I had the joy of hosting another "What's on Your Plate" talk with the beautiful babes of Bootycamp Fitness this weekend. Check out this gorgeous crew...
As busy, busy people keeping our bodies fueled throughout the day can be really tough! So we took some time to talk about good snack options. Snack options that would fuel our bodies long-term and not just cause a temporary blood sugar spike!
Why do we care about blood sugar spikes?
Our body's blood sugar levels naturally cycle up and down, thanks to the work of our pancreas and liver.
Quick simplified explanation of blood sugar optimal function... we consume food, its broken down into glucose, this glucose is either used for fuel now or stored in the muscles for later use. We can access those stores throughout the day to keep our blood sugar stabilized. BUT if we are inundating our bodies with too much sugar, those muscle stores get full and the glucose gets stored as fat. This also can change our blood sugar cycles from small rolling hills to roller coaster type spikes and falls.
When we fall into a roller coaster type pattern, our body gets stressed and calls in reinforcements. Cue the ADRENALS! The adrenals are our key players in regulating stress, from all sources. They produce and regulate the anti-inflammatory hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is key in the healing process. When our adrenals get overworked constantly balancing blood sugar, the rest of the body's functions suffer.
It's fairly likely we've all experienced it. The sugar high! And then the absolute crash! This crash looks different for everyone: headache, fatigue, irritability or the dreaded HANGRY.
If this cycle continues, our adrenals can eventually say "Screw it! I'm out!" and then shit really hits the fan. After that, your body has a really tough time responding to stresses (cue: weight gain around the belly, slow healing time, cardiovascular distress, hormone dysregulation, and severe fatigue).
I thought you said this was about snacks...
When you feel the HANGRY coming on, don't fuel the monster with sugary snacks! Just like our meals, we need a solid balance of fat, protein and carbohydrate in our snacks. This allows our blood sugar to come back to normal, without spiking.
What is a snack?
Silly question right? But I think we all get caught in this mind frame that a snack has to be chips, cookies or is different from any other meal of the day.... But what if we just thought of it like a tiny meal? I mean the ultimate goal is to have had a good balance of food at each meal, so you don't need a snack. But this isn't always realistic! I'm always about being realistic. Sometimes lunch is delayed! Or we are stuck at work past dinner time.
LIFE HAPPENS. Dang it Life! *Shakes fist*
So what should you eat?
Easy snack options: hardboiled eggs, jerky (read the ingredients!), mixed nuts, veggies and aioli, apple and sunbutter! Or just small meals like leftover pulled pork and sauteed greens or tuna salad.
Here are two of my favorite snack options (and recipes!) as of late.
Avocado Chimichurri and veggies for the dippin'
- I bunch parsley, chopped small
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped small
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 green onions, diced
- 2 tbs red wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 large avocado
- 1 cup avocado or olive oil
- 1 tsp salt, or more to taste
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
In a large food processor, blend the parsley, cilantro, garlic and green onions until it forms a thick paste. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, paprika and avocado and blend to incorporate. While blade is running, slowly pour in the avocado oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The dip will last about a week in the fridge.
Eat it with all the veggies. Or smother it on some steak. Or potatoes. Or your face. The world is your oyster.
Apple Sunbutter "Cookies"
There isn't a real recipe for this, only a suggestion... Click on the photo for a little video tutorial or read more below...
- Green apple
- Coconut flakes, unsweetened
- Cacao nibs (I like these)
Slice the apple into rounds. Spread a thin layer of sunbutter on each round. Sprinkle with coconut flakes and cacao nibs and press into the sunbutter to hold. Sprinkle a dust of cinnamon on top. Eat and smile!
*Sunbutter is simply ground, roasted sunflower seeds. I blend 2 cups sunflower seeds with 2tbs honey and 1 tbs cinnamon. The trick is to wait to add the honey and cinnamon until the sunflower seeds butter is totally smooth and blended. It'll take longer than you think, but its worth the wait.