Can snack foods be healthy and tasty at the same time? Absolutely! It may take a little experimentation and new kitchen habits, but you can easily produce some delicious snack recipes for 2014 that will make your mouth happy but still help you shed those pounds. So if you feel bored with the same old health “snacks” like carrots, apples, and dried fruits, check out these recipes instead and see what sounds appealing.
1. Fruit Wraps: Fruit wraps are a lot more than a plastic-like kid snack. In the right hands, the homemade version can also be a great between-meals snack that will satisfy your sweet craving without a lot of calories. Use flax or rice wraps, a light coating of butter (coconut or almond), and a layer of your favorite fruit. It works especially well with chewable options like strawberries. Wrap it like a crepe and tuck it in the fridge for later.
2. Homemade Energy Bars: Do not let 2014 pass you by without trying an awesome homemade energy bar recipe! Combine oats, crispy cereal (like rice cereal), and dried fruits for the main ingredients of this recipe. Mix them with a filler made from creamy peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, and a little bit of oil and syrup (heat it up like a sauce for the best results). Mix it all together and form your own bars on parchment paper – they should be firm to the touch, too much of the filler and they will start to gloop. Chill them and then start packing them for a quick mid-day snack. They will give you a burst of energy and can take the place of a far less healthy lunch.
3. Kale Chips: Kale is that extra-leafy green that tastes great when lightly cooked and mixed with just about everything. It is also packed with tons of nutrition and has the low calorie count of all greens. For the best results, cut the kale into your favorite chip-like shapes and toss it with a mix of pepper, salt, olive oil, and a few herbs to make it interesting, like thyme or paprika. Line your chips up on an oil baking sheet and bake for around 15 minutes at 350, waiting until the edges start to brown and get crispy. Kale has a habit of shrinking drastically when cooked, so keep this in mind when making your chips.
4. Homemade Smoothies with Your Favorite Fruits: A blender works here, but if you really want to invest in smoothies, more dedicated smoothie equipment exists for this type of work. Mix plain, nonfat yogurt with low-fat milk, a little honey, a little ginger, and a dash of cinnamon. Blend with some of your favorite fruits – try frozen blueberries, bananas, strawberries, peaches and much more until you find your favorite combinations.
5. Sweet Potato Chips: Slice a sweet potato into thin slices (skin included) and toss them with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake them on an oiled baking sheet for about 10 minutes on each side at 400 degrees. Take them to work for a great lunchtime snack, or save them for when you feel super hungry but want to stay away from any type of chip that comes in a bag. Not only are sweet potatoes filled with vitamins, these chips have much fewer calories than traditional chips and will fill you up more easily.
6. Homemade Jerky: Jerky recipes abound, but no matter what meat you choose the process is basically the same. You combine the meat – cut into thin strips – with a mix of honey, pepper, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and possibly a few other things, like smoke flavoring, paprika, and similar additions (technically the mix is called the brine). Cooking methods vary based on your equipment, but typically you freeze the meat, thaw it in the brine for at least several hours, then dry it out on a rack in a smoker or an oven set to a low temperature with slight gap in your oven door. For the oven, use a pan to collect drippings and turn the meat every several hours for 12-24 hours, depending on the type of meat and size of the jerky. Homemade jerky is high in calories but also has tons of energy and can take the place of a whole lot of junk food – it works even better with a low-fat meat like turkey.
Cathy Little is a professional is a professional blogger that shares advice on healthy cooking for your family. She writes for RecipeChart.com, where you can find a large selection of delicious recipes.