This was a subject I have thought much about as we like to eat healthfully and we are a family that loves to snack. There have been times that I nearly want to pull my hair our when I would hear the "What can I have for a snack?" many times throughout the day. Throughout the years I have tried a lot of different things but we do continue to come back to some snacks over and over.
Something I am looking for in snacks is something that has some nutritional value (it doesn't have to be perfect every time but I want at least some redeeming value in eating it), is easy to prepare and it isn't terribly expensive.
Here are some of our old stand-bys:
- Sliced Apples that we dip in peanut butter. Right now it is apple season around here and my parents have lots of apple trees that have lots of apples and they have been sharing with us. We are so blessed!
- Popcorn with butter and nutritional/brewers yeast on it.
- Homemade bread with butter and honey or homemade jam. I made whole wheat bread once a week and we love it fresh but we also enjoy it later. Sometimes the kids will toast it for their snack.
- Toast with cream cheese, sunflower seeds and cucumbers or sprouts on it. All of my kids love this but it is a treat as we don't always keep cream cheese on hand.
- Healthy cookies. This means that they are made with whole wheat flower and quite possibly oatmeal and that they sugar has been either drastically reduced or replaced altogether with honey. I also will at times add raisins, squash or zucchini to the cookies to give additional nutritional value.
- Crisp - this is more often a breakfast or a dessert but if their are leftovers then it becomes snack too. Jonathan made a apple crisp today (pictured above) for our evening snack. It is nice because though it is a sweet it does also have lots of fruit and whole grains in it. They are also quick and simple to make. Here is our recipe: Jonathan cored and cut up (we don't bother with peeling) about 1 gallon of apples to which he added 1/2 cup sugar, 1 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. nutmeg and 2 T. flour. He stirred that up and put it in a cake pan. Then in that same bowl he mixed up 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup sugar and then cut in one stick (1/2 cup) butter. That mixture then goes on top of the apples in the pan and you put it in the over to bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
I have a funny story from last night about snacking. I took my girls to a Bright Lights meeting and all the attendees were asked to bring a snack to share. Megan ate some snacks but later when asked how she liked the event her comment was that it was okay but the snacks were way too sweet. She took a cupcake and she didn't want to waste it (so she didn't) but she had a hard time eating it because it was so sweet. It reminded me of how much I bake differently than many people and how my kids have learned to prefer that. We don't need super sweet stuff - we just train ourselves to want that but if we work on training our taste buds (and you can do this training gradually) to appreciate subtle sweetness then they will do that and then the super sweet stuff will just be overwhelming.
I wrote another post about non-sugary snacks this year with ideas and then there were a lot of ideas added in the comments too. Feel free to take a look at that.
I would love to hear your favorite healthy snacks!