Snack food. What comes to mind when you hear that? Cookies? Chips? Ice cream? Anything in a bag that rattles or that is covered in chocolate? Surely, you can do better than that. I would like to challenge you to steer clear of those machines loaded with colorful lures that hook you into breaking the diet, or otherwise compromise your good health. In place of those packaged, factory-made morsels of ill health, consider the following options.
You don’t even have to cut them up, anymore. If money is no option, you can purchase tubs of cut-up vegies in the produce section of your grocery just for snacking. If you need to pinch your pennies, cut up your own tubs and keep in the refrigerator for a quick snack. If you are on the go a lot, or have small children that like to help themselves, divvy up the vegies into little zip-shut snack bags. Then, when you are heading out the door, grab a baggie or two for the road. A few that keep well for snacking are:
- Green beans
Keep a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter for a healthy sweet treat. Fresh fruit is always a better choice than fruit canned in heavy syrup. If you can your own fruit when in season, cut the syrup. I use the recipe for thin syrup and then cut the sugar that in half yet again. It makes no difference to the final quality. Also, when I can applesauce, I choose Golden Delicious apples. These apples are so sweet, no added sugar is necessary. Whole fruit is another good choice for those people on the go. Who needs a something out of the vending machine when they have an apple in their bag?
Don’t go buy the trail mix with the chocolate candies in it. Go to a store that sells bulk groceries and buy the ingredients for your trail mix and mix at home. Some great suggestions are nuts, dried fruit, coconut flakes, Cheerios or Chex cereal pieces, and sunflower seeds. Having a healthy combination of protein and carbohydrates is suggested. Again, this is something you can divvy up into snack baggies or small containers for individual servings.
Cheese and Crackers
If you want a protein snack, don’t reach for the Snickers bar. Ounce for ounce, a slice of cheddar cheese gives you more protein than the peanuts in that candy. Cheese also has the staying power you will want for the afternoon slump, too.
Not only is yogurt high in calcium (about 100 mg. per cup), it provides the pro-biotics that our digestive system needs. Also, making your own yogurt is easy and fun if you learn to do it in a cooler. If you have access to raw milk, your homemade yogurt will have many more health benefits than that purchased from the store.
What about you? What kinds of healthy snacks do you keep on hand? I’d love to have you share your ideas with us in the comments.
Photo by JennaPrete