Thursday, February 23, 2012

Healthy Oscar Night Munches

This Sunday night millions of people will watch The Academy Awards.  It's usually a long night, so many of us will make several trips into the kitchen for snacks.

A snack is supposed to be a portion of food that's smaller than a meal, but it doesn't always work out that way, does it?  Ideally, snacks should be 200 calories or less.  Healthy snacks are a combination of protein and complex carbohydrates.  Snacks that are good for you will satisfy hunger, stabilize blood sugar and provide long lasting energy.  Nutritious snacks are also low in calories and high in fiber.

Here are several food items I will have on hand to sustain a very long, but hopefully, entertaining night with the Oscars:

1. A walnut (unsalted) and almond (roasted, salted) mix – I buy pound bags of each of the nuts and mix them. About 24 nuts is 150 calories, or one snack.
2. Fruit: apples, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, plums
3. Cheddar cheese and whole grain saltine crackers
4. Swiss cheese and whole grain pumpernickel bread
5. Peanut butter – A dollop on apples, bananas, carrots or celery.
6. Yogurt: Coconut-pineapple, cheesecake and pomegranate flavors. Top with dark chocolate shavings.
7. Hummus
8. Spicy Popcorn – Make your popcorn anyway you like.  I use a Hot Air Popper.  Then sprinkle with a bit of olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, salt and cayenne pepper.  Toss.  It's awesome! 
9. Spinach Dip –  See below.
10. Red and sparkling rosé wine – Cheers!

Spinach Dip

16 ounces 1% cottage cheese
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise (Don't use fat-free. It's awful!!!)
1 small onion
1 stick celery, include the leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
A dash of onion powder
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Seasoned salt to taste, begin with ½ teaspoon

Throw all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until creamy.  (Instead of celery, you can use a sweet turnip, or watercress, or red bell pepper to get a crunch with a different flavor.)  Pour into a serving bowl.  Use the dip for vegetables, whole grain crackers and crusty breads.

Watching the Academy Awards with family and friends is fun, but the show will undoubtedly run on ... and on ... and on.  So while you stay up to the very end, satisfy your cravings and boredom with these healthy snacks, so you will still fit into your own dresses and trousers in the morning.
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