Saturday, March 08, 2008

Snack Attack!

Healthy, minimally processed snack ideas came up somewhere recently (I tried to recall where, but alas, I cannot). I no longer buy packaged snack foods, except for occasional bags of locally made tortilla chips and boxes of graham crackers (which I am determined to make at home...I even have the right flour). Right now, there are no packaged snacks in our house. Wow. I had to think about that for a minute--I hadn't realized how completely we have dropped the habit. I buy nuts, seeds, dried fruit in bulk. When the kids come to me wanting a snack on the run, I usually give them a bowl of dried fruit and nuts. Lucasaurus likes pretzels, too, and I buy those in bulk as well.

We make "Sweetie Pies," little granola cookies baked in the bottom of a muffin tin, so they're kinda pie-shaped. These are messy but fun to make with the kids, as they can smoosh the butter, oats, sugar, honey and mix-ins like dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and coconut, together in a bowl.

Another delicious and healthy snack we enjoy is fruit salad with yogurt and honey. It takes a few minutes make, but we've developed a bit of an afternoon ritual around it. This time of year, we indulge in citrus and other "fruits from afar" so fruit salad is oranges, baby bananas, kiwi, plus local apples, local walnuts (cracking them is part of the ritual), local honey, and Nancy's whole milk yogurt.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are a daily part of the kids' diet. These days, they're eating oranges and apples. They also like peanut butter on celery, which was one of my favorites as a kid and something I find helps me get through those afternoons when I'm feeling peckish. I also stopped buying those "baby" carrots a while back and now just make carrot sticks whenever we need them. I store them in a glass container with a little water to keep them crisp, though that's probably not necessary as they're eaten within a day or so.

Recently, we tried peanut butter on toast with dried apples. As I kid, I use to top peanut butter on toast with marshmallows, and I swear, those dried apples tasted far better than marshmallows! Also, I made crackers during last week's bread-baking session. They turned out okay--a little tougher than I expected, I think I should not have cooked them as long as I did--but they were still delicious when spread with cream cheese. I'm going to continue experimenting with those and also make some graham crackers soon.

Snacks are more of a sit-down affair than they use to be. I still allow a little grazing, but I try to have one "formal" snack time a day. It's nice to sit at the little table with the kids have short and easy dining experience with them.

No comments: