BY BONNIE R. GILLER
Special to the NTH
February is National Snack Food Month and now is the perfect time to learn about snacks you can make at home. Making healthier snack choices simply requires some thought and preparation, and as a bonus, can be less expensive and gives you the chance to be creative.
What comes to mind when you hear the word “snack”? Do you think of unhealthy, salty or sugary foods? Most people associate the word snack with an unhealthy food choice because foods marketed as “snack foods” are typically processed foods laden with excess calories, fat and sodium.
According to Dictonary.com, the definition of a snack is “a small amount of food eaten between meals.” Nowhere does it say a snack has to be unhealthy. A snack can be healthy, homemade food that you enjoy.
Here are eight snacks you can make at home:
- Fruit and dip. Cut up strawberries, apples, pears and grapes and pair them with low-fat, plain Greek yogurt. The combination of fruit and yogurt will keep you full before your next meal.
- Trail mix. Make your own trail mix to know exactly what is in there. Combine unsalted almonds, walnuts and/or pistachios with dried raisins or cranberries and dark chocolate chips for the perfect snack.
3.Veggies and hummus. Chop up celery, carrots, peppers or cucumbers and pair them with any flavor hummus. You can buy prepackaged hummus to keep it simple, but you can also make it yourself. Blend chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor until very smooth, one to two minutes. Viola!
4.Sweet potato chips. Slice a sweet potato into thin, circular slices. Toss the slices with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 300 F for 40 minutes for crispy chips.
5.Stovetop popcorn. Make and season your own popcorn for the perfect whole-grain snack. Check out my article on how to make and season your own popcorn.
6.Roasted chickpeas. Coat chickpeas with olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes for a crispy, delectable snack.
7. Steamed edamame. Add fresh or frozen edamame to boiling water and cook for ~5 minutes. Drain and toss with a little bit of sea salt for the perfect snack to munch on.
8. Celery or apples with peanut butter. This is a classic homemade snack that never goes out of style. Pair cut celery or apples with reduced-fat peanut, almond or cashew butter for a filling snack.
Whether you choose to make your own snack or buy one, it is important to practice moderation and mindful eating for a balanced diet.