As a Duke University Hospital dietetic intern who also happens to be lactose intolerant, Lauren Littmann is in the unique position of really needing to know her stuff when it comes to lactose-free options. So when she recently tweeted at us, “My favorite source of probiotics. Fermented milk, y’all #happygut” alongside a pic of our blueberry kefir, we knew that we wanted to reach out to her and hear what else she had to say.
As it turns out, Littman was first introduced to Lifeway Kefir by a dietitian friend and quickly became a repeat customer. “Probiotics are so important, but the challenge for me is that I’m lactose intolerant, so eating yogurt and other dairy products gives me a hard time.” But, because Lifeway Kefir is up to 99% lactose-free, Littman says she is able to enjoy it without concern. (That said, she points out that a broad spectrum of lactose intolerance exists, and she recommends experimenting to see what works for you.)
One of her favorite snacks for powering through a day of studying:
A smoothie made with a cup of blueberry kefir, a frozen banana and some peanut butter. “Snack times are great opportunities to get extra servings of fruits and vegetables,” Littman explains. Research repeatedly shows that the more fruits and non-starchy veggies you consume, the less likely you are to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or a host of other chronic diseases, and the less apt you are to gain weight.
With that in mind, here are a few of Littman’s top-rated energizing snacks, each of which incorporates a fruit or veggie:
“They have endless opportunities for toppings – hummus and cucumber slices, cream cheese with dill and cucumber, cottage cheese and mandarin oranges, apples slices on top of the nut butter of your choice.” If you’re feeling indulgent, you can even use a chocolate-hazelnut spread!
“I like hummus as a snack because it’s so versatile. You can dip any type of veggie into hummus – cucumbers, celery, cherry tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and grilled veggies (zucchini and squash for example),” explains Littman. A wrap filled with low sodium turkey, slathered with some hummus, and stuffed with peppers, lettuce, and tomato (or any veggies you enjoy) is another way to enjoy the garbanzo bean-based spread.
For a salty and sweet combination, try almonds, cashews and dried cranberries. Enjoy with a banana on the side.
Dark chocolate and an orange
Littman loves “the combination of the bitterness of the chocolate and the sweetness of the orange.” It’s the perfect treat for when those chocolate cravings hit.
The quotation marks are there because these aren’t cookies in the true sense of the word. Littman mashes up an overripe banana with oats, almond butter and chocolate chips, then places spoonfuls of the mixture on a greased baking sheet and bakes them at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. “They’re easy to make, have only four ingredients, and I usually have all of these ingredients on hand. They are a great snack for any time of the day and are very nutrient dense. I’ll eat them to satisfy a sweet tooth at night, as a snack between meals, or as a pre or post workout snack.” Bonus: These “cookies” are easy to carry when you’re on the go.
Follow Lauren Littman on Twitter @laurenlittmann.