Swimsuit season's here, and every morsel you munch, every tiny bite you nibble, seems to settle around your center. Living on hardboiled eggs and celery sticks? Surely there's something more appealing than that.
When the munchies strike and your midriff's bare, try these exciting nibbles to stave off hunger 'til your next meal:
1. Edamame guacamole (⅓ cup = 75 calories). Mash one small avocado with 1 cup cooked and cooled edamame. Stir in 3 tablespoons chunky salsa, 1/4 cup minced red onion, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and the juice of one small lime. Mix well, season with salt and pepper, and serve with sugar snap peas, jicama sticks, or red pepper strips for dipping.
2. Almond meringue cookies (4 cookies = 75 calories). Using an electric mixer, beat 4 egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Add ¾ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue beating until all the sugar has been added and peaks are stiff but glossy. Beat in ½ teaspoon almond extract. Drop by spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake at 200°F for 1 hour, or until dry and crisp.
3. Spicy kale chips (¾ cup = 75 calories). Remove ribs and stems from one large head of kale; tear leaves into large pieces. Blend together 2 tablespoons honey, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons lime juice, and a dash of cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Massage kale leaves with mixture and sprinkle with salt. Bake on a large sheet tray at 250°F until crisp.
4. Blueberry-banana yogurt bars (1 bar = 75 calories). In a blender, combine 2 cups fat-free Greek yogurt with ½ small banana and 1 cup blueberries. Purée until smooth. Add stevia to sweeten, if desired. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until firm.
5. Rosemary-parmesan popcorn (1½ cups = 75 calories). Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot. Add 1 cup unpopped popcorn, cover, and cook 3-5 minutes, until popping subsides. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over cooked popcorn, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, and 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.
6. Mini tostada (1 tostada = 75 calories). Mix 2 tablespoons salsa with 2 tablespoons mashed pinto beans. Spread over 1 corn tortilla and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cilantro and 2 tablespoons shredded cheese. Broil on high until cheese is melted. Serve hot.
7. Kumquat and pomegranate salad (1½ cups = 75 calories). In a salad bowl, combine 1½ cups chopped kumquats, ½ cup minced red onion, ½ cup pomegranate seeds, and 2 tablespoons minced basil. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Add 4 cups of baby arugula leaves and toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Lisa Turner is a certified food psychology coach, nutritional healer, intuitive eating consultant, and author. She has written five books on food and nutrition and developed the Inspired Eats iPhone app. Visit her online at inspiredeating.com.
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