60-Second Snack

Today flew by and somehow it’s already 6 p.m., but I wanted to share a quick and healthy snack I’ve been eating lately. Not only is it high in protein, fiber and antioxidants, but this super-easy combo satisfies my cravings for something a little salty and it makes a great filling but low-calorie bridge between lunch and dinner. It’s portable, too, so you can mix up a batch in the morning and take it to work where you’ll appreciate it when your stomach starts growling at 3:00. Not only that, but the carb/protein ratio of 2.5:1 makes this a pretty ideal post-workout snack. What am I talking about? Beans and salsa!

Oh, come on – don’t look so deflated. If you haven’t tried it before, then you don’t know how good it is. We’ve all had beans and salsa in a burrito, but when you strip away all the bad stuff (processed carbs in the tortilla and white rice, fat in the guacamole and sour cream) what you’re left with is not only a super-clean snack, it’s a surprisingly delicious one.

For the best health benefits, choose low-sodium varieties of salsa and canned beans, or boil up a batch of dried beans at the beginning of the week and work them into your meals and snacks throughout the week. (I don’t know why people think this is a lot of work, the active time is literally only 3 minutes.) I do a combo of 1 cup of cooked beans and 2 Tbsp of salsa. Black beans are an obvious choice, but black eyed peas, pinto, kidney and even navy beans are also great. Each bean offers its own subtle flavor nuances, and there’s practically no limit to your choices when it comes to salsas. Play around with different combinations and find a few you love. Of course, you’ll want to eat this snack with a spoon, and not with tortilla chips, because that would defeat the purpose, right?

Here’s the nutrition information for 1 cup of kidney beans (boiled without salt) and 2 Tbsp of my favorite brand of commercial salsa:

Calories: 225
Carbs: 40 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Fat: 0 grams
Fiber: 11 grams
Sugars: 1 gram
Sodium: 152 grams

Mix and enjoy. It’s really that easy!

(Nutrition info from MyFitnessPal.)

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