Snack foods make me squirm. I’ll stand in the cracker aisle for a solid ten minutes, hemming and hawing over whether or not I can feel good about myself for buying another ginormous carton of Goldfish crackers. Part of my hesitancy is undoubtedly connected with the fact that I ate just about an entire carton of them in one weekend when I was newly pregnant with the Manchild. Since that weekend I can hardly look at them without feeling my stomach start to turn. But the other part is simply because I think that I could make better crackers that were better for us. I think this, even though I have actually tried to do such things and failed. Some things are worth the effort to make yourself on a regular basis. Crackers are not one of those things. Not for me, anyway. Not yet.
And so I get the Goldfish. But then, to assuage my guilty conscience, I expend more mental energy trying to figure out a better way to snack. Or, more accurately, a better way to provide snacks for my kids without dishing out a side of guilt/regret/frustration in the process. (I’m pretty sure that ulcerating over snack foods is explicitly described in the book of modern motherhood. Right? You all got that book when they discharged you from the hospital?) Believe it or not, I’ve found a few things that fit the bill. Better yet, I like them too, which is great because — who am I kidding? — the snacks are really for me anyway.
So this is what I like:
Greek Yogurt. I usually have it with fresh fruit. I use the yogurt I make and then strain myself, and can I just tell you that it is more like a spread than a yogurt? Think cream cheese. Seriously. Oh, and I’ve been using the whey from the strained yogurt in the whole wheat bread I make and it is absolutely phenomenal. I omit the powdered milk and substitute the whey for most of the water. I highly, highly, highly recommend trying this.
Granola Bars. Of course. These are more like the dessert snack because they are so sweet, but they are also awesome for after a run, especially if you are able to find some puffed millet. A friend of mine told me she used puffed millet instead of rice crispies and I immediately thought I would never be able to find puffed millet. It turns out that they carry it at the health food store a block away and at a reasonable price to boot And once I added the puffed millet, I decided I could consider these a health food because millet is a complete protein.
Roasted Chickpeas. These fulfill my cracker cravings, but they are much easier to make than crackers. Rinse off some cooked chickpeas, let them dry for a bit, then toss them in some olive oil and salt and throw them in the oven. I would actually be a little bit more careful with them than “tossing” and “throwing” because if you lose control they could go all over the place like marbles and you’ll be finding dried chickpeas under your oven next time you decide to sweep under it.
1 can of chickpeas (or about 2 cups if you cook your own), drained, rinsed, and left out to dry for a bit (or blotted dry with a paper towel
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp additional spice, give or take (take your pick: cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, etc.), optional
pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
Preheat oven to 450. Toss drained chickpeas with olive oil, salt, and any additional spices. Spread on a baking sheet and bake 30-40 minutes, until crunchy, stirring every 10 minutes.