Those snack-size, low-calorie treats are an easy grab when you have the munchies, but they tend to be very fake…and not very healthy. And carrots and celery sticks become ho-hum fast. Are you craving something different in the way of an easy, healthy snack? Here are our favorites…
Orange you surprised: Instead of raw carrot sticks, try raw sweet potato sticks for a flavor change. Yes, raw. Simply peel a sweet potato, which may be labeled as a “yam” at your market.
With a sharp knife, cut the peeled potato the long way into three sections. Lay those sections flat, and cut each into four or five sticks like french fries. You can keep the sticks fresh in ice water in the fridge (like you do with other raw veggie snacks). Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C, and they are completely fat-free. If you think eating a bit of raw “potato” will upset your stomach, note that sweet potatoes are a distant relative of the white potato (more akin to the morning glory) but are considered to be a root vegetable. It’s like digesting a raw carrot.
More unusual crudité: You also can peel and cut up raw jicama, beets, cucumber, asparagus, turnips and kohlrabi. We also break off cauliflower or broccoli flowerets to munch on…wash up fennel stems and fronds, red pepper rings, endive leaves, kale and/or chard stems. You can just pop grape or cherry tomatoes and radishes into your mouth. Who said it’s hard to get seven servings of vegetables a day?
Frozen grape “candy”: Did you score big at a bulk grape sale? But now you must figure out what to do with seven pounds of grapes. Like everything, grapes do not last forever, so pluck a bunch of the good ones, wash and dry well, lay them out single layer on a sheet pan and freeze them. (Once frozen, you can transfer the grapes to a plastic zip-lock bag or container.) Freezing the little buggers makes them a sweet, almost-ice-cream-like treat.
Easy homemade single-serve popcorn: Sometimes you just want a single-serving snack of popcorn without harmful additives or expensive “gourmet” cheddar toppings. Here’s what to do: Put one-quarter cup of popcorn kernels in a lunch-size brown paper bag. Fold the top over twice, and secure it closed with tape. Microwave the bag on high power until the kernels stop popping…from one-and-a-half to four minutes. When the popcorn is done popping, carefully open the bag…face it away from you so that you don’t get a steam burn. Then put the popcorn in a bowl, and add salt or any seasoning of your choice. Makes about one cup.
How about a hard-boiled egg? Bring a half-dozen eggs to boil, shut off the heat, let sit covered for seven minutes, then voila! You have healthy protein-rich snacks for the rest of the week. If eggs are on your Yawn List for snacks, try a few sprinkles of Old Bay, smoked paprika, Cajun seasoning, chili or curry powder. If you have a few minutes, you can try this EatYrGreens.com.