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Making Your Own Healthy Summer Snacks

Summer brings a schedule packed with activities, the weather is nice, the kids are out of school and the sun sets late.  Healthy snacks you can take anywhere are important to keep you full of energy and lasting all day.

Beware of packaged items that are high in sugar and salt. Many granola bars and trail mixes are loaded with sodium and sugar-covered dried fruit, so be sure to read the ingredients. These foods can leave you feeling tired or cause severe thirst, which many people mistake for hunger, leading to overeating.

Having healthy snacks handy will not only give you the energy you need for summer fun, but it will also reduce your temptation of reaching for convenience foods that offer little in the way of sustainable nutrients. Boiled eggs and single serve packs of cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, and cheese are great to eat while heading out the door, and they all pack a protein punch. Grab a piece of fruit that you can take with you. Apples, bananas, and oranges can easily be thrown into a bag or backpack and last for several days.

Try these easy grab-and-go snacks

  • Whole wheat crackers with squeezable hummus packet
  • Rice cakes with squeezable peanut or almond butter packet
  • Air popped popcorn
  • Whole wheat crackers and a tuna fish pouch
  • Air popped popcorn

Make your own trail mix with the following ingredients:

  • Unsweetened dried fruit- cranberries, cherries, coconut flakes and bananas are all great choices
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds- try almonds, walnuts, pecans or sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Roasted garbanzo beans
  • Mini pretzels or pretzel sticks
  • Whole grain chocolate Cheerios
  • Carob chips
  • Granola- see below for how to make your own

Try this recipe for homemade granola:

½ cup Quinoa

1 cup Water

3 tsp Maple Extract

1½ cup Rolled Oats

½ cup Sliced Almonds

¼ cup Chopped Dried Dates

¼ cup Chopped Dried Apricots

2 tbsp Peanut Butter

1 tbsp Honey

Directions: Place oats, almonds, dates and apricots in a large bowl. Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan on low, stirring frequently. Pour peanut butter mixture in oat mixture, stirring well to mix up ingredients. Line baking dish or cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread mixture into baking dish, pressing down to flatten mixture. Bake at 250 for 30 minutes, slice and let cool.

Tip: To make granola, let cool for approximately 10 minutes then mix around until broken up. Many different ingredients can be used in this recipe. Try dried fruits that are sticky, such as dates, cherries, and cranberries to help the mixture stick together. Agave syrup may be used in place of honey. Add chocolate chips, coconut flakes or different nuts.

CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team
CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team

These blogs are written by members of the CHI Health Nutrition Services team.

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