You Are What You Eat

Many people find themselves working on their computer, watching TV, reading a book or studying for a test when out of nowhere the munchies hit. A typical household will normally have a bag of something salty or a box of something sweet waiting seductively on top of a refrigerator or behind a cabinet door. The temptation to consume all of the contents of the brightly colored salt saturated or sugar coated treat is almost too much to bear. What is the remedy you may ask? The following are some rather dandy recipes for delicious (and healthy) snacks to keep on hand.

Hearty Granola
4 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of sliced almonds
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 cup of raw sunflower seeds
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of dried cranberries
1/3 cup of canola oil
1 cup of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 2000F. In a large bowl, combine nuts and fruit. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, honey, extract, and cinnamon. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Spread across ungreased baking sheet in an even smooth layer. Bake (stirring every ten minutes or so) until cooked to the crispness that is preferred. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.

Granola is not only a great snack but it also allows room for creativity. For example, if you do not like almonds, use walnuts instead. If you’re allergic to raisins, though in some chopped dried apricots. It is one of the few recipes that can be played with and  tweaked without damaging the final product.

Muesli Cookies
½ cup of rolled oats
½ cup of rolled barley
½ cup of sunflower seeds
½ cup of raisins
½ cup of pecans
½ cup of walnuts
½ cup plain flour
6 Tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup of honey
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line baking sheet with baking paper. Combine nuts and fruit in a bowl with flour. Whisk butter with honey and egg. Add to flour mixture. Set aside for 10 minutes. Roll spoonfuls into balls and place on trays roughly one inch apart. Flatten and bake for approximately 10 minutes. Let cool. This recipe should yield about two dozen cookies.

As with the granola, nuts and fruit can be swapped out for other items but keep in mind that this recipe calls for three cups of muesli altogether. If you exchange any of the ingredients, maintain the integrity of the cookies by paying attention to the amounts that are being removed or added.
A personal favorite snack of mine is to take one cup of plain flavored Greek yogurt and add one cup of chopped strawberries and a tablespoon or two of honey. It’s simple yet it has enough flavor to satisfy the sugar cravings. Another easy snack is to take roughly 8 oz of almonds and soak in plain water for an hour or so. Drain and spread on a cookie sheet in a thin even layer. Bake at approximately 250°F, checking on it every five minutes or so. (Almonds can burn in the blink of an eye.) Once toasted to the desired flavor, remove from oven and enjoy. It is ten times better than popcorn. Even taking a couple of apples, oranges, some peaches, a kiwi or two, and a hand of bananas, cutting them into bite sized pieces and throwing it in a bowl is a convenient in-between-meals appetite controller.

It really is easy to throw together a healthy snack. The hardest part is actually doing it, but in the long run you will be better off munching on that fruit salad, Greek yogurt blend, or fresh baked granola. After all, you are what you eat, and wouldn’t you rather be a nut than a donut?

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