Archive for the ‘Smart Snack’

CHECK THE CLOCK, NOT JUST THE CALORIES: Late-Night Snacks With Your Sweetie May Speed Weight Gain

bfbcouchcrop-300x189There’s more than calories to consider the next time you’re about to commit a midnight snack run with your sweetie. Researchers at Northwestern University found a link between eating during the hours your body thinks it should be sleeping and weight gain. Why does it matter when you munch? The body’s internal clock, aka circadian rhythm, may play a role in metabolism.

“We have found causal evidence that eating during the ‘wrong’ circadian time leads to weight gain in mice,” said lead researcher Deanna Arble, a doctoral candidate in Northwestern University’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology.

“While I do not believe the field is advanced enough to prescribe appropriate eating times for each individual, I believe we can at least say that humans should avoid eating during their normal sleeping phase because this could lead to increased weight gain,” she said.

Mice fed high-fat diets during their normal sleeping hours for six weeks gained 28 percent more weight than mice who chowed down during their normal waking hours. The sleepy eaters’ overall weight gain was also made up of more fat and they were less active than regular eaters. Continue Reading →

SMART SNACK: Four Bean Wasabi Mix

displayphpI picked up a pack of Sunbird Snack’s Four Bean Wasabi Mix a few days ago and have been snacking on them ever since. A 1/3-cup serving of the spicy, sinus-clearing beans — as in SOYbeans — has 140 calories, 13 grams of total carbs, 5 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of hunger-staving protein. They’re also spicy enough—at least by this girl’s taste buds —

to keep you from snacking through the entire bag in one sitting. The pack has been tucked happily away in my purse for the last three days, pulled out at key, stomach-growling points (instead of the all-in-one-sitting snack-fest that a bag of pretzels or other crunchy noshes can evoke). 

So try ’em and let me know what you — and your BFB —


Bugles: One Snack That’s Bad Enough to Blacklist

picture-1Okay, there are very few foods that I will put on my will-not-eat list. Blacklisting foods isn’t necessary, realistic, or very fun at all, as you can pretty much enjoy your fave not-so-healthy foods if you have a serving or so and workout and eat well the rest of the time. But I have found a food that isn’t worth the energy it takes to chew: Bugles.

Why you ask? Let me tell you. When my brother—who is currently relocating to Philly for a new job and is staying at my place until he finds his own—plopped down on my couch with a bag of Bugles two nights ago, I was curious. Okay, okay, I was secretly happy. I hadn’t seen Bugles since back in the days of, I don’t know, elementary school, and totally was too happy to snag one from him. But once I popped it in my mouth, it wasn’t the happy flashback to childhood snacking I thought it would be. It was so greasy and fat-filled that I had to flip the bag over and check out the nutritional stats ASAP.

There are EIGHT GRAMS OF SATURATED FAT in a single serving of Bugles. Eight grams! Of saturated fat! That’s 40 percent of the daily allowance for a 2,000-calorie diet and one more gram of saturated fat than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder! And this is the kind of fat that clogs up arteries and can lead to a host of horrible things, including heart disease.

Of course, upon telling my grows-muscles-in-his-sleep brother, his response was the reason why he’ll make some lucky girl the perfect BFB: “Yeah,” he said, smiling, tossing a few more Bugles back for good measure. “It’s like eating fried corn filled with air.” Ha. Isn’t that lovely?

Well, even if he won’t blacklist them, it’s one less of his snacks that are now laying around the apartment that will be tempting me! I’d rather go have a burger!

WEIGH IN: What’s the worst nutritional sticker shock you’ve had lately?? I want to know!


Five Reasons to Eat Your Easter Eggs

Though they’re easy to miss amid all that green grass and sugary sweetness, the best bites from the bunny are the color-dipped eggs. Whether you crack them open and dust them with a bit of salt and pepper or dice them up and sprinkle them over a salad, just make sure you eat them!

Here, the five reasons why you shouldn’t let your Easter eggs go to waste.

1. They help you train better. A 2009 study published in Nutrition Today found an essential amino acid in eggs helps muscles recover after a workout. The same amino-acid mix also helps you build muscle mass and sustain the muscle you’ve already got.

2. They’re a recession-friendly protein source. One egg has 5.5 grams of protein, only 68 calories—and costs about 15 cents a pop.

3. They boost brain power. Eggs are a good source of the brain-boosting nutrient choline, which helps nerves send and recieve messages and has been shown to lower inflammation in the body. Unfortunately, research shows that close to 90 percent of Americans are choline deficient.

4. They speed weight loss. Researchers at Louisiana State University found that eating eggs for breakfast can help you drop pounds. Out of 160 overweight men and women, those that ate two eggs for breakfast for eight weeks lost more weight than those who scarfed down a bagel worth the same calories.

5. They protect your peepers. Egg yolks are a good source of lutein, a cartenoid that helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts as you age. Even better? The lutein in eggs is better absorbed by the body than when you eat green veggies like spinach, which are thought to be top sources.

Wholly Guacamole: A 100-Calorie Pack Worth Eating

Most 100-calorie packs offer nothing but a few bites of refined carbs, zero nutrients—and a somewhat duped feeling that you not only ate 100 calories that didn’t feel like 100 calories, but that you’re still kind of wishing for the real thing.

But Wholly Gaucamole is a 100-calorie pack I can get behind—and one that your BFB might actually raise his eyebrows at in curiosity (which means he may, in fact, try it—which means you may, in fact, want to buy more than a single pack!) It’s chock-full of the super-heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (which, as I chatted about here, is oh-so-important!), and will help hold you over till your next meal. It’s also high in vitamin E, magnesium and folic acid, and has four grams of fiber per yummy serving!

So toss a pack in your work bag with some veggies for a mid-afternoon snack, spread it on a sandwich in place of mayo—boys love it on burgers—or put it out for your guy as a healthier chip dip. Continue Reading →

The Healthiest Girl Scout Cookie (Or the Least UnHealthy, Anyway)

Oh, it’s Girl Scout Cookie season again. The colorful little boxes and adorable flocks of little girls stand at almost every entrance to every grocery store, Wawa (for those of you not lucky enough to have these, this is a convenience store in the Philly area) and are being pawned off by co-workers with kids in almost every office. What this means for you: Not only do you have to resist the urge to eat way too many of the peanut-butter/thin-mint delicacies that you personally may buy—aren’t you, like, sorta supporting young women’s quest to discover kindness, courage and all those other wonderful things stamped on the boxes with each dollar you spend anyway?—but you must also resist the boxes that your BFB buys for you (or buys for himself and then, in an attempt to stop his nonstop eating frenzy, kindly gives to you). Continue Reading →

BFB Test Kitchen: Mood-Boosting Hot Cocoa

Between de-icing the car and budgeting for gifts to dealing with your family and his, the holidays can seem more Grinch-ified than holly-jolly. Next time you need to get away from it all, curl up on the couch with your boy, your favorite holiday DVD and two steaming mugs of this stress-reducing cocoa. Not only have the antioxidants in dark chocolate been shown to boost mood, but the milk contains high levels of the amino acid tryptophan, which raises levels of the feel-better brain chemcial serotonin. And shoot, how bummed can you be when you’re snuggled up next to your sweater-wearing sweetie? Continue Reading →

BFB-Approved Snack: Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are packed with good-for-you-both nutrients. Studies show they can do everything from help lower cholesterol and protect bones to promote prostate health and ward off arthritis. Snack on a quarter-cup of these salty seeds and you’ll score a mega dose of important minerals, including zinc, iron, copper and magnesium—way better for you than satisfying a salt fix with carb-heavy pretzels! And one .75-ounce bag of David Pumpkin Seeds has only 90 calories, 2 grams of carbs, 5 grams of protein and 7 grams of fat—most of which are the super-healthy kind.

Smart Snack: Kashi TLC Bars

Next time you and the BFB are on the road and hunger strikes, reach for one of Kashi’s Tasty Little Chewies granola bars. They’ve got 4 grams of filling fiber, 5-7 grams of hunger-staving protein, absolutely zero artificial anything, and they are sweetened with wildflower honey instead of high-fructose corn syrup. The best part? Most convenience stores seem to be stocking them—and BFBs don’t mind bumming bites of the Peanut Peanut Butter ones, so think about buying two for when he decides he actually does want one and you don’t feel like sharing. (No, that’s not a typo. They must be super-peanut-y!)