Clean Snacks Reviewed! Which Snacks Are Best for Recovering Junk Food Addicts?

Ok, I must make a confession. I’m a snacker. I like snacks. As I attempt to become more and more health conscious, I may spend minutes upon minutes in the snack aisle of the grocery store scouring the ingredients and analyzing calorie, fat, and carbohydrate content. Even deciding between fried, baked, popped or freeze dried will make your head spin! So, what else is a confused, recovering fried potato chip person to do but attempt to make their own healthy snacks. Duh duh duh duhhhhhh!!!!

Ok, it wasn’t so bad but there were some clear hits and definite misses. And I’m hear to break it down for you so you can make the decision for yourself.

I may as well start with my favorite which happened to be one of the simplest:

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips

I was surprised at how easy and delicious this was and more perplexed by why I haven’t done this before! One potato yields a generous serving of potato chips. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus (source: http://whfoods.org). So, a snack thats delicious, simple and super nutritious?? Sign me up, baby!!

Ingredients:

1 medium organic sweet potato
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Using a mandolin or knife, slice into 1/16” to 1/8” round pieces…depending on the thickness preferred.

In a large mixing bowl, add sliced potatoes and oil, toss to coat.

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with non-stick foil, place potato slices next to each other until the cookie sheet is filled.

Bake for 20 minutes, turn potatoes over and bake an additional 20 minutes. If the edges are crispy remove from oven, if not, bake an additional 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy around the edges.

Allow potatoes to cool at room temperature. Chips will continue to get crispier as they cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


This next snack may seem basic but not only is it simple to prepare but it is very filling and delicious!!

Spicy Air Popped Popcorn

Spicy Popcorn

When I invested a whole $15 in an electric popcorn popper, I had no idea how valuable it would be in preparing a quick and satisfying snack. A bag of popcorn kernels is super cheap and darn near non perishable which makes it a no-brainer to keep it around. With all the scary things being said about microwaved popcorn (who didn’t grow up on that stuff??), I’m glad to have a healthier, almost as convenient option. “Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup; oil-popped popcorn has only 35 calories per cup. When lightly buttered, popcorn contains about 80 calories per cup. Popcorn is a whole grain, making it a good-for-you food. Popcorn contains fiber, providing roughage the body needs in the daily diet.” (source: http://www.popcorn.org) For a savory treat, I add coconut oil (instead of butter) and Tajin Classico Seasoning (picked it up at Aldi). It hits all the senses for a salty, spicy, crunchy snack!

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Popcorn Kernels
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
Season with Salt or Preferred Seasoning

Directions:
Add popcorn to electric popper. Melt coconut oil. After corn is popped, add coconut oil and seasoning. Enjoy!


So, now we make a turn to a less familiar territory. Snack beans. Don’t get me wrong, I love beans in it’s many forms: chili, refried beans, red beans & rice, lentil soup, hummus…the list goes on. However, when it comes to snack beans, I don’t think I’m quite ready for it yet but nonetheless, I tried.

Parmesan Garlic Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)

Garbanzo Beans

So, yeah, by now you know that I like my snacks savory and crunchy and honestly, this does meet those marks. I like parmesan. I love garlic. I like garbanzos. Now combining all these for a snack…..I’m not there yet. “Chickpeas are a type of legume that offer a range of health benefits. Chickpeas help to increase satiety, boost digestion, keep blood sugar levels stable, increase protection against disease and more. Chickpeas nutrition is a potent package of protein, vitamins and minerals, which is why they are often included in many healing diets .” (source: draxe.com) So yeah, I may toss these in a salad for a little variety and crunch but on its own…nahh.

Ingredients:
2 (14.5 Oz.) Cans Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans, Drained, Rinsed & Dried
2 Tbsp. Shredded Dry Parmesan
1 Tsp. Dried Crushed Rosemary
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
1/8 Tsp. Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with foil. Give the foil a light spritz of some non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Place the sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the chickpeas are crisp.

Carefully remove the sheet from the oven and set aside to cook slightly before serving.


Now here I go, trying to be fancy and delving into creating sweet snacks. I was born and raised in Chicago so Garrett’s Popcorn is the penultimate of a sweet, savory, crunchy snack to me. I’m sure I’d shutter at the nutrition facts of that popcorn and there’s no need to ruin it, its Garrett’s and when you pass one, you buy it, point blank. However, when you’re home and crave a sweeter popcorn, it’s great to be able to create one. Did this one hold up as a replacement????

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

peanut-butter-popcorn.jpg

Now, I like popcorn. I like chocolate. I like peanut butter and honey. All of these together, not so much. Now, in all fairness there’s probably a flaw in my execution. Apparently, there is a fine line between letting these sit while the crunch develops and letting it sit so long that it becomes stale, sigh…. Overall, I believe it has potential and with a few tweaks, it just may work so stay tuned for an update.

Recipe:

Heat 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1 teaspoon each vanilla extract. Stir until smooth; pour over 16 cups hot popcorn. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (you can sweeten this for enhanced flavor). Spread on baking sheets and let cool.

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