A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One Ingredient Snack Foods…..Packaging Need Not Apply

Are you a snacker? Do you feel the need to have something to munch with your lunch or just at home alone? Sorry, couldn’t resist the rhyme. Well, I love to snack just as much as the next guy, but I try to limit the amount of packaged snack foods.

“What else is there?” you ask? Look no further than your local grocery produce section, or, better yet, a farmer’s market! There you’ll find many items that make great snacks and are a lot healthier than the packaged products found in the middle aisles.

As I sat eating my lunch today, I just felt compelled to blog on the various snack options we have available to use. It just takes a little manual labor in the kitchen and you’re ready to keep the bag of stripped down ingredients with other ingredients added back in where it belongs….the store shelf!
Here’s a list of things off the top of my head:

Carrots – an easy, no work required option is to buy baby carrots ready to eat; but save your money and buy whole carrots to peel yourself. Then you can cut into any size or shape you want. I like to cut them so that they double as a utensil to scoop a good bean dip or yogurt; then there’s no spoon to clean afterward!

Broccoli – such an under-appreciated veggie.  Pick a firm and vibrant head to rinse at home and cut up into edible crowns or florets.  These are great when dipped in some yogurt mixed with garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, dried dill herb, and black pepper.  Do the same for cauliflower too.

Celery – this one’s another easy to find item. Try to get organic as it is a heavily sprayed veggie. Either way, just wash the stocks, cut into desired size, and store in a plastic bag to grab as you please. Celery’s “tunnel” shape is great for filling with peanut butter, mustard, soft cheese (goat cheese is great!), or a bean puree. I have tried them all as well as just the sticks alone; you can’t go wrong any way you have them. Same as the carrots, I like to use these as edible utensils too.

Grape Tomatoes – these are an easy and tasty snack that only needs a good rinse. Keep the tomatoes in their plastic container at room temperature and just take some as you so desire. Grape tomatoes can be paired with a mozzarella cheese stick for a quick snack kids and adults can both appreciate.

Bell Peppers – red, yellow, and orange have a sweeter taste, but the green will work too! I love to wash a red bell pepper, remove the seeds and core, and cut into strips for tasty treats.  Try pairing with string cheese and crackers for a nice mini-meal or appetizer.

Mushrooms – you can buy them pre-sliced in most stores, and once rinsed, they’re another great snack food. Make sure to not let the mushrooms stay under water too long; they are very absorbent and will go bad faster if they retain too much water. I like to get these in bulk to choose each whole mushroom; then I will rinse at home and either eat them whole or slice as needed. The common white button, cremini (baby portabellas), or full portabellas are great cooked or raw.

Jicama – a popular Mexican tuber, Jicama provides a clean, refreshing snack that’s good any time of day. Peel the hard, brown skin and some of the tough layer right under it; then cut into cubes, sticks, or “chips.” This is great as a finger food, or tossed into salads. Try sprinkling some lime juice on the cut pieces for a very refreshing treat on a hot day.

Turnips – a good tip is to get the smaller ones if you are going to eat them raw since the larger seem to have a bitter taste to them. I look for clean, rounded turnips with a bright purple skin, then peel the outer later and cut as desired. These are yet another great edible utensil.

Radishes – these redish-purple veggies will give you that “crunch” you crave from a snack. Give’em a good rinse then slice into small, thin “chips”; sprinkle some salt and pepper on them for an extra flavor boost.

Other things like summer squash can also be consumed raw, but I find that’s more flavorful when cooked. Just keep most of these in airtight containers or plastic bags in your fridge, they should all last at least a week this way.  Keep tomatoes at room temp and mushrooms stored in a paper bag to limit mositure accumulation.

Hope you enjoy these snacks as much as I do, please try at least one in place of a packaged item. It might take some getting used to, but the health benefits are well worth it, and maybe, if you have kids, they will follow suit and pick up some good snack habits.

Until next time, keep a little spice in your life and Just Add Cayenne!

1 comment:

  1. Great! so many awesome ideas! :) <3