“But I Don’t Like That…” or, How to Make a Healthy Snack Yummier

17 Apr
readers digest screencap

Healthy snack recipes often require some creative substitutions to suit personal preferences. Reader's Digest May issue screen capture.

I enjoy reading articles about  healthy recipes and snack ideas but I don’t always like eating them. Most “healthy” food recipes I come across contain ingredients that I just can’t stomach. Cottage cheese? No, thank you! Asparagus? It better be cooked in a ton of butter and salt so that it’s not bitter. I’m not being picky to be difficult; we just all have our personal tastes. Unfortunately, much of that personal taste runs counter to most healthy eating recommendations. I find myself needing to get creative in the kitchen to make things that are both healthy and appealing to me (for example, Leftover Easter Ham Recipe #2: Ham & Pepper Jack Quesadillas).

This problem was in the forefront of my mind when I was reading “4 Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss” in the May issue of Reader’s Digest. Let’s break these snacks down one by one:

1. Instead of cheesy crackers–which I love–the article suggests “ricotta boats,” which consist of two tablespoons of fat-free ricotta cheese and black pepper on a wedge of a bell pepper. Its listed “fat releasers” include vitamin C, calcium, and spices. Problem #1: I do not like ricotta. I dislike ricotta almost as much as cottage cheese. However, I love feta and chevre, both of which are available in low-fat versions and can be easily adapted for a snack like this. Goat cheese is a great go-to substitution for me because I love cheese; it has fewer calories than cheese made from cow’s milk but it is high in calcium and other nutrients. Problem #2: I like bell peppers cooked in stir-fry but I don’t like them raw. My alternatives: tomato wedges, spinach,   or apple. (Or maybe all of those things together could make a yummy salad!)

2. Instead of an energy bar–which I never eat–the article suggests peanut butter and whole-grain crackers with a 1/2 cup of milk, all of which provides fiber, resveratrol, healthy fats, and protein. I’m totally on board with the peanut butter and crackers idea. But I do have to be careful about how much dairy I eat so that I don’t upset my stomach. I’d skip the milk and juice this snack up with some grapes or apple slices.

3. Instead of beef jerky–which I love–the article suggests a “cheesy roll-up” consisting of one low-fat mozzarella stick rolled up in two romaine lettuce leaves, providing fiber, calcium, and vitamin C. I love mozzarella, so this could be good for me, however, I’m not a fan of romaine lettuce. I’d rather have spinach or iceberg. I also think this snack seems pretty plain and dry. I’d add slices of tomato and/or a spread of hummus–a great low-fat snack–to the roll-up to give it a more multidimensional flavor. I also disagree that beef jerky is always unhealthy. My grandpa makes the most delicious, leanest beef jerky using a food dryer, extra lean ground beef, and seasonings.

healthy snacks at home

Sunflower seeds, feta, carrots, and black olives all can be components of a great and healthy snack or lunch.

4. Instead of trail mix or potato chips–which I eat way too much of all the time–the article suggests a combination of one mini cheese, 10 baby carrots, and eight almonds. This is my favorite of the four snack ideas, and it provides calcium, protein, fiber, healthy fats, and vitamin C. I love this snack idea because I enjoy the flavors of all of the components. I don’t typically have almonds in the house, though, so I might have some sunflower seeds and few black olives instead. I also love this snack idea because there are multiple elements to it so it kind of tricks my brain into thinking I’m getting more than I actually am consuming.

If you get creative, you can tailor any health food idea to suit your personal preferences! What are your favorite snacks or snack substitutions? Let us know in the comments section.

Stay healthy, friends!

–Michelle

PS: Bonus health food alert! Artichokes are in season! I love artichokes and I look forward to them every spring. I’m boiling one for my lunch today. Treat yourself to one! :)

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One Response to ““But I Don’t Like That…” or, How to Make a Healthy Snack Yummier”

  1. Diet Drop April 17, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    “Cottage cheese? No, thank you!” — As far as I remember you were enjoying that cottage cheese with raisins cake last night ;)) — Vita.

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