Healthy Food Alternatives
If the mess of Cheerios crunching under your feet and the sight of Goldfish tucked in every crevice has you convinced that ‘snack’ is a four letter word, step away from the vacuum and check out our newest guide. If we’re being honest, we’ve all got our go-to snacks (many of which we became obsessed with before we could even properly say “Give me more!”, but it never hurts to shake things up a bit and try healthier alternatives. Consider yourself lucky – we’ve picked the brain of moms, and have found the craziest (and most craved) snacks you probably haven’t heard of.
Instead of goldfish crackers, try cheesy popcorn.
And no, we’re not talking about the store-bought white cheddar stuff (although that’s not a bad trade if you’re in a pinch.) Making your own cheesy popcorn is super easy, fun to do, and storable so you can dole it out whenever you need it. First, use an air popper to pop your corn kernels. Then add the secret ingredient: nutritional yeast. It has a terrible name, but it’s a nutty, cheesy, delicious topping for America’s favorite movie-going treat. Trust us: try it, and you won’t look back
Instead of fruit snacks, try beef jerky (or actual fruit).
Fruit snacks are a fairly recent phenomenon, but most moms have fond memories of the many varieties of fruit snack. Gushers, Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Roll-Ups…they were lunch box staples. Now that we’ve realized the perils of high fructose corn syrupand artificial dyes, though, we’d like to set the bar higher. If your kid craves the sugary burst of fruit snacks, dried or fresh fruit provide similar flavor without the chemicals. If the appeal is in the ripping and tearing of that fruit roll-up, beef jerky is a great option. It’s healthy, high in protein, and will keep your child feeling fuller than if he ate three Fruit by the Foot (Feet?).
Instead of cookies, try Chocolate Chirp Cricket Protein Cookies.
Whip up a batch of these chocolate chip cookies with your little chef! What makes them so special? Instead of using regular flour, these gluten free cookies are made with a combination of wheat flour, oat flour, and cricket flour. That’s right: flour made from crickets. With 20 crickets per cookie, your little entomologist will get a kick out of eating actual bugs! High in protein, non-GMO, no soy, no gluten, and low in fat, this nutritional and eco-friendly cookie mix will have your family chirping!
Instead of pretzels, try pickles.
Pretzels are a tempting treat, but pickles offer that same salty flavor and satisfying crunch. Pickles (and olives, too) are an underrated snack, especially since they’re essentially cucumbers. Want to go for an even healthier snack? Slice up a fresh cucumber and put it in a bowl filled with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. Add some salt and let it sit for ten minutes before serving. You’ll have a tasty pickle-like substitute with all the benefits of fresh cucumber.
Instead of animal crackers, try roasted chickpeas.
The appeal of animal crackers isn’t immediately clear – they’re essentially flavorless. All they’ve got going for them is the snappy little crunch. Sub out your menagerie for something with serious flavor (and protein). Roasted chickpeas are a cinch to make. Just buy a can of chickpeas, drain, and pat dry with a paper towel. Preheat your oven to 375°, and spray a baking sheet with canola oil or another appropriate oil. Bake for thirty minutes, giving the pan a little shake every ten minutes or so. Pour your hot chickpeas into a bowl and season with olive oil and spices (we like thyme, salt, and sage, but there are tons of optionsout there). Put them back in the oven for another ten or fifteen minutes until they crisp up, and enjoy!
Instead of potato chips, try homemade beet chips.
Potato chips are delicious, but fried potatoes are obviously not the healthiest snack. You can make a similar treat by baking your own beet chips. Beets are a phenomenal superfood, with unique properties you just can’t get anywhere else. But the mess factor – and serious stain ability – make them a tough treat for your kids. Beet chips give you the health without the mess. This recipe for beet chipsis our go to when we’ve got the craving.
It can be difficult to come up with healthy alternatives on the fly. When you have a free few minutes, prepackage these snacks so they’re ready to grab and go as needed. The beauty of these options is that many can be tailored to taste. Whether you’re going with cinnamon-sugar pita chips or savory Moroccan chickpeas, there’s a way to make these treats to everyone’s tastes.