Monday, January 16, 2012

Sensational Snack Mixes that are Easy to Prepare

Spice up your snack bag with these healthy ideas to keep you fueled and satisfied when you're on the go.

A plate of nuts, dried berries and oatmeal.
Add your favorite nuts and dried fruits to make your own granola.
Sarah Martin

Snack mixes originated as a convenient food for hikers to take on long trips in the outdoors. The mix of nuts, dried grains and fruit, and sometimes a treat such as chocolate, provides a quick and balanced source of energy.

In today's nonstop world of rushing from place to place, snack mixes are an excellent mini-meal for anyone who is always on the go. However, nuts and raisins get old pretty quickly. Here are some sensational ideas to spice up your snack bag:

Make your own granola — Get creative with this! Use oats as a base and honey or maple syrup with canola oil as the glue. Add your favorite dried fruit, seeds and nuts to the mix, then sprinkle with seasonings such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Shredded coconut can be a great addition as well. Adding 1/2 cup of flour (any wheat or gluten-free flour can be used) can help the granola to clump better. Bake on a greased baking sheet at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally.

Beyond Breakfast — We all know it's the most important meal of the day, so make it last by adding a whole-grain breakfast cereal to any snack mix you buy or make.

Power Popcorn — This whole grain is not just for kids! Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and spices such as cayenne pepper or oregano for a travel-friendly snack.

Bag-O-Salad — Fresh-cut veggies such as cucumbers, celery and carrots can last for several hours in a sealed bag or container.

Sarah Martin, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

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