Around the holidays, things get crazy. It can be hard to take care of yourself between last-minute decorating and shopping, needing to cook special foods, wrapping presents, visiting people, hosting guests and extra errands! We often find ourselves turning toward snacks rather than meals. And frequently gravitate toward the easiest snacks rather than the most healthy.
The good news is, one of the easiest snacks is also one of the best! Ants on a log is a recipe most of us ate as children. It’s just peanut butter, celery and raisins. It’s thought to date from the 1950s. And perhaps it is seen as dated, as it’s not a popular snack with kids today. Some kids we’ve spoken to have never even heard of it! We’re glad we grew up in a time when it was a typical snack.
While dried fruit can be a problem for blood sugar, the combination of peanut butter and celery is very healthy. A five-inch stick of celery with a tablespoon of peanut butter has 96 calories, four grams of carbs, 1.6 grams of fiber, eight grams of fat and four grams of protein. The high amount of protein, presence of healthy fat and excellent ratio of carbs to fiber make this a powerhouse of a snack! It also has 15 percent of your niacin, 13 percent of your manganese, 11 percent of your copper, seven percent of your magnesium and six percent of your vitamin B6. The combo also contains folate, phosphorus, vitamins E and K and zinc. That is a healthy bite. Be sure to pick a peanut butter that is low in sugar. Some brands contain significantly more than others.
The mix of protein, fiber and healthy fat can help you feel full and aid in weight loss. Celery is very low in calories but high in water and has a low calorie density, meaning it can also help you lose weight. It keeps you hydrated and physically full while not having much to digest. And, if you are looking to improve your sleep schedule to help weight loss, it could be a good evening treat for you. Peanut butter is high in tryptophan — the sleepy chemical that turkey is famous for.
There is the myth that celery is a “negative calorie food” that is so low in calories it takes more calories to burn than it contains. The story goes that simply eating it will make you lose weight as it forces your body to work harder. The Mayo Clinic has said that it might be true in theory, but there isn’t any evidence to back it up. Also, in this snack you are pairing it with peanut butter. When working out the nutritional value at home, don’t subtract the celery from the total — it does count. But, it’s all part of a healthy diet.
This holiday season, when things are getting hectic, and you need a snack, make yourself a few sticks of celery with peanut butter. It will give you plenty of energy to face your tasks. Filled with nutrients and protein, fiber and beneficial fat, you’ll feel great and less weighed down than you would with something processed. And, best of all, it takes less than a minute to make!