I am a snacker. I always have been and I always will be. I have had a bedtime snack each night for as long as I can remember, and I don’t see that ending anytime soon. Besides night time, I snack all day – I pretty much graze. Like a cow. I like snacks to be easy, to have them ready – so when the feeling comes over me, I can just grab one. I have a list of easy ones – that are fairly healthy and don’t involve just opening up a bag of candy or ripping open a package of chips.
This is a snack my cousin and I enjoyed when we lived together. We would each get a bowl and on one side we would put a lump of peanut butter – for this snack, we used the crunchy kind – and on the other side, we would use a portion of jelly – and for this, for some reason we always used strawberry jelly. The go to dippers were either pretzel rods, or those honey wheat pretzels – the ones that are a bit thicker, and don’t break as easy. It was a nice alternative to ranch or French onion dip. It would be even healthier if we used all-fruit spread or low-sugar jelly – but usually we did not.
A quick snack (though you almost have to “cook” it) is cinnamon toast. You would toast two slices of whatever bread you like, and then once done – butter them, with as much as you feel like having. While the butter is still warm and melty, get out a jar of cinnamon sugar and sprinkle on both pieces. If you want to make them a bit more fancy, you can cut them into wedges, triangles, long slices – whatever you want. I have found that the more odd the shape, the more of a treat these seem to be – rather than just eating them like a regular piece of toast.
I like to have Pasta Salad on hand. I usually make this with the tri-color rotini noodles. Lately I have used actual spinach noodles and noodles made from carrots and tomatoes to perk up the healthy. And for the third color, I have been using whole wheat or protein pasta. It’s very simple but it is very good. These pastas get boiled and drained, and depending on what I have in the house – I will put in some grated carrots and shredded cheese. I toss it lightly with some Italian dressing and let it chill. Pasta is always a treat to me, and making it this way makes me feel less guilty about eating it – because it really IS healthy this way.
A party treat to me is Deviled Eggs. Yet there is no reason to wait for a party to have these. They are pretty easy to make and have some on hand in the refrigerator. All you have to do is hard boil a few eggs. Peel them, and slice them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and put them in a bowl. Chop the yolks, mixing with mayonnaise, mustard, some seasonings. Make this mixture smooth, and then spoon it back into the egg halves. I usually sprinkle paprika on top – for decoration. My mother always did them this way, and now I do too. I usually do six eggs which gives me twelve halves – just enough to have without getting tired of them.
I like peanut butter roll ups. The way I make them is to first take off the crusts from pieces of (usually white) bread. I will roll the bread flat, with a rolling pin if I feel like getting it out – if not, I’ll just use one of our pint beer glasses. Once flat, I will lightly cover the bread with a thin layer of peanut butter and then a thin layer of jelly. And then – I just roll them. I try to do them tight. If you put too much peanut butter or too much jelly, you’ll get a mess. You can either leave them in one long roll up, or chop them up into bite-size pieces. Tastes delicious either way.
Another good, easy snack is trail mix. I custom make mine from time to time, though I have also bought pre-made. You can create a trail mix that is really healthy or not too healthy – it is up to you. Most of the time, mine comes out more like a middle of the road mix. I like to use Cheerios as an almost-base. I will include some raisins and maybe some peanuts. If I have chocolate chips, I’ll put those in as well. For some salt, I might break up some pretzel sticks or throw in some of those little goldfish. And that’s about it. I usually don’t have seeds on hand, thought I know they are included in a lot of trail mixes. It’s fun to use yogurt-covered raisins or craisins, or for color – you can use M&M’s. I’ll make up a batch of this, and then maybe put them into little individual baggies so they’re easy to grab and go.
The other day I went to Dollar Tree and they had a large box of Fruit Loop-type cereal. I don’t each much cereal, and even when I did, when I used to – I never liked these with milk. I do however like them as snacks. I did the same with the Fruit Loops that I do with the trail mix – I made snack size bags of them so they are also easy to grab and go. This isn’t totally unhealthy, as even sugar-filled cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Frozen fresh fruit is good – take a bunch of grapes and freeze them. They are fun to eat when frozen – you can make a game out of eating the skin/peels off them as you eat them and they melt. You can also peel a banana, make banana circles and freeze them too. It takes a lot longer to eat frozen fruit than it does to eat fresh fruit. Your snacks last longer this way.
Have a bag of stick pretzels at your disposal. You can have a bunch of them, a decent size portion for not that many calories. With a glass of water (or diet soda, if that’s what you drink) you can get filled up fairly quickly – maybe saving you from eating things that would end up being worse for you.
I also recommend having microwave popcorn on hand. Lately I have been enjoying Kettle Corn. I like the combination of both salty and sweet. You can eat the whole bag – you’ll be full for not a lot of guilt.
There is always a jar of salsa in my refrigerator. Salsa goes good with any kind of chips you have laying around. It even tastes good with plain old Saltines. You can make some rice in the microwave, add some salsa when it’s done, sprinkle some shredded cheddar on and have a quick Spanish/Mexican snack. There are so many different varieties available – I usually resort to plain old mild, or maybe medium. Maybe.
What snacks do you like? What ideas can I try next?