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

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Simple, Healthy Snacks and a Zevia Contest

Who doesn’t like to snack? Snacks are fun, sweet, savory, soft, crunchy, and everything between! The word “snack” often brings images of candy and potato chips to many, but a snack can be anything you, well, snack on.
Consumers are faced with a plethora of packaged snack food options from the standard trail mix with dried fruit and nuts to intricate “health” bars loaded with sugar. I’ll admit, there are some good, healthy bars made with real ingredients out there; but then why not just make your own variation? If you don’t want to make your own bars, just use similar ingredients and mix together for something like a trail mix.
Take the Clif C Bar for example; the ingredients in their apple bar include: Organic Dates, Almonds, Organic Apples, Macadamia Nuts, Organic Apple Juice Concentrate, Organic Lemon Juice Concentrate, Organic Cinnamon, Sea Salt(Real Salt®) Natural Vitamin E (Antioxidant). You can get the same nutrients, if not better, by visiting the bulk section in a grocery store and getting some dates, almonds, dried apples, macadamia, or just your favorite nut to mix together. There’s no recipe to follow and no guidelines really, just get a little of each thing you like and mix together!

Try using a current snack bar favorite of yours and turn it into a snack mix without the added sugars, oils, thickeners, and artificial flavors. It may not be the same, but I haven’t been let down by this method yet. But BEWARE! Many dried fruits have added oils and sugars, so look for the ingredients label to see if there’s added sugar or oil; key words like “unsweetened” are also a good sign. Same thing goes for nuts; bulk sections may offer the same nut in many varieties, try to buy “dry roasted” and “unsalted” if possible. Another option is to purchase raw nuts and dry roast them yourself in a 300 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes.

Being the dry cereal fan I am, I always add healthy, whole grain cereal to my mix creations. I’ve mentioned cereals like Nature’s Path Heritage Bites, Barbara’s Puffins (Original or Cinnamon), Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls, or something like plain Cheerios (Barbara’s, Annie’s Homegrown, and Nature’s Path have better versions) in previous posts. Mixing these whole grain cereals into a snack creation offers a healthy crunch with vitamins, fiber, and other essential nutrients. And, for something on the sweeter side, I buy dark chocolate chips or the wafers from the bulk section and toss a few into the mix. The dark chocolate is better than chocolate with a hard candy shell, just be wary as these will melt in your hand before reaching your mouth.  Add some whole grain pretzels for a great sweet and salty balance!
Some of my favorite combos include:
- Dry roasted almonds, dried apple rings (chopped), dry roasted edamame, and Barbara’s Original Puffins

- Nature’s Path Heritage Bites, dry roasted peanuts, whole grain pretzel pieces, and some natural raisins

- Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls, 50/50 mix dry roasted almonds and pistachios, and dried apricots

- Dry roasted almonds, Nature’s Path Heritage Bites, handful of 70% dark chocolate wafers split in half, whole grain pretzel pieces, and unsweetened coconut flakes

These are just what I do, go crazy, get creative, and make your own combo to take to work, on the road, or on the trail (chocolate not recommended in hot climates). Just try to stick with whole grain cereals with 5 grams of sugar or less per serving, dry roasted nuts, and unsweetened dried fruits; this should keep your snack creations healthy, but still full of flavor. Let me know what mix you come up with, I’d love to try it myself!

Just Add Cayenne’s First Contest: Win a 6-pack of Zevia All-Natural Soda with Stevia!
I am excited to host my first contest for the blog! Mambo Sprouts provided a 6-pack sample different Zevia flavors to try along with a coupon for a free 6-pack. My wife, Kelley, and I will split each flavor for a taste perspective from a frequent Stevia user, me, and non-user, Kelley.

Entries to win the free 6-pack coupon are easy. You can have up to three entries by:

  • Posting your favorite Zevia flavor or one you’d like to try to the Comments section on this blog
  • Posting a link to Just Add Cayenne and mentioning this contest on your Facebook page; then post to Comments on this blog to let me know you did this
  • Tweeting about this contest and include a link to Just Add Cayenne; then post to Comments on this blog to let me know you did this
Remember to leave a comment for each thing you do. Your comments will count as entries into the contest and a winner will be selected at random on Sunday at 12:00pm CST, June 18.
I will announce the winner and post our tasting reviews on Monday, June 20.
If you haven’t done so already, try some Zevia beforehand….it will leave you ready to win to get some more of the satisfying taste of an all-natural, zero calorie soda.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I just mentioned this contest on my facebook page.

  3. The root beer flavor is far and away our favorite flavor :) I can't wait to try some of the new additions though!