Snacking often gets a bad rap. But snacking on the right things can actually be good for you. The American Heart Association recommends preparing food at home for nutrition and ingredient control and using low-fat or no-fat dairy products and salt-free seasonings in your recipes. Check out these five great suggestions for heart healthy snacks that not only taste good, but are a good nutrition boost, too.
Angel food berry shortcake. Top a slice of angel food cake (naturally fat-free) with a compote made of mixed berries that have been slightly fork mashed and let to sit for an hour on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. Add a dollop of non-fat whipped topping and unsalted almond slices. Kick it up a notch by dry pan toasting the almonds to bring out a flavor complexity and a nuttier crunch. Love the taste of coffee or mocha? Stir in instant coffee granules and a pinch of cocoa powder to the whipped topping.
Greek yogurt fruit dip. Any fruit will taste delicious and feel like a luxurious treat when dipped in a special sweet and creamy fruit dip. An easy heart healthy dip recipe is to simply combine non-fat plain Greek yogurt, a teaspoon of spreadable fruit jam and equal parts non-fat whipped topping. Combine thoroughly. Try dipping strawberries, bananas, apple slices, peach slices and pear slices. Keep the fruit peels on the fruit and pump up the fiber in this snack.
Creamy veggie dip. Love creamy snacks but need a bit of veggie crunch to go along with it? Try making a simple dip from fat-free or reduced fat cream cheese, no-salt lemon pepper seasoning (or other favorite salt-free seasoning blend) and a bit of lemon juice. Combine these ingredients well by hand or with a mixer. Slices of cucumber, bell pepper, carrots or any favorite veggie are great companions to this dip, and it is guilt-free, creamy, crunchy and delicious. For a fancy preparation, try cutting veggies into bite-sized pieces and topping them with a teaspoon or two of the dip. Place on a tray and garnish with plain toasted nuts or sunflower seeds. Alternative: Mix sweet and spicy pepper jelly with the fat-free cream cheese. This dip packs a lot of flavor and is a great taste companion for vegetable slices or whole grain crackers.
Rice cakes with green apples and garlic herb cheese. You can’t beat the taste combination of a tart green apple (peels on), creamy garlic herb cheese spread and a crunchy rice cake. Simply top a rice cake with a tablespoon of low-fat or fat-free herb and garlic cheese. Add a thin slice of green apple on top. If you’re not a rice cake fan, substitute whole grain rye crispbread (also known as flatbread or cracker).
Savory roasted edamame snacks. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine a package of fresh, ready-to-eat soybeans, a teaspoon or two of extra virgin olive oil and 2 teaspoons of a salt-free seasoning like lemon pepper or make your own seasoning to taste. Toss the beans with the oil and seasoning. Roast uncovered on a low-sided cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Serve hot or room temperature. Alternative: Try a mixture of chili powder, cumin, black pepper and smoked paprika for a great flavor combination that suits roasted edamame nicely.