by Tara Davis

If you have kids, or ever were a kid (I sometimes wonder about some people – ), you have no choice but to be constantly and fully aware of the importance of snacks.

What child dwelling home isn’t stocked with some version of  juice boxes, popsicles, fruit treats, crackers, vegetable sticks?  Snack foods are so important they become kid currency. Sandwich halves are traded for single Oreos. Animal crackers are bartered for GoGurts. (Are Gogurts even still a thing?) No one really wants to share their gummy bears, if they’re being honest.

As adults, we can’t escape the importance of between meals appeasements. They may (or may not) have evolved into more developed palate pleasers, more adult, even, perhaps, healthier items. But whether hummus or salt and vinegar chips, snacks they remain. Because we need a pick-me-up, a metabolic boost, filler, energy, or just to satisfy our cravings. And there really is nothing wrong with that.

But we get into ruts. We meal and snack prep, or make the same gas station stops every week. We forget to exercise our imaginations, or don’t have time to shop around for local items.  It becomes about convenience – what can dart out the door with us and be consumed on the go?

Don’t be beholden to routine and time constraints!  Don’t be bored by your choices of fuel!  Don’t give in to the mundane adulthood tune-out, in which you forget to pay attention to and ENJOY what crosses your taste buds – they exist for so many reasons. I include some easy to execute options for your snacking pleasure.

The recipes-

Granola: Mix 4 cups old fashioned oats, 1.5 cups raw nuts or seeds 9I like a mix of pecans and pepitas), 1 tsp sea salt, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ cup melted butter ½ cup honey, 1 tsp vanilla extract. Spread mixture evenly on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees, 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool completely, then top with 2/3 cup dried fruit.

Vegetable chips:  Thinly slice 5 cups root vegetables of your choice (I use a hand held Japanese mandoline for beets, turnips, carrots and sweet potatoes). Place in an even layer on lined baking sheets, and lightly salt. Bake at 350 degrees 10 minutes, then flip pieces and bake another 5-10 minutes.

Chocolate dipped tropical fruit:  Place 1 cup bittersweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 10 second increments until melted. Stir in ¼ tsp cinnamon.  Dip the ends of individual pieces of dried fruit such as mango, pineapple and papaya (8 oz total) into chocolate and place on lined baking sheet.

Roasted Pistachios: Combine the zest of 1 lime, 1/8 tsp cayenne, ½ tsp salt, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1 tbsp lime juice, and 1 tbsp olive oil.