February is National Snack Food Month, although I personally celebrate snack foods every day of every month! But if nothing else, having a month officially devoted to celebrating snack foods encourages me to broaden my horizons and think about expanding my love of snacks to new areas. Here are four categories that are on my mind, and some ideas for you to execute too.
Fruits and veggies are the ultimate health-food snacks. When I snack on my veggies, I often dip them in ranch dressing, which admittedly is not super healthy since dressings are high in sugar. There are plenty of other dips out there that are better choices, like hummus, which is full of protein.
If you’re looking for ideas for your fruits, you can always do some apple slices and peanut butter, some berries in yogurt, fruit salads, and so much more. Parents everywhere have come up with creative ideas for their kids to eat healthy fruits, and so many of those ideas are perfect for grown-ups too.
I absolutely love baking, so to me, cakes, cookies, and other sweets can be the perfect indulgent snack. There are plenty of options out there for unhealthy snack foods, but what is something extra special for those days when you just need a boost?
Sweet and Salty
Chocolate covered potato chips
Chocolate covered strawberries
French fries and milkshake
Sweet and salty caramel ice cream
Honey roasted nuts
Sweet and Sweet
Chocolate chocolate cupcakes
Edible cookie dough
If you’re looking to try out a new and exciting snack you haven’t eaten before, try this idea: baked apple slices! The key is to choose an apple you like (I recommend Honeycrisp apples), and core the apple. Then, slice it into thin chips and line on parchment-lined baking sheets. You can top off the apples with some cinnamon and then bake in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The timing will vary depending on how chewy or soft you want your apple chips to be (and how thick you cut them), and it will take approximately 2 -2 ½ hours. The best way to tell when they’re done is to take one out of the oven and let it out for a few minutes at room temperature. If it turns crispy in that time, then you’re good to go! You can allow them to cool in the oven once it is turned off for an hour, or if you think they’re overbaked, let them rest at room temperature.
Easy snacks are always a must. Trail mix is such an easy go-to snack, and it’s so customizable! The key to a good trail mix is to have it balanced with foods that are good for you and mix flavors well. You do want the ingredients to fulfill one of these three facets:
Protein: Nuts are often the key ingredient of trail mix because they’re so high in protein. Because of that, they are often filling, and that discourages you from snacking out of boredom or habit. If you’re not nutty for nuts, some recipes use seeds instead.
Dried Fruit: I absolutely love having raisins in my trail mix because it adds in a new texture and tartness that contrasts the saltiness of the nuts and seeds. But raisins aren’t the only dried fruit you can add--bananas, mango, cherries, and other dried fruits can be delicious add-ins.
Carbs/Misc: My trail mix always has M&M’s in it since it’s yet another pop of flavor and texture. While I may be a chocoholic, you may enjoy adding other fun stuff to your trail mix, like other chocolate candies, sweet bites, or even more salty snacks.
However you plan on celebrating this snack month, be sure to share the joy of snacking with your friends and family, and let us know what your favorite snacks are!