Healthy holiday snacks

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(Image courtesy Black Health Matters)

By Black Health Matters

Eating healthy can be particularly tricky during the holidays. The average calorie intake during Thanksgiving alone is about 4,000 calories, and many people gain one to two pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. As a result, it’s important to prepare your meals or snacks ahead of time so you can avoid eating tempting but unhealthy foods.

Try these healthy recipes to stay on track during the holiday season:

Date Energy Balls

Date energy balls are great for when you want a snack throughout the day or eating prior to a workout.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of walnuts (substitute almonds, peanuts, or other nuts you prefer)
  • 1 cup of shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cups of soft, pitted Medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons of almond butter (or preferred nut butter)
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Scoop the dough using a tablespoon and roll it between your hands to form balls. Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer for one to two hours before serving. (For gourmet-looking date balls, roll them in shredded coconut or cocoa powder before chilling.)

Store Date Energy Balls in a sealed container for about a week in the fridge or a month in the freezer.

Glowing Turmeric Latte

Some people may not consider lattes a snack, but they can be filling. A glowing turmeric latte is lightly sweetened with natural ingredients; can contain a good amount of protein (if you choose regular milk); and contains turmeric, a spice from eastern Asia and Central America. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and a good source of antioxidants.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of milk (of your preferred milk type)
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom

Combine ingredients into a saucepan over medium to high heat until the ingredients begin to boil. Pour into a mug and serve.

Zesty Curried Chickpeas

Want an uncomplicated, fast and tasty dish? Try Zesty Curried Chickpeas. Chickpeas contain loads of healthy nutrients, including fiber, potassium, B vitamins, iron and magnesium, making them an ideal main ingredient for any meal.

Ingredients:

  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon of cumin seed
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon of kalonji seed (also called black caraway or nigella)
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ chili pepper, chopped
  • One 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • ½ cup of water
  • ¼ cup of cilantro

Heat saucepan and add olive oil, onion and chili. Sauté on low heat or until the onion starts to brown at the edges. Add remaining spices, and continue to sauté until spices are well mixed. Add chickpeas and mix in the saucepan, add water, and let it simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Let the ingredients cool for a few minutes, add cilantro and serve.

Mango Salsa

Salsa is good for almost any occasion. It doesn’t contain many calories and can be healthy if you make it yourself.

Ingredients:

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 3 red mangos or 6 yellow mangos
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1-½ teaspoon of cilantro, chopped

Combine ingredients in a large bowl, mix well and chill in the refrigerator for an hour or two. Serve with pita chips.

Quick Quinoa

Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and a great source of carbohydrates. It can work well as both a main dish and a side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of tamari (soy sauce)
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 small broccoli head
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Place the quinoa in a sieve and rinse with cold water until water runs clear. Place quinoa in a saucepan with 1.5 cups of water, lemon juice and tamari. Stir and cook on high heat until it comes to a boil. Boil for one to two minutes and reduce to a simmer, covered, for 12 minutes (or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy).

Slice zucchini in half, chop it into half-moons and cut the broccoli into florets. Heat pan on medium heat; add olive oil, tamari, salt, pepper, zucchini and broccoli. Sauté for seven minutes. Mix cooked quinoa with tahini and sautéed vegetables and drizzle with olive oil.