figure out more specific numbers.

Here are some healthy snack ideas that are all 200 calories or less:

  • Smoothie made with 2 oz 2% Greek yogurt, 1 cup frozen raspberries, and 1 small banana
  • 1 medium apple sliced with 1 Tablespoon almond butter
  • 2 cups spicy popcorn
  • Sandwich made with 2 slices whole wheat bread, 2 Tablespoons hummus, and a handful of arugula
  • ¾ cup Sweet and Spicy Trail Mix
  • 2 cups carrot sticks with ½ cup Tzatziki dip made with 2% yogurt
  • Crispbread with avocado dip made with Wasa Crisp n’ Light 7 grain

Today was a beautiful sunny day in Seattle, so my husband and I drove to a farm to go apple picking.  We didn’t go too crazy since there’s just the two of us and I don’t have time for a big canning project right now, but we’ve still got more apples than we usually would in the house!

This recipe is a creative way to use a couple of apples, and it tastes like a naturally sweet dessert.  It’s a good one to make with children, just be mindful of the food processor blade!

Apple Peanut Butter Balls

  • One large apple or two smaller ones
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup raisins or other dried fruit
  • ¼ cup raw almonds or other nuts
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Place coconut in a bowl and set aside.  Place all ingredients except for coconut in your food processor.  Blend until the mixture sticks together and looks like it’s starting to roll itself into a ball.

Scoop out Tablespoon-sized chunks of the mixture and roll into a ball with clean hands.  Next roll the ball in coconut.  Repeat until the mixture is gone, and then refrigerate apple balls until firm (about an hour).  Enjoy!

I love this compote; it’s super versatile and I almost always have the ingredients on hand.  We’ve talked a couple of times about yogurt here in recent weeks, and this is a fantastic and natural way to sweeten up plain yogurt for a treat.  It’s also a great topping for steel cut oats or whole grain waffles (like these).

Frozen Fruit Compote
  • 1 lb frozen fruit (I like berries and peaches best)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • A couple of tablespoons lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan give it a couple stirs to combine.  Place over medium-high heat on your stovetop.

After a few minutes the liquid will seep out of the fruit and the mixture will become quite watery.  Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat to medium.
Keep cooking at medium heat for about 10 minutes; it may be more or less depending on the size of your fruit chunks.  Stir every couple of minutes to keep the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Once the mixture thickens up and coats your spoon, reduce the heat to low and simmer for a couple more minutes.  It doesn’t have to cook down entirely, this will continue to firm up as it cools.
Remove from heat and let cool entirely before you put it in a jar.  This compote will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about two weeks.

I’ve sung the praises of dark leafy greens so many times on this blog; I figured I better start talking about how to prepare them!  We know that dark leafy greens are a good source of antioxidants, calcium, and fiber.  They are also a good alkaline food to add to your diet.

This is an easy kale recipe that will keep in the fridge for about a week.  Because garlic goes so well with other foods, I suggest making a big batch of this stuff and then throwing a handful on top of whatever meal you're enjoying.

Garlicky Kale

For roasted garlic:
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Splash of olive oil, plus more for dressing
  • Some big pinches rosemary and thyme, fresh or dried, minced
  • One big pinch salt

For steamed kale:
  • One bunch of kale (any kind will do)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place whole garlic cloves in a small piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with herbs and salt.  Wrap it all up into a little package and roast for 40 minutes.

When you’ve got about ten minutes of roasting time left, rinse your kale clean.  De-stem and chop the kale into bite-sized pieces, then place in a steamer basket.  Steam kale just until bright green, them remove from heat and place in a bowl (if you leave it in the steamer it will continue to cook, and your kale will get mushy).  The cook time will vary based on the sturdiness of your kale, but it should only take 2-4 minutes once the steam gets going.

When you remove the garlic from the oven, give it a quick trip around your blender with a tablespoon or so of olive oil.  Pour the dressing over your cooked kale and mix with your hands.  Enjoy!

One word of warning: this kale is really garlicky!  I don’t mind having garlic breath, but if you do you might want to use one or two less cloves.

There’s a really easy method for de-stemming kale, here’s a video of a girl with blue fingernail paint demonstrating it.

Today’s healthy snack incorporates young soybeans, also called Edamame.  We learned in our discussion on Friday that soybeans are a good source of non-dairy calcium.  I’m not sure how long this dip would last in the fridge; it disappeared from my kitchen pretty rapidly (transported on fresh veggies and rice crackers).  If you exerted some self-control and kept it in an airtight container it would probably keep for a week.

Edamame Miso Dip
Adapted from a recipe from the NY Times July 2009

  • One 16-oz package frozen unshelled Edamame
  • 2 Tablespoons Miso paste
  • 2 Medium cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3-4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

Cook edamame in boiling water for about 4 minutes, until tender and bright green.  Drain in a colander.

Place miso paste in a few tablespoons of warm water, whisk to dissolve.  Put miso mixture with all other ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.  Blend until smooth, add water or more rice vinegar if you want a thinner consistency.

Enjoy on fresh vegetables, crackers, or where ever else you see fit!

This snack mix incorporates both sweet dried fruit and a little spice.  Because dried fruit and nuts are both pretty calorie-dense, I like to add something lighter like cereal, pretzels, or cracker pieces into my trail mix.  That way I get to eat a larger portion and still have room for dinner later!

Sweet and Spicy Trail Mix
Adapted from a recipe from Eating Well October/November 2005

For spicy seeds:
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas), raw
  • 1 tsp egg white
  • 1 Tbs water
  • Chili powder, paprika, any spices you like to taste

For trail mix:
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried mangoes, chopped
  • 1 cup pitted deglet noor dates, chopped
  • 1 cup puffed cereal (I used Barbara’s Puffins®) 
  • Ancho chili powder to taste

To make spicy seeds:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix egg white, water, and spices together.  The amount of egg white needed here is quite small, less than 1 egg’s worth.  I usually just remove a little bit of white from one egg and then keep the rest in a container in the fridge (where I will inevitably use it within a day or two).

Toss pumpkin seeds in egg mixture until thoroughly coated.  Spread seeds out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Toast in oven until browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes.  Stir the seeds around a couple of times throughout the toasting to avoid burning them.

To make the trail mix:

Combine spicy seeds, mangoes, dates, and cereal in a bowl.  Add ancho chili powder and mix with clean hands until coated evenly.

Store in airtight container for up to a week (after that the cereal loses its snap).
I was going to call this “bitter” green pesto, but I didn’t think that sounded as appetizing as this recipe is!  I’m not getting off my dark leafy green bandwagon anytime soon, so here’s a recipe to incorporate some bitter greens into your diet.  Bitter greens like arugula, dandelion greens, and watercress can give you an antioxidant boost, as well as aid in digesting fats.

Tart Green Pesto
  • 1 bunch bitter greens (arugula, dandelion greens, or watercress)
  • 1 medium onion
  • ½ cup raw walnuts
  • A pinch sugar
  • A pinch cayenne pepper or red chili flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • Several glugs of olive oil

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.  Spread your walnuts out on a baking sheet, and toast in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned.

While your walnuts are toasting, roughly chop your onion.  Warm up a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium high heat, and add chopped onion.  Cook onions until browned and soft, then add sugar and cook another minute of two.

Place walnuts, onions, garlic, salt, lemon juice and greens in your food processor.  Add a few good glugs of olive oil.  Blend until combined, add more olive oil if needed.  Mixture should be creamy but still have some chunkiness to it.

Spread on crackers, in a sandwich wrap, on top of scrambled eggs, get creative!