I am a big snacker and I am always looking for healthy and low-fat snacks, especially on the go. My guilty pleasure is Cripsy Minis and I usually have a cheese flavoured bag lying around for snacking in between meals. Now Special K makes their own version of "cracker chips" and they taste exactly like chips, but without all those calories. I would highly recommend them for an alternative to chips or crackers and they come in cheddar, sour cream and onion and original flavours:
Sometimes I want something a little on the sweeter side. My favourite sweet snacks are rice cakes with peanut butter, yoghurt, fruit and some of these dessert/snack recipes: Frozen No-bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, 100 calorie chocolate mug cake and Butterfinger Dough Balls.
But if I don't feel like making something myself --yes, even "foodies" have days when they don't want to cook--I'm glad there are ready-made alternatives out there. Navitas Naturals, a company based out of California, sent me some of their healthy snacks to try: Blueberry Hemp Superfood Power Snack bites and 3 Berry Trail Mix. I'm not sure of the availability of the products in Canadian stores, but you can order their products online.
Update: Navitas has informed me that their products are widely available in Canadian stores, including Whole Foods and some grocery chains.
I took them along with me to snack on during our trip to Canada's Wonderland yesterday. As much as I enjoy the taste of funnel cakes and hot dogs, they are probably not the best option when you're walking around all day and zooming down terrifying roller coasters. The food options are always ridiculously overpriced at amusement parks as well, so there is nothing classier than a parking lot picnic for some rest in between all of the excitement. An iced cold Starbucks coffee also hits the spot in the warm weather:
We brought our own picnic of sandwiches, fruit salad, Navitas snacks and cookies. I enjoyed the Navitas Blueberry Hemp Power Snacks, as did some of my other "taste testers." They are made with date paste, tons of healthy seeds, dried blueberries and are organic, raw and gluten-free. The snacks tasted like mini date squares, which I love, even if the smell of the hemp in them was a bit odd.
However, I didn't enjoy the 3 Berries Cacao Nibs Cashew Trail Mix as much. Perhaps if I tried their other flavour of trail mix (mulberries, goji and goldenberries) I would have liked it more. It was full of healthy power foods, such as dried berries and nuts, but I found the raw cacao nibs quite bitter and the mix was quite small and seedy, making it a little more difficult to eat than the "power snacks."
They are still a nutritious snack though and a lot better than traditional trail mix, which can contain quite a bit of fat and sugar (remember the mix with the Smarties in it?!) Navitas says their trail mix contains antioxidants, trace minerals, iron, essential vitamins and dietary fibre and is perfect for "outdoor adventures, workplace snacks, road trips," and for including in cookies and granola.
It's nice to know there are packaged goods that will make you feel good, but sometimes I like making something myself just to know what's in it and how it's made. These banana oatmeal cookies taste exactly like "normal" cookies, but with no butter or white sugar added.
You can make them vegan by substituting the egg for a flax or chia egg (see the original recipe) and gluten-free by using almond or gluten-free flour. They have approximately 100 calories per cookie; however, they are still cookies even if they are on the "healthier" side, so like with all baked goods, approach with caution. This is also a perfect recipe to use up some "browned" bananas:
Banana Maple Oatmeal Chocolate-Chip Cookies (adapted from this recipe)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 banana, mashed
I love and hate buying bananas. Why? Because when you don't eat them fast enough and they start to go brown, you think, "Well, I have to use them up somehow. Perhaps I should make banana bread for the hundredth time?" And then you get stuck with yet another banana dessert. I could be stuck with these cookies any day though. I don't mind.
Preheat the oven to 375. Mix the dry ingredients together and add the chocolate chips. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, vanilla, mashed banana and lemon juice. Combine with the dry ingredients and stir well. Drop heaping tablespoons worth of dough onto a greased cookie sheet and slightly flatten the top with a fork. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
You can also substitute the chocolate chips for raisins or nuts if you choose. These would freeze well, but a warning: you may not have many left to freeze after you make them.