Healthful and Low Cost Snacking This Summer

I received an e-mail that I thought I’d pass along to you because it’s all about saving money and eating healthful snacks. Liz Weiss and Janice Bissex are two registered dietitians and authors who are known as the Meal Makeover Moms. Here’s what they had to say about snacks and what you can do to save some money. They also sent along a great recipe that I can’t wait to try.

In addition to the high price of gas, food prices rose 5 percent in 2007 and are expected to continue to rise another 4 to 5 percent in 2008. And withkids consuming an average of 840 snacks per year, busy families will surely experience a dent in their wallets. Whether it’s sticking home and being
lazy, taking a trip to the beach or a play date in the backyard, one thing remains clear: it is tough to save money and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet when kids are eating you out of house and home.

Liz and Janice have a few suggestions to make sure that parents and kids not only enjoy their summer snacks both at home and out and about, but also feel satisfied and energized without overspending.

Start the Day Out Right – Before you begin your day, be sure everyone eats a healthy breakfast, that way, you’ll all be less tempted to grab a donut or mid-morning snack. Choose an all-natural, whole grain breakfast cereal that will fill you up without empty calories and refined sugars. Liz and Janice love Mom’s Best Naturals variety of cereals because they contain no artificial ingredients, are affordable, delicious, and produced in an eco-friendly way.

On the Go Snacking – Admittedly, bananas don’t travel well. However, there are lots of other fruits to choose from that will hold up in a cooler. Take advantage of the summer’s best with cut up watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes and cherries. Dried fruit is an excellent stand-by when you’ve run out of fresh. Packed with nutrients and fiber, try dried apricots, cherries, apples and raisins. Baby carrots are perhaps the number one go-to vegetable for families on the go, but there are plenty of others to choose from including sugar snap peas, sliced red or yellow bell peppers, celery, and crunchy green beans. Dip to your heart’s content in anything from hummus to Ranch dressing.

Healthy Homemade Goodies – No one said that eating healthy can’t include dessert. You can make your own affordable healthy treats from scratch with whole wheat flour, whole grain cereals, nuts, dried fruit, and healthy oils to bring better nutrition to the table (or backyard). * See recipe for Cookie in Disguise below.

Cookie in Disguise
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies

These irresistibly crunchy on the outside, chewy-on-the-inside cookies,
packed with health-enhancing ingredients, are guaranteed to keep the troops
happy when you’re on the road. They’re so yummy, it’s hard to believe they
are actually good for you!

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups Mom’s Best Naturals Honey Grahams, crushed into pea-size pieces
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried blueberries or currants
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil or coat two large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Whisk together the oats, Honey Grahams, pecans, flours, dried blueberries, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, and maple syrup until well combined.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir until just moistened. Working in batches, roll the batter into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between.

Bake 12 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter.

Nutrition Information per serving (one cookie):
100 calories, 5g fat (0g saturated), 65mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 1g
fiber, 1g protein

For more healthy tips and recipes visit www.mealmakeovermoms.com.

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