Not all snacks are created equal. Before you stop by the snack aisle in your local grocery store, consider these simple tips for making your own delicious and healthy snacks.
Think Beyond Potatoes
Chips don't have to be made from potatoes. In fact, there are so many types of chips that you can easily become confused when shopping for them. Instead, pick three or four of your favorite vegetables and turn them into homemade veggie chips. Kale, sweet potatoes, and broccoli are some popular favorites. Start by slicing them to the desired thickness. Toss them with some olive oil and seasonings and then roast them in a low-temperature oven or put them in a food dehydrator. Of course, you can also make chips from fruit like apples and pears.
Mix It Up
Prepared trail mix from the store can be overloaded with sugary sweets and candy pieces. Buy separate ingredients and combine them in fun and unique ways to make your own customized trial mixes. You can buy fruit already dried or put it in the dehydrator at home to satisfy your sweet tooth. Look for peanuts, almonds, and walnuts to add a dose of protein to the mix. Salted varieties can add a nice flavor, and can be an excellent complement to sweet fruits. You can also change up the texture a bit by adding chewy coconut flakes. Pretzels, sesame sticks, and chips can keep it interesting with an added layer of crunchiness.
Have Fun With Fruit
Snacks can be crunchy, chewy, and everything in between. You can make bite-sized gummy snacks with just a few ingredients for a truly portable and sweet snack. If you are feeling adventurous, break out some kitchen gear and dry yourself some fruit leather. It's not only delicious and healthy, but it packs easily and stores very well too. If you don't need a snack that can travel, slice up an apple and drizzle warmed peanut butter over the pieces. You can also just dip fruit into your favorite nut butter. Either way, you will add some protein to your snack to help you feel full longer.
Add Some Spice
Snacks come in all sorts of flavors, too. Try adding some spices like cayenne pepper or wasabi for a punch to homemade chips, fresh popcorn or roasted nuts. If you are making your own snacks, be careful when adding spices. A little bit can go a long way. Start with a small amount, stir or mix it well, and take a taste or two. You can always add more if you think it needs more. Adding spices doesn't always mean making food spicy, either. You can have fun trying out some seasonal spice combinations. Cinnamon and nutmeg can make for delicious fall-themed fruit snacks.
Pack a Protein Punch
Snacks that sneak in key nutrients like protein can be an important part of your overall diet. So, whether you choose to spread some nut butter on fruit, crack open a hard-boiled egg, or grab a handful of oven-roasted chickpeas, you can get a healthy dose of fuel to help keep you running strong throughout the day. Besides providing a boost of energy, protein can also help you feel full longer than some other macronutrients. That makes it a great choice if you know it might be a while before you have a chance to eat again.
Go For a Dip
From nut butter to hummus, dips can be a great addition to snack time. Look for main ingredients that have a health benefit like protein, fiber, or vitamins. Guacamole whips up quickly with a food processor or even a fork. It has vitamins and loads of healthy fats to carry through the afternoon. Yogurt-based dips are an excellent choice for fruit slices.
No matter what type of homemade snacks you decide to try, keep in mind that homemade doesn't naturally translate into healthy. Using whole food ingredients can help you keep nutrient values up. Avoid foods loaded with sugar, especially if it is added as an extra. Use oil-free cooking methods when possible, and look to healthy fats like olive and avocado oil when you do use them.