Here are some ideas for trimming calories and sugar while still providing ready-to-eat snacks. With careful shopping and a little planning ahead, you can be the caregiver in the know!
1. If your situation calls for the familiar fudge and cookie scene, consider the size of servings. Make your fudge thinner and cut smaller cubes. Making other candies and cookies, do the same. This really will make a huge difference for those who just grab a cookie or two as they pass the dish!
2. Consider pop corn as an alternative. Use air-popped corn and drizzle with almond bark while still hot. You can add sliced almonds, crushed peppermint pieces, or chopped dried fruit pieces for variety. Experiment with herbs or cheeses like Parmesan sprinkled on warm popcorn.
3. Keep veggies handy in the refrigerator. Celery sticks with cream cheese or peanut butter make a great snack. Use a low calorie dip or yogurt for your carrot sticks, broccoli, and cauliflower.
4. Don’t forget to use dairy products. Cheese cubes or cheese sticks are a good snack providing calcium and protein. Boiled eggs are another good item to have on hand as a quick snack without adding unwanted calories.
5. Chips are a popular snack but can provide too much sodium and fats. Look for some fabulous newer products such as humus chips (try them before you snub your nose!) or reduced sodium varieties. Note: reduced fat products often have increased sodium so read the labels before buying. Consider fresh salsa as a nutritious dip.
Here are a couple of bonus tips I have found most helpful for our family. First, use foods that take longer to eat; such as an orange that has to be peeled first or nuts that have to be cracked.
The second tip goes with number one above: smaller servings. Think smaller servings in all your snacks like individual pudding or fruit cups or mini tarts with fruit.
Another simple way to cut calories is to use almond bark and add toasted almonds or sunflower seeds and chopped dried fruit. Spread thin and break into small pieces when cool. Soothes the sweet tooth with fewer calories with the addition of nutritious fruit and nuts.
Have a great holiday as you care for others; let me hear your ideas.