18 Quick & Easy Snack Duos

18 Quick & Easy Snack Duos

Snacking may not seem like a very controversial topic, but in the world of nutrition it can be a rather divisive topic. That’s because “snacking” doesn’t necessarily always look the same for each individual. Some people may find that they graze on snacks throughout the day while others may classify a snack as an opportunity to respond to hunger.

18 Quick & Easy Snack Duos

How do I feel about snacks? I believe that snacking can support your health; however, a snack should be something that supports your meal structure, not serve as a replacement for meals or as an opportunity to indulge on foods you wouldn’t necessarily include into a regular meal. In fact, snacks are kind of like mini-meals, continuing to be rooted in your basic food groups with the desire to satisfy hunger.

Meals provide opportunity for you to nourish yourself. To make the most of these opportunities, you want to make sure you are ready to eat at meals, but aren’t overly hungry. This is where snacking can play an important role. If hunger strikes in between meals, you should respond to it. Just like with meals, you want to utilize this opportunity to provide your body with what it needs. To do so, you may find it helpful to pair up two foods from different food groups to create a satisfying and sustaining snack.

If you aren’t quite sure what foods pair well together for snack time, here are eighteen of my favorites you might enjoy as well. Keep in mind that this isn’t an end-all-be-all kind of list. It’s just a starting point for you and your family.

18 Food Pairings Perfect for Snack Time

  1. Apples and peanut butter
  2. Clementines and string cheese
  3. Banana and yogurt
  4. Almonds and dried cranberries
  5. Cottage cheese and pepper strips
  6. Carrots and guacamole
  7. Whole wheat crackers and tuna
  8. Rice cake with strawberry slices and peanut butter
  9. English muffin topped with tomato and mashed avocado
  10. Tomato topped with mozzarella
  11. Applesauce and vanilla wafers
  12. A slice of whole wheat bread and peanut butter
  13. Homemade trail mix – raisins, peanuts and whole grain cereal
  14. Figs and cashews
  15. Whole grain waffle with cream cheese and blueberries
  16. Cheese cubes with pear slices
  17. Whole wheat tortilla with beans and salsa
  18. Whole wheat pita chips with hummus

Need More Fiber in Your Life? Here Are 5 Foods To Help (And Whole Wheat Pasta Isn’t One of Them!)

fiber rich foods

Fiber. It’s an important nutrient we all need to feel our best. But for many of us, knowing we need it isn’t enough. In fact, most Americans struggle to find and enjoy enough fiber-rich foods to meet their daily needs. In case your curious, women typically need between 21 and 25 grams each day while men need between 30 and 38 grams.

fiber rich foods

Fun fact: Most Americans, on average, only get about 15 grams of fiber each day.

Fiber can be beneficial to your meal plan for a variety of reasons – improved digestive health, reduced risk of certain cancers, and lower cholesterol levels – just to name a few. But what I love about fiber is the delicious food it’s often found in. These foods tend to contain other important nutrients too and, when incorporated consistently into your meals and snacks, may help you better regulate hunger and satisfy your appetite.

Now before you automatically envision cardboard-like bars, breads or pastas, keep in mind that these aren’t the only fiber-rich foods on the market. I hear all the time from clients that either they or members of family just can’t stomach the texture of these particular foods. Lucky for them, and you, it is possible to meet your daily fiber goals without these particular fiber-rich options.

Fiber can be found in many foods, but these are some of my favorite non-grain options.

Black Beans. Omelets, quesadillas, and on top of sweet potatoes are just a few of my favorite ways to enjoy black beans. And guess what? There are approximately 15 grams of fiber in each cup!

Artichokes. This may be a less familiar veggie for you and your family, but there are a lot of ways to creatively add it to your meals and snacks. As you discover ways to add it to you day, keep in mind that a medium artichoke will provide you with approximately 10 grams of fiber every time.

Raspberries. Although you’ll find fiber in a variety of fruits, raspberries pack a major fiber punch! One cup of raspberries will increase the fiber content of your meal or snack by about 8 grams.

Flax seed. Although 2 grams of fiber may seem small in comparison to the amounts other foods listed here provide, keep in mind that the serving size for ground flax seed is a lot smaller too. In just a tablespoon you’ll find those 2 grams of fiber and this can be easy enough to sprinkle on top of your favorite cereal, yogurt or smoothie.

Avocado. Another great way to top off your meal with fiber is to top it off with a few slices of avocado. Despite its softer texture, it’s actually another fiber powerhouse with 3 grams of fiber in each serving. And by the way, a serving is just 1/3 of an avocado – not the whole thing.  Doable right? And avocados are a great example of a food with multiple benefits per serving thanks to the 20+ nutrients it contains.

Related: Avocado and Turkey Breast English Muffin Sliders

Meeting fiber goals doesn’t have to be complicated. Get curious in the kitchen and begin exploring basic foods that allow you to feel your best both now and in the future.

5 In-Season Foods to Add to Your Basic Food List this September

With the change of season comes the opportunity to freshen up your basic food list. This fall, enjoy the taste of the season with a few foods at their peak this time of year.


Apples. It was only a few years ago that I realized apple orchards and cider mills aren’t common place in all states like they are Michigan. Every fall, my family goes to a cider mill and its become a quintessential mark of fall.
Best Ways to Prepare: Wash, slice and eat. Pair with your favorite nut butter or dip in yogurt.
Benefits: Apples up fiber and vitamin C in each crunchy bite. Plus, if you are a grown up, you only need to eat one medium sized apple to get half your days worth of fruit!

Apple Peanut Butter Waffles

Recipe: 5 Minute Apple Peanut Butter Waffles

Pumpkin. Have you joined in on the pumpkin craze yet? Although a pumpkin spice latte from your favorite coffee store may not be exactly what I’m talking about here, but pumpkins can be a great addition to your meal plan.
Best Ways to Prepare:
2 Methods for Cooking Pumpkins
Pumpkins aren’t just for decoration. Providing healthy doses of nutrients like vitamin A, fiber and folate, it’s a great addition to a variety of dishes. Even desserts can benefit from pumpkin! Consider using pumpkin puree to replace or offset fats often you may more regularly use in baking.

Cauliflower. My favorite way to enjoy cauliflower? Roasting it of course!
Best Way to Prepare: 10 Healthy Ways to Cook Cauliflower 
Benefits: Not only does roasting your cauliflower maximize flavor, but also preserves its texture. Waterlogged cauliflower? No thank you. And despite its color, cauliflower just happens to be one of the best sources of vitamin C. Antioxidants like vitamin C are particularly important this time of year when cold and flu peak.

Sweet potatoes. These babies are on my list all year long, but if you don’t regularly include them, now is the time.
Best Way to Prepare: How to Cook Sweet Potatoes 
Benefits: Sweet potatoes are low in calorie, rich in antioxidants and considered a complex carbohydrate. You’ll also find vitamin A, manganese, fiber and vitamin C in each sweet and savory bite.

Roasted Veggie Bowls

Recipe: Roasted Veggie Quinoa Bowls

Mushrooms. Mushrooms are another great add on to your fall menu. Mushrooms can be sauted and added to a variety of dishes. Get creative and enjoy the benefits they provide.
Best Way to Prepare: How to Cook Mushrooms on the Stovetop
Benefits: Mushrooms are one of the few foods available that naturally contain vitamin D. Like us, mushrooms produce their own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. During the winter months, it can be difficult for people to get enough sun to make sufficient amounts of vitamin D. Incorporating mushrooms into your meal plan is just one way to help boost levels. Mushrooms also contain other important nutrients like selenium, potassium, riboflavin and niacin.

5 In-Season Foods to Add to Your Basic Food List this August

5 Must Eat Foods To Add to Your Food List

The start of a new month means its time to look over our food list, adding in new foods try and possibly even taking some off the menu for awhile.

5 Must Eat Foods To Add to Your Food List

There are many benefits to frequently changing up your food list. Not only can it add a little excitement to your meal plan, but hopefully it will also provide you with more opportunity to get all the nutrients your body needs. After all, every food is different and offers up it’s own unique blend of nutrients necessary for good health.

If you aren’t quite sure what foods to add to your list this month, here are a few foods in-season here in Michigan that you may enjoy adding into your meal plan. These five in-season foods are favorites of mine and can add fun flavor and variety to your favorite summery meals.

Best ways to prepare:
How to Prepare a Cantaloupe (PopSugar)
The benefits:  Believe it or not, cantaloupe is very diverse in the nutrients it offers. Its an excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamin C, a very good source of potassium, and a good source of many B vitamins, vitamin K, magnesium and fiber. You’ll even find a little omega-3 fatty acids in there and a wealth of phytonutrients to boot!

Cantaloupe and Blackberry Parfait

This powerhouse hasn’t hit the research spotlight quite yet though. Given its great nutrient package, you can be sure its an asset to your diet this time of year.

Related Recipe: Blackberry and Cantaloupe Parfait

Best ways to prepare:
Give roasting it a try – its my favorite way to enjoy this versatile vegetable. Sauteing and steaming are two other great methods that will help retain the nutrients of this veggie too.
The benefits: Cauliflower has a subtler flavor than most veggies, making it an easy favorite at the dinner table. Most people can enjoy this veggie in some shape or form, and when they do, they are loading up on important antioxidantsand phytonutrients necessary to keep the body functioning at peak peformance.

Sweet Corn
Best ways to prepare: 3 Easy Ways to Cook Corn on the Cob (the Kitchn)
The benefits: Believe it or not, corn is a great addition to your diet. Because of it’s more starchy nature, it sometimes gets a bad wrap as a less-than-healthy sort of food, but in reality it has a lot to offer. Not only is corn rich in fiber, but it’s also loaded with nutrients that help promote healthy vision.

Best ways to prepare: How to Prepare a Plum (Jamie Oliver’s You Tube Channel)
The benefits: Plums are another flavorful fruit that can help your meal plan stay fresh and flavorful during the dog days of summer. Because of their rich vitamin C content, they’ll help you better absorb iron. Their soluble fiber can also help regulate blood sugar and help your meal feel more satisfying. Thanks plums!

Black Bean and Feta Cheese Quesadillas with a Peach Plum and Avocado Salsa

Related Recipe: Black Bean and Feta Quesadillas with Peach Plum and Avocado Salsa

Best ways to prepare:
How to Cook Tomatoes (Better Homes and Gardens)
The benefits: When you think tomato, you really should be thinking health. Tomatoes are rich in nutrition – from traditional vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum, and potassium, to a vast array of phytonutrients, tomatoes are a wellness powerhouse. Studies have shown that when you eat tomatoes, good things happen – promoting heart health, bone health, and reducing cancer risk, incorporating tomatoes into your day is, for most people, a really good idea.

This August, consider rotating in at least one or two of these foods into your regular rotation of foods. Not only will it help keep your meals interesting, but it will ensure you continue to get a good mix of nutrients your body needs.



How to Create a Basic Food List

Let’s stop planning meals and start building them instead. To do so, you need foods that work well in a variety of ways. Do you know what foods you need to build successful meals? If not, you may benefit from creating your own basic food list.

Creating Your Healthy Food List

The essentials.  What are your go-to meals? We all have them – those meals that consistently greet us no matter how busy our schedule gets. Whether its spaghetti and meatballs (which just happens to be one of mine) or Filet mignon (not one of mine!), we all have meals we turn to time and time again.

This means we have go-to foods as well, but we often fail to think about our meals in that way. These go-to foods are the essential elements necessary to create meals you enjoy. By breaking down our meals into their food components, we can create a list of foods we need to stock our kitchen with. We may even be able to identify ways to modify or enhance our regularly occurring meals by incorporating new foods to the mix.

When we break it down, our food list is where potential lies, where real meal magic happens. Because without our go-to foods, we don’t really have meals to speak of.

The Basics. As you are creating your food list, I’m hoping that some of the basics will pop up on your list more than once. Okay, what I’m really hoping for is that they pop up A LOT. 

Not quite sure what the basics are? The “basics” are foods that fit within the five basic food groups – fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and lean proteins. These are the true essentials – the foods providing your body with lots of nutrients, flavor, and variety. They should be showing up pretty frequently in your meal plan – like 80% of the time. They don’t necessarily have to be the only foods you eat, BUT they should provide the structure of your plan.

My Essential Foods. Instead of having several go-to meals in my regular rotation, I like to have between three to five different foods from each food group to start from.

My basics (1)

This ensures I always have the ingredients I need to keep meals nourishing and simple. Of course, this list doesn’t always stay the same, but it is a nice starting point to ensure more of my meals are eaten at home.

How to Build Your Own Food List. Ready to build your own food list? You can use my starter list as a launching point, but in order for your meals to be successful, use the following guidelines to help create a food list that works specifically for you.

  • Keep Seasonality in Mind. One of the reasons my food list doesn’t always stay the same is because I try to eat with the seasons. This can be a great way to add variety to your plate, save money, and experiment with new foods. Building your food list with seasonality in mind can also increase the likelihood that you’ll find the foods you need in the grocery store or at your local farmer’s market.
  • Be True to your Palate. Not every food that’s good for you will be an automatic hit for you or your family. And guess what? That’s okay. Be sure to build your food list with your preferences in  mind. But please make sure you are always leaving a little bit of room to give new foods or foods you haven’t eaten in a while a chance. You’d be surprised how many foods you disliked as child are actually appealing to your taste buds as an adult. Or how much a different cooking method, preparation technique, or the addition of  a certain spice or seasoning can change the way you approach a food. Always keep an open mind – pretty pretty please!
  • Remember why you’re eating in the first place. This may seem silly, but sometimes when we’re so focused on creating a list of foods we “should” eat, we forget that we should also be enjoying our foods in the first place. It’s important to work in foods that you love in addition to the foods you know are good for you. I like to think of this as balance. Balancing out your plate so that you have a good mix of foods that make your meal worth eating. This is also why starting your list with a few of your current meals in mind can be a great place to start.
  • Consult your physician or registered dietitian. Building a food list may also require consulting with your physician or registered dietitian, especially if you have special dietary needs or a medical condition that might require you to eat a certain way. Meeting up with a registered dietitian, like myself, may also help you identify new ways to enjoy nutrient-rich foods or approach food in a positive way.

Want more inspiration? I love this ultimate grocery-list-for-one registered dietitian Dana Angelo White put together over on Greatist. Be sure to check out! And if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter – you’ll get my pantry starter kit download for FREE when you do!