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Snack Time! 

By Ryan Hutmacher and Sara Haas

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a snack as a “light meal or food eaten between regular meals.” The word appears to have originated from the Middle English word “snaken” which literally means “to bite.” The history is not well documented, but the consensus is that we can credit the Great Depression for the creation of what we now refer to adoringly as the snack.

fruit Snacks were essentially created out of necessity in the 1930s. Food companies needed to provide affordable food, and were able to make that possible by using the cheapest foodstuffs. Thus the creation of inexpensive filler-foods made out of mechanically processed ingredients. The snacking industry has not progressed much, as evidenced by the plethora of chips, candy and other processed foods available at nearly every store in our country.

Snacking can have a negative connotation and has contributed to our nation’s obesity epidemic, but it’s time to give it a second chance with a new perspective. Healthy snacking plays a vital role in maintaining and promoting optimal nutrition for triathletes. With multiple daily workouts, it’s extremely difficult for triathletes to consume adequate calories at meals alone. Snacks are a crucial way to fill in the nutritional gaps.

A great way to make sure you are getting the best snack foods possible is to plan ahead! Have healthy snacks made ahead of time and packaged so that you can just grab them and go. Your snacks should include carbohydrates as well as lean protein. The carbohydrates provide energy and the protein helps to satiate.

One amazing snack component to have on hand is some kind of bean puree. Garbanzos, black, and great northern beans puree well and when you add fresh herbs and spices, you will have the start of an amazing snack that your friends will envy. Pair these purees with whole grain crackers, whole grain baked tortilla chips or even veggie sticks. Other snack ideas include whole grain pita chips and edamame salsa, apple slices topped with almond butter or even a small whole wheat tortilla filled with lean chicken breast, veggies and tzatziki sauce. The possibilities are endless!

Incorporate these little light meals into your day and you’ll be on the fast-track to improved nutritional health. Who knows, your next snack may be the reason you were able to finish strong at your next event! Not only are the recipes below simple to make, but the bean purees hold well in the refrigerator and can be used in many different ways.

Turkey Wrap with Cannellini Dill Spread
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 1 1/2 lb sliced turkey breast
  • 9 slices yogurt cheese (may substitute low-fat mozzarella or Muenster)
  • 1 1/2 oz red onions, julienned
  • 3/4 lb baby lettuce leaves

Cannellini Dill Spread

  • 24 oz canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Method

  1. Place all bean dip ingredients into a food processor and puree. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  2. Lay the tortillas out on your work surface. Evenly distribute the bean spread over the tortilla, leaving a 1" border around the edges. Layer the turkey, cheese, onions and lettuce over the bottom third of each.
  3. Bring the bottom of the tortilla just over the filling and tuck the edge under the filling. Fold over the left and right sides toward the center of the filling. Tightly roll from the bottom up, tucking the roll in with your fingertips as you go.

Turkey Wrap with Lime Black Bean Spread

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 1 1/2 lb sliced turkey breast
  • 9 slices yogurt cheese (may substitute low-fat mozzarella or Muenster)
  • 1 1/2 oz red onions, julienned
  • 3/4 lb baby lettuce leaves 

Lime Black Bean Dip

  • 24 oz beans, black, canned, rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, fresh, packed
  • 1/4 tsp thyme, fresh
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Method

  1. Place all bean dip ingredients into a food processor and puree. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  2. Lay the tortillas out on your work surface. Evenly distribute the bean spread over the tortilla, leaving a 1" border around the edges. Layer the turkey, cheese, onions and lettuce over the bottom third of each.
  3. Bring the bottom of the tortilla just over the filling and tuck the edge under the filling. Fold over the left and right sides toward the center of the filling. Tightly roll from the bottom up, tucking the roll in with your fingertips as you go.

Chef Ryan Hutmacher is owner of Centered Chef Food Studios in Chicago, Ill.  Centered Chef is a wellness focused culinary consulting and educational firm that fuses nutrition with culinary arts.  With a focus on natural ingredients, Ryan celebrates the idea reinventing "health food", proving that nutritious and delicious are equally attainable.  His expertise is notable within the marathon and triathlon community in Chicago, as well as within the corporate sector. 

Along with his staff dietitian and co-writer, Chef Sara Haas (RD/LDN), Ryan appears both locally and nationally on television stations like WGN Superstation, where they give practical solutions to preparing food both easily and healthfully. 

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