Choosing Healthy Snacks
Healthy Snack Foods
'MOM! I’m hungry!' While these words are a regular occurrence in our house, while junk food appearing in the pantry is not, which doesn’t always make snack time so simple with two kids and junk food-a-holic husband. I won’t even bring up the troops that pass through our house during the course of the afternoon, with each kid wanted to know what there is to eat.
We have our regular snack staples of whole wheat pretzels, raisins, seasonal fruit, whole grain cereal bars, popcorn, cut up vegetables with dips like humus or low fat ranch, cheese, yogurt, and even hard boiled eggs. I only bake when we have special company coming, so occasionally we have whole wheat oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip cookies, or some other baked goodie made in a more healthful manner like corn or carrot muffins.
Mix different things together in snack size bags for variety. Trail mix is fun, and an easy snack food everyone can make their own. Mix raisins, almonds, pretzels, popcorn, dried apples, banana chips, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dried cherries or cranberries, cashews, even good quality dark chocolate chips. I know a mother of eight who would occasionally throw in a few jelly beans as a once in a while surprise for her kids. Put everything out on the table and let the kids make their own snack bags.
PB&J on whole grain bread using all natural peanut butter (or cashew or almond butter) and all fruit spread is always a healthy snack winner. Another good choice would be a cup of apple slices and tablespoon of peanut butter. At 140 calories you get protein, fiber and B vitamins from the peanut butter and fiber, potassium, and Vitamin C from the apple.
Celery, carrot, and pepper sticks, cucumber slices, broccoli and cauliflower florets, cherry tomatoes, and snap peas and green beans make great snack foods. Serve them with humus, low fat ranch, or another favorite low fat dressing. If you don’t have time to wash, peel, slice, and cut daily make enough for a few days at a time and store them in containers in the fridge. Another bonus of having them ready to eat is people open the fridge looking for something to eat and there is a bowl of carrot sticks calling their name.
Keywords: healthy snack food, snack size, snack option, trail mix
If you like to bake with your kids make by all means make muffins, fruit bars, cookies and other goodies with them. Substitute half or more of the flour called for in a recipe with whole wheat flour. Whole wheat flour is heavier than white flour so things don’t always come out as fluffy. For some recipes, like brownies, drop cookies and bar cookies you can use all whole wheat flour. Use applesauce or other pureed fruits in place of half the oil. Omit part of the sugar called for, can leave out a good quarter of a cup for every cup called for in a recipe and they usually taste better that way. If you make muffins, unless you are serving them to company and need it for presentation, leave off the streusel topping, it just adds more calories.
There is 100% white whole wheat flour, which can be substituted for regular white flour with little or no change in taste and texture. It can be found with the rest of the flours in the baking aisle.
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup milk, or soy milk, or apple juice, or plain yogurt
2 teaspoons baking powder
Mix everything thoroughly in a medium mixing bowl. Line a muffin pan with muffin cups. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.
Nice additions include corn kernels, chopped pecans, dried cranberries, chopped green chili peppers, cheddar cheese, or chopped pimentos.
Nutritional information per muffin: 119.91 calories, 4.667 grams fat, 0.58 grams saturated fat, 18.667mg cholesterol, 160.667mg sodium, 17.54 grams carbohydrates, 1.95 grams fiber, 2.49 grams sugar, 3.4 grams protein.