I’m just going to say it…it’s time to take back the afternoon snack! My sweet tooth can be a powerful and convincing driver in my snack choices, but honestly, packaged cookies aren’t snacks. They’re desserts and make for an occasional special snack, but not a wise everyday option.
Not surprisingly, for energetic, on-the-move kids and adults, snacks can be just as important as meals and provide another opportunity to pack nutrition into a day. Whenever possible, it's ideal to substitute a whole food option like fresh veggies and fruits or nuts and seeds, for conventional, packaged foods.
Turn Temptation Into Terrific Snacks
Chips and sodas and candy…oh my! Sometimes the good-for-you snacks don’t call your name as loudly as the not-so-good-for-you ones do. Luckily there are plenty of ways and reasons to choose whole foods over highly processed foods with artificial additives when snack time rolls around. Here are a few salty, sweet and sparkling good and tasty alternatives to everyday cravings:
Flip the chip. When you’re drawn to conventional flavored potato chips but want to avoid anything fried in sunflower or corn oil, or with artificial flavors and MSG, open a bag of 365 Everyday Value® flavored potato chips instead. Better yet, choose 365 Everyday Value® flavored baked potato chips for minimal fat and salt. Best option: try air-popped popcorn spritzed with Bragg Liquid Aminos and tossed with nutritional yeast. There’s no oil and minimal sodium with this choice.
Conventional gummies worming their way into your day? Instead, look for fruit juice sweetened versions and avoid artificial colors and flavors and added sugar. Or try 365 Everyday Value® fruit strips which are made with real fruit, juice and fruit extracts. Best option: reaching for fresh fruit or our bulk dried fruit with no added sugar. (Remember, our Quality Standards prohibit added sulfites in dried fruit.)
Raise the (granola) bar! Not all bars are made the same, so look for brands with no hydrogenated fats, no high fructose corn syrup and no artificial preservatives. Better yet, try fruit and nut snack bars that feature real fruit, seeds and nuts, no added sugar or fats and no artificial preservatives. Best option: fix your own granola bars or trail mix. Choose raw or dry-roasted nuts and seeds and fruit with no added sugar or oil.
Not-so-sweet side of soda. Watch out for conventional sodas with artificial colors and flavors, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweetener and phosphoric acid. Instead, opt for 365 Everyday Value® Natural Soda and avoid artificial colors, artificial flavors and high fructose corn syrup. Better yet, pour 100% juice soda or sparkling juice and get the nutritional benefits of real juice with no added sugar. Best option: drink homemade sparkling juice. By combining 100% juice with sparkling water, you’ll get the nutritional benefits of real juice with no artificial anything and no added sugar. Bottoms up!
Desserts that don’t make you scream. A carton of artificial flavors and high fructose corn syrup doesn’t sound like a sweet treat does it? Instead of conventional ice cream, pick 365 Everyday Value® ice cream for a satisfying bowl of no artificial anything and no high fructose corn syrup. Plus, the milk is from cows not given added hormones (rBST). For an even better option, look for non-fat frozen yogurt with zero or little fat. Best option: make a creamy banana smoothie at home. Using a frozen banana, almond butter and non-dairy milk, you’ll avoid anything artificial and get the nutritional benefits of a whole food.
I’ve added a number of these nutritious options to my arsenal in a battle to take back snack time. Plus I have a few favorites that even my toddler asks (yes, asks) for like apple slices with peanut butter or almond butter rolled in granola or muesli. I’ve also just discovered a no-bake recipe for instant apple crisp that’s quick and easy to make with my daughter. With these simple and tasty snack solutions just an arm’s reach away, the calls from the cookies in the back of the pantry have quieted down some.
Kid-Friendly Instant Apple Crisp
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup granola
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Put applesauce, granola and cinnamon into a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for a few minutes, serve and enjoy!
What healthy snacks call your name when you’re craving something sweet or salty? I’d love to hear about more easy and delicious options.