Guilt-Free Latin Snacks
If you’re reaching for a snack, grab one of these 5 guilt-free options.
September can be busy, and that often means one terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing: snacking! Lots and lots of snacking.
The good news is that snacking doesn't have to correlate with buying bigger jeans (there is such a thing as healthy snacking). You know what I mean – snacks that don't make you feel guilty. Snacks you can get away with overeating. Okay, fine, snacks that let you stuff your face with nary a worry about buttoning your pants tomorrow.
And if you're thinking healthy snacking is just a euphemism for snacks that take more time to prepare than to eat, then take heart. The following nibbles whip up fast and in large batches, so you can steal bites throughout the week. ¡Buen provecho! (Enjoy!)
1. Pico de Gallo (but Hold the Chips)
There are few things tastier than homemade pico de gallo: juicy tomatoes, spicy garlic, crunchy onions and fresh lime and cilantro, ready for scooping. Keep it guilt-free by swapping the chips for fresh veggies; the curve of sliced bell peppers makes for perfect scooping, and celery, cucumbers and carrots are also tasty.
Bonus: If you're bored with traditional salsa, explore alternatives like pineapple and mango salsa. Yum!
Picadillo comes in about a million variations, depending on your country of origin, but the basic premise is this: chopped vegetables, stewed with savory flavors and a bit of meat, stacked atop rice or tortillas. If you're looking for a picadillo you can enjoy with abandon, choose a low-calorie base like zucchini and add in just a bit of beef for flavor. Swap lettuce leaves for tortillas and you can eat as much as you'd like.
Ocean-fresh ceviche – raw fish that’s "cooked" in lemon juice and an array of herbs and savory veggies – is a staple on many Latin-American tables. If you don't love fish (or the idea of raw fish), sub in cooked shrimp or other seafood. And if that doesn't tempt your palate, give alternate ceviches a try. Some popular choices incorporate plantains or green bananas, but you can throw in any fruit or vegetable that sounds tasty.
4. Green Mango
If you've never tried a "green" (less-than-ripe) mango, you're in for a treat. The sturdy fruit is easy to peel and slice, and the flesh is crisp, refreshing and only mildly sweet (reminiscent of a Granny Smith apple). Top with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt, and you'll have yourself a low-calorie, high-flavor snack.
5. Fresh Fruit
Fresh, juicy fruit is oh-so-tasty and packs a lot of belly-filling bulk into relatively few calories. Go full-on Latin with tropical favorites like pineapple, mango, star fruit and papaya. If you're watching your diet closely, steer clear of bananas in favor of waistline-friendly rose apples, watermelon, grapefruit, strawberries, and honeydew.
Bonus: Toss your favorites with some nonfat Greek yogurt, or blend and freeze into ice pops.
Tell us your favorite healthy(ish) snack that gets you through the day!