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Smart Summer Snacks

06/12/2017 01:32 ● Published by Family Features

A busy summer schedule requires plenty of energy, and while relaxation is sure to help, what you eat is your essential source of fuel. Just like filling up your gas tank, food is what makes your body go.

A well- balanced approach to eating is a smart way to ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs to power you through each fun- filled day and keep you operating in tip- top shape. An eating plan such as Atkins offers a balanced approach with delicious foods that contain fiber- rich and nutrient- dense carbohydrates and good fats and proteins, while focusing on reduced levels of refined carbohydrates and added sugars.

Reach for snacks full of seasonal fruits and vegetables like peaches, cucumbers, zucchini and raspberries that will satisfy your appetite and fuel your summer days. Find more warm- weather recipes and tips to stay energized throughout the season at Atkins.com.

Avoid the Hidden Sugar Effect

The frenetic pace of summer activities makes on- the-go foods the norm. While many portable snacks tout healthy benefits and good-for-you nutrition, it's easy to be confused about what truly makes up nutritious foods, as well as how the body responds to various foods.

According to the recent Sugar Gap Study conducted by Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., there is a significant gap in Americans' knowledge about nutrition and the "hidden sugar effect," where certain foods turn into sugar during the digestive process. While a person can't see these sugars, his or her body can. The study revealed that only 1 in 10 Americans are aware that certain foods can cause the hidden sugar effect.

Make better choices and avoid hidden sugars this summer with these tips for finding foods that won't create excessive sugar spikes:

  • Beware of sugary beverages, especially fruit juices. Keeping well hydrated is especially important when temperatures rise, but sweet drinks can pack an excessive amount of sugar.
  • Know that not all snack bars are created equal - with many packing a sugary punch. An option such as the Atkins Harvest Trail Coconut Almond Bar combines roasted coconut and almonds which can keep you feeling full and satisfied without the hidden sugars.
  • Understand which foods can cause blood sugar spikes - it's more than cakes and candy. All carbohydrates elevate blood sugar; even ancient grains and brown rice convert into sugar when digested, making it important to enjoy these foods in smaller portions. Learn more at hiddensugar.com.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Tropical Raspberry Smoothie

Recipe courtesy of Atkins
Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 4 ounces firm silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup red raspberries, plus additional (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar substitute (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3 ice cubes
  • whipped cream (optional)
  1. In blender, combine coconut cream, tofu, raspberries, sugar substitute, if desired, and coconut extract; blend until smooth. To remove seeds, strain mixture through sieve then return to blender.
  2. With machine running, add ice cubes, one at a time, and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into tall glass and garnish with whipped cream and raspberries, if desired.

Peachy Prosciutto Bites

Recipe courtesy of Atkins
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 (3 bites per serving)

  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 2 medium peaches (each 2 1/2 inches in diameter)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • sugar substitute (optional)
  • 12 thin slices prosciutto
  • 12 basil leaves (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In single layer, toast almonds 10 minutes. Let cool then coarsely chop. Set aside.
  3. Slice each peach into six wedges and set aside.
  4. In small bowl, combine softened cream cheese with cinnamon and pinch of sugar substitute. Add almonds; blend to combine.
  5. Lay out single slice of prosciutto, place 1 tablespoon cheese mixture on top of peach wedge and top with basil leaf. Place wedge at one end of prosciutto and roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Smoked Salmon, Cucumber and Cream Cheese Roll- Ups

Recipe courtesy of Atkins
Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 2 cucumbers (8 1/4 inches long each)
  • 8 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 12 ounces smoked chinook salmon (lox)
  1. Use mandolin or vegetable peeler to cut long, thin strips of cucumber.
  2. Spread cream cheese onto smoked salmon, place strip of cucumber at one edge and roll up with salmon and cream cheese. Pin in place with toothpick. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Zucchini Crisps

Recipe courtesy of Atkins
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • garlic powder (optional)
  • Italian seasoning (optional)
  • rosemary (optional)
  • dill (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Cut zucchini into 1/4- inch slices. If small, cut diagonally. Brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and Parmesan. Season as desired with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, rosemary or dill.
  3. Place in single layer on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, turning once. Cool on wire rack.

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