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The Scrumptious 7: Light Bites & Tasty Treats

I was thrilled to get in the kitchen to prepare 7 delicious, decadent, but healthful foods to snack on, make as an appetizer, or have as dessert this time of year for a segment I did for Fox’s Good Day Street Talk here in New York City. Some recipes came from those featured in previous books I’ve written, and others were from my mom or close friends who have a flair for cooking. All in all, it was fun to prepare these foods (some of which I had never made); all take little time to prepare, and can easily be used for snacks, appetizers, or tasty after-dinner treats. Hopefully you’ll try a few and enjoy them too!

Here’s a little more information about the 7 light bites and treats I made on the show; I hope you sample some or all of these and as always, watch your portions, and savor every bite to maximize pleasure without derailing your efforts to manage your weight.

1. Cucumbers and chili lime corn chips with hummus

Here, I saved some time by buying store-bought hummus; hummus is a versatile, tasty food that’s relatively easy to prepare; it’s made from chickpeas (a great source of protein and complex carbohydrates), and typically olive oil (rich in healthful monounsaturated fat), tahini (ground sesame seeds, also rich in healthy fats), and lemon juice. Cucumbers are crunchy and delicious and easy dip toppers; they’re also high in water content and can fill you up. Finally, the chili lime chip recipe, which came from one of my BFFs, Zari Ginsburg, MS, RD, was delicious and a great way to get whole grains into your diet. Here’s the recipe for CHILI LIME CHIPS :

Ingredients: 2 corn tortillas; chili powder; lime; nonstick cooking spray (like canola oil spray)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice corn tortillas into triangles (to make 16 chips). Spray bottom of the baking sheet with nonstick spray. Lightly sprinkle lime juice over tortila slices. Follow with a sprinkle of chili powder. Spray nonstick spray onto the corn tortilla chips. Place the chips in the oven for several minutes until they’re crisp on each side. Remove when both sides are crisp (not brown). Cool and serve. Serves 2.

2. Garlic chicken salad on whole grain crackers

This recipe comes from my mom, Barbara Sickmen. I adapted the recipe from the original one that appeared in my second book, Feed Your Family Right! (Wiley, 2007). Chicken is a great source of high quality, complete protein, B vitamins, iron, and phosphorus. Here’s how I made the GARLIC CHICKEN SALAD:

Ingredients: 1/2 pound chicken breast, skinless and boneless; lemon juice (from a fresh lemon); 1 clove fresh garlic, chopped; 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped; 1/2 teaspoon cajun seasoning; 1 tablespoon olive oil; 1 tablespoon mayonnaise; nonstick cooking spray.

Directions: Cut the chicken into 4 pieces. In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, garlic, cilantro, cajun seasoning, and olive oil to make a paste. Place the chicken in the bowl with the marinade and mix together. Saute the chicken for 3-4 minutes or so on each side or until thoroughly cooked. Cut the chicken into small slices, place in a small bowl, and combine with mayonnaise until all pieces are evenly coated. Put about a heaping teaspoon of chicken salad on whole grain crackers (I used Triscuits, because they taste great and are quite sturdy). Serves 4.

3. Yogurt dip with fruit kebobs

For the yogurt dip, I simply used 6 ounces of nonfat Greek Yogurt, 1-2 teaspoons of powdered sugar, and some lemon juice; I made the fruit kebobs with pineapple, red grapes, honeydew, and strawberries. The yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium and the fruit is loaded with potassium, vitamins A and C, and fiber. A great, easy, no fuss yogurt dip that helps you meet your quota for milk and fruit. Serves 1.

4. Silver dollar sweet potato pancakes

I stole this recipe from my first book, So What Can I Eat?! (Wiley, 2006). Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C, fiber, B6, potassium, and more. Here’s how I made the SWEETEST POTATO PANCAKES:

Ingredients: 1 medium sweet potato; 3/4 cup complete pancake and waffle mix, dry; 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon; 3/4 cup water; 2 teaspoons powdered sugar (optional); nonstick cooking spray.

Directions: Clean the sweet potato, poke it with a fork, wrap it in a paper towel, and microwave it for 7 or 8 minutes or until you can easily put a fork in it. Set it aside. Spray a griddle or a large pan with the cooking spray, and set it on medium heat. Pour the pancake and waffle mix into a large bowl, along with the cinnamon, and add water to the mix (add more water if you want more fluffy pancakes, less if you want more dense pancakes). Combine ingredients until you achieve the desired texture. Cook the pancakes on a griddle or in a large pan. Watch the pancakes carefully, and flip them after 3 or 4 minutes until they’re solid. Cook them another 3 or 4 minutes, and remove them from the heat promptly. Sprinkle on powdered sugar (if desired) and serve. Serves 2 for breakfast or up to 4 for an appetizer/dessert.

5. Cinnamon baked apple

This recipe is really not much of a recipe at all; all you need to do is preheat the oven to about 375 degrees F, and clean and core a Rome apple (or another apple you like). Top the apple (if desired) with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and place in the oven for about 40 or 45 minutes. Apples are loaded with fiber, and have some vitamin C as well. You can pair the baked apple with some almonds (whole or slivered) to make this a fiber- and protein-rich snack. Honey and/or powdered sugar also work well with this delicious, healthful dessert.

6. Pumpkin dip with graham crackers

This recipe was a big hit with the anchor..and of course, I did not create it (though I did amend it with permission from it’s creator, Dawn Jackson Blatner, a friend and fellow registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association). This recipe simply calls for canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and syrup–Dawn suggested using real maple syrup, but I used the light syrup that I had at home. Pumpkin is loaded with fiber as well as alpha- and beta-carotene, which convert to vitamin A in the body and support healthy vision and a healthy immune system; interestingly, the beta carotene in canned pumpkin is more available to the body than the beta-carotene from fresh pumpkin. Although graham crackers not whole grain, they pair well with the pumpkin dip and make you feel like you’re having a real dessert! Here’s a link to the original recipe, as well as several other great ideas from Dawn:

7. Chocolate/almond covered pretzels

Ok, these aren’t exactly light bites; but if in theory you used whole wheat, unsalted pretzel rods (not sure they exist?!) and dark chocolate chips (with lots of flavonols), you could justify this decadent delight as dessert. I used good old pretzel rods and semi-sweet chocolate chips for this recipe. I never made these before, but I quickly learned that melting the chips in a pan is not the best way to melt chocolate…who knew?! Quickly zapping the chips in the microwave worked much better for me. I then placed the slivered almonds on wax paper and gently dipped the ends of the pretzels into the chocolate and then rolled them onto the almonds. I cooled the coated pretzels in the refrigerator and they looked and tasted great! I was proud of myself. I consider 1 pretzel rod the equivalent of dessert. It is high in sodium and fat, but as a treat it’s pretty great since it covers two food groups–grains and meat/beans (the nuts count in the latter group).

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About The Author

Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized and award-winning health and nutrition expert, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books. An avid walker, she loves motivating others to #moveitorloseit. A book lover, she recently earned a certificate in children’s literature from Stony Brook Southampton and is currently working on several young adult novels. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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