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Low Calorie Snacks

Summertime means additional hours of enjoyment outdoors; at the beach, your local park, community festivals, kid’s sports games or backyard pools. Whatever you find yourself and your family involved with, it can often mean additional snacks through out your very active day. It’s important to make sure these additional snacks are not just empty calories but rather low in calories and contain nutritional substance

Low calorie or non-empty calories, as I usually refer to them, does not mean foods laden with chemicals and artificial ingredients in place of nutritious natural ones. Low calorie snacks can be accomplished easily by choosing ingredients closest to nature, like fruits and vegetables. I like to add zucchini to my favorite muffin mix and often choose water down any fruit juice with ½ water. My favorite low calorie chip dip recipe is simply mixing together; 8 oz. low fat whipped cream cheese, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, with ¼ teaspoon each oregano, basil, thyme, and black pepper. And for a fast, low calorie snack, I serve chilled flavored Greek yogurt surrounded by a variety of fresh fruit like strawberries, kiwi and bananas.  Empty calories can slowly add up, so I choose my snacks carefully for myself and my family.

We are a busy family with the addition of our son Luke, so food preparation time has to be at a minimum. My girls enjoy helping me make the snacks we take with us on our family outings, so to make life a little less hectic, I look for recipes we can make the night before. I try to put a fun twist on them like mini PB and J sandwiches cut into fun shapes using cookie cutters, Sadie’s favorite are stars. The girls enjoy stacking fruit and cheese on kabob sticks and take great pleasure in eating the snacks they helped prepare. If you have a vegetable garden and need a new idea for that over grown zucchini, try slicing it about ¼ inch thick and letting your kids cut fun shapes using mini cookie cutters. These slices are great with a dab of peanut butter or soft spread cheese.

Good snacking is about balance and when you let nature lead the way that balance becomes naturally lower in calories. I hope your summer days are filled with good eating and family fun!

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