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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Healthy snacks need not be hum-drum

    Candied yams, roast beef, roast pork, carrot cake, chocolate cake, pound cake: ingredients that make up that most adored and despised recipe we call “”The Holiday Season.”” Suddenly the New Year sneaks up and we find our waists decorated with jiggles, our thighs with wiggles and something protruding underneath our first chin — it must be our second. Then the swearing happens:

    Next year we will force only raw, vitamin-packed roots, seeds and other weird parts of plants past our taste buds and down our throats because they are “”low-cal”” and “”good for us.”” And we will be thin and miserable as we stare longingly at that Danish behind the counter.  

    This new year is the time to start getting smart about the way you plan your junk food. Here are five delicious, “”good for you”” treats you can devour guilt-free.

    1. Air popped and topped with what you are craving: Yes, popcorn!  Six cups of kernels, the equivalent of a bowl roughly the size of a cantaloupe, has only 120 calories with 4 grams of protein, and 10 percent of your daily dose of iron. Jazz it up with a sprinkle of cinnamon or cheddar cheese shavings if you are feeling saucy. If you can’t wait for kernels to pop over the stove, opt for the 100 calorie packs you can put in the microwave; less corn, but quicker time.

    2. Homemade popsicles and fudge-pops: Pick a flavor, pour it into the ice cube tray’s neat little compartments and stick in some sturdy toothpicks. For a creamy indulgence, use dark chocolate almond milk; it has 50 percent more calcium than milk, is crammed with antioxidants and has a deeper chocolate-y flavor to satisfy your cocoa-craving. One cup — 120 calories. For a light, refreshing treat, use half a cup of pomegranate juice and fill to the top with water; pom juice is also packed with antioxidants but has a lip-smacking tartness that is uber sweet. Plop a few fresh blueberries into each compartment for something to nibble on (around 90 calories).

    3. Melt-in-your-mouth milkshakes: No treadmill time required. The key is in the ingredients. One cup of skim milk, half a cup of nonfat ice cream and whatever your tummy desires — try for a classic with 1 cup of strawberries and blend (roughly 180 calories). You will satiate your inner lactose-lover while taking in calcium (and vitamin C if you opt for fruit).  

    4. It is OK to double dip: You have permission when it’s into dark chocolate with a cocoa score of 65 percent or higher. Pick strawberries or bananas. Half a bar of dark chocolate will be higher in calories (200), but also higher in benefits. Dark chocolate is linked to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Or try dipping pieces of cantaloupe and honeydew into a cup of low fat vanilla yogurt (about 200 calories). You will load up on calcium and probiotics important for digestion. Add a drizzle of honey over the top for an extra touch of sweetness.  

    5. Play with your food: Boredom eater? Make penguins! You will need black olives, a large carrot and cream cheese. Cut up one carrot down its length, making circles. Cut out one fourth of each circle to create triangles (the beaks); the leftover circle will be the feet!

    Fill some of the olives with cream cheese, forming the body, and stick the triangles out of the other olive openings to make the heads. Line it all up and stick a fancy tooth pick from top to bottom, standing it up. The olives are full of healthy fat, the carrots chock full of carotene that becomes vitamin A in the body, and cream cheese is, well, cream cheese. Be careful not to eat too many — black olives contain a lot of sodium, but at least you will be eating your vegetables (about 250 calories for three penguins).

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