It’s around 4 p.m., you’re at your desk, and you didn’t have the time or foresight to eat a decent-sized healthy lunch (which ideally should be the largest meal of the day, but in practice tends to be a difficult meal for many people to work into their schedules). Dinner is still a long way off. Your tank is empty and your energy is low. Do you grab a) crackers, b) chips, 3) a sugary processed granola bar, or 4) something even junkier?
How about hummus? You may think of hummus only as a party dip, and even in that context you might ignore it because it’s competing with a lot of flashier hors d’oeuvres made with cheese and puff pastry. Given half a chance, though, hummus makes a perfect snack -- delicious, satisfying, and remarkably healthy.
Instead of reaching for something sweet in the afternoon, try cut-up carrots, raw cauliflower, red bell peppers, and/or celery dipped in hummus. If you don’t have any raw vegetables, you can even dip those aforementioned crackers or chips. The protein, fiber, and healthy fat in hummus will fill you up and help keep your blood sugar from spiking, as it would do if you simply munched on processed carbs.
I admit I usually take the easy way out and just buy hummus in the grocery store -- I’m partial to the roasted red pepper variety -- but I also make my own from time to time, and it’s a snap. The advantage to homemade hummus is no preservatives, which are unfortunately found in many commercial brands.
Hummus freezes well, so why not double the recipe, portion it out into little containers, and stash in the freezer? It's there when you want it, and no preservatives required.
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
1 Tb. tahini (sesame paste, usually found in the peanut butter aisle)
2 Tb. olive oil
2 Tb. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Put everything in a food processor and blend until smooth, adding enough of the reserved liquid to give it a soft consistency.
Variation: For roasted red pepper hummus, add 1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers (from a jar) before blending.