The nutrition mantra to avoid snacking between meals assumes you’re indulging in empty, sugarfrosted or fatladen calories that inflate your waistline. But when you substitute lean, high-protein fare (including bacon quesadillas— read on), you turn a so-called hindrance into an advantage. “Snacking is fine if it fits with your overall calorie and macro needs for the day,” says Brian St. Pierre, R.D., a sports dietitian for Precision Nutrition (precision nutrition.com). “It can also prevent overeating later in the day, which you might do if you went hours without eating at all.” Fortify your diet with these snacks, apps, and hors d’oeuvres, which are quick to prep and full of flavor.
INGREDIENTS 2 scallions, chopped 1 clove garlic 5 oz water chestnuts, rinsed ½ cup reduced-fat cream cheese ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt 1 tbsp lemon juice Salt to taste Pepper to taste 6 oz baby spinach 2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
DIRECTIONS 1) Pulse scallions, garlic, and water chestnuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped. 2) Add cream cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and pulse until combined. 3) Add spinach and chives and pulse until well mixed. Serve with fresh chopped vegetables.
INGREDIENTS 20 peeled, tail-on, deveined small shrimp 2 cups pineapple, sliced into wedges 2 tbsp olive oil Chili powder to taste Salt and pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS 1) Mix the shrimp and pineapple slices with the other ingredients. Thread 3 to 4 shrimp on skewers, alternating with wedges of pineapple. 2) Oil a grill pan and place over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, place shrimp on the pan for 2 minutes. Flip, and cook another 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
INGREDIENTS 2 slices center-cut bacon, chopped ½ small red onion, halved and thinly sliced (about ½ cup) 2 cups chopped kale leaves Ground pepper to taste 8 oz black beans, rinsed 4 6-inch whole-wheat tortillas ½ cup shredded pepper jack cheese
DIRECTIONS 1) Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir often until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and cook, stirring until softened, about 2 minutes. 2) Add kale and pepper. Cook and stir until leaves are wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add beans and coarsely mash; stir to combine. Remove skillet from heat. 3) Place tortillas on a work surface. Spread ¼ cup or more of the bacon and bean filling and 2 tbsp of cheese on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten. 4) Wipe out the pan and return to medium heat. Add all 4 quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes total. 5) Transfer quesadillas to a platter and serve immediately.
MAKES: 2 SERVINGS INGREDIENTS ½ cup tan sesame seeds ½ cup black sesame seeds 1 lb sushi-grade yellowfin tuna, cut into ½-inch cubes Wasabi to taste Cucumber, sliced into rounds Garlic chili sauce (or soy sauce)
DIRECTIONS 1) Combine seeds in a bowl and roll sliced tuna in them to coat. 2) Spread a dollop of wasabi on each cucumber slice and then place tuna on top. Add a touch of garlic chili sauce, or soy sauce, if you prefer.
MAKES: 2 SERVINGS INGREDIENTS 4 eggs 1 tbsp white vinegar ½ tbsp mustard 1 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise ½ tsp garlic powder ½ tsp onion powder 1 pinch paprika, for garnish
DIRECTIONS 1) Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the vinegar (this will make the eggs easier to peel later) and bring water to a boil. Cook eggs 10 to 15 minutes. Remove eggs from boiling water and place in a medium saucepan of cold water until cool.
2) Remove the eggshells and cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place them in a medium mixing bowl.
3) Mix the mustard, mayo, garlic, and onion powder into the egg yolks. Scoop the mixture back into the hollowed out areas of the egg whites. Garnish with paprika. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.