Mix it Up!

13 Apr

I love to mix it up.  Everything.  But especially my food.  And I always do it, like it or not.  I take a recipe, and add to it.  Change it up.  Add my touch.  I can’t help it.  I especially like to mix it up when making a little snack mix.  A snack mix is great to make because it is always adjustable, you can use what is in the pantry, and a few handfuls can really curb a craving!

What is in a snack mix?  Well, for me, nuts are a standard.  I like peanuts, cashews, almonds…they are all good.  And, of course, nuts are a great source of plant protein.  A healthy addition to any diet.  But they do have a high fat content and should be enjoyed in moderation.  They are also packed with  flavor,  so about 1/4 cup per serving is a good amount to use.

Tossing in some small pretzels is also great in a snack mix.  It adds a little salt, which in moderation, is also necessary in the diet.  Like the nuts, pretzels can satisfy a crunch craving.  But something chewy is good too.  Some dried fruit can add a little chewy sweetness, which juxtaposed with the saltiness of nuts and pretzels adds just the right touch.

A word about dried fruit.  When fruit is dried, the water is removed.  This is what makes dried fruit a little more “shelf stable” than fresh fruit.  Bacteria grows with the help of moisture, so taking the water out allows that food to be a little more portable.  This makes it perfect for a snack mix.  But beware-drying the fruit concentrates the sugar.  In addition to dried fruit having more sugar than its fresh counterpart, it also has approximately twice the calories.  So use dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries, but like the nuts, add in moderation.

What else gets tossed into the mix?  Perhaps a savory small cracker, like a little cheese cracker.  Or a little salt free sesame cracker.  A little added flavor like a small snack cracker always goes into my snack mix.  Now our mix is super crunchy.  Perhaps a handful of carob chips is the perfect finish to our mix.  Carob chips are a nice creamy addition tot he crunchy mix.   What are carob chips you say?  Let me fill you in!

Carob is an evergreen plant.  Carob chips may look like chocolate chips, but the taste is different.  And they are naturally caffeine free and don’t need to be sweetened.  Next time you see them at the grocery store, give them a try.  They are healthier than chocolate chips and a wonderful addition to any snack mix.  So take a little of this, a little of that, and make a sweet crunchy portable healthy snack mix!  How do you make a snack mix?  Let me know!



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