Go Green pt.2: Green your snacking

snacks

I speak from personal experience when I say that when making my transition to organic living and then veganism, my first inclination was to try all the snacks and fun things. It’s a common misconception that just because something is organic or vegan, it is healthy, which is not true at all. In fact, many organic and vegan foods contain just as much sugar, oil, and sodium as their commercial counterparts. Additionally, they contain just as much packaging, and can be made or processed in places like China, which is infamous for their lack of scruples in the food industry.

I think that people buy a lot of prepacked snacks because they think that it’s a lot of work to make their own, or not worth the health benefits. The challenge this week is to re-evaluate your snacking purchases and habits and to intentionally replace them with higher nutrient food with minimal to no packaging.

Here are a list of products you *might* be buying: fruit snacks, granola bars, granola, yogurt, popcorn, pretzels, chips, crackers, candy, kale chips, pre-made pizza, ice cream, soda/juice/juice boxes, freeze dried/dehydrated fruit, etc.

Since the first step in the cycle is to reduce, first and foremost, it might be prudent to find a local store that has a bulk section (or who buys in bulk and packages up the food in smaller bags). There you will find nuts, raisins, other dried fruits, bulk popcorn (for air popping or popping stovetop), granola, and even some “snack mixes”. Some stores allow you to bring your own containers, while others can provide you with brown paper bags that can be recycled or reused.

Also consider that foods like granola bars and fruit snacks are candy. Their nutrient content is not worth the sugar content. The same goes for soda and juice or juice boxes.

I’ll also be the first to admit that I don’t bother making pretzels or crackers because they can be purchased made of real ingredients by Mary’s Gone, and the cost to make them is greater than the cost to buy them. However. We do not buy chips. They are a treat that is like ice cream- only for some occasions.

Once you have whittled down your snacking habits to what is actually WORTH eating between meals, you might have something that looks like this:

IMG_7223Air popped popcorn and whole grain muffins

Apple muffins

Pumpkin muffins (Happy Herbivore’s Maple muffins are even easier, sub gf all purpose flour)

Strawberry muffins

Happy Herbivore’s Blueberry Oatmeal muffins (sub gf all purpose flour)

IMG_6505Homemade yogurt (with fruit and/or agave)

Don’t have a yogurt maker? Not a problem. Here’s how to make it in bed.

IMG_7221Homemade granola bars- these take 5min to throw together

Happy Herbivore’s recipe here

IMG_7226Home brewed teas, coffee, (both which can be bought in bulk) and lemon water (with a shoot of agave?)

IMG_7225Real fruit snacks aka fruit- bananas, oranges, apples, plums, pears, etc. have their own packaging

IMG_7091Kale chips and other dehydrator goodies (like cranberries!)

cranberries driedWant to dry your own? No sweat! Link here

IMG_6081Homemade pops (these are amazing if you just put yogurt and fruit in a food processor to freeze in molds)

IMG_7224These are silicone pop molds

pumpkin smoothieSmoothies (this one is to go!)

I took this recipe and added 4oz of yogurt to make it taste like pumpkin cheesecake.

granolaIf you’re feeling motivated and can’t eat from bulk bins because of gluten, you can DIY granola. All I did was soak some oats with some homemade yogurt and water, rinsed it the next day, added nuts and seeds with a little agave and a few dashes of cinnamon, and put it in the dehydrator.

pieOther home baked goods can be fun, like pie, cookies, or cupcakes. If they need to be portable, there are numerous solutions, including mason jars, cloth sacks, and stainless steel tins. These are the sort of thing that make a good weekend family project.

pizzaTHESE are made on home-baked english muffins, but these tiny pizzas can be made from grocery store ingredients, which will make them healthier and will still have a higher yield for less packaging (and can be popped in the toaster oven!)

 

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2 thoughts on “Go Green pt.2: Green your snacking

  1. Great suggestions! We eat a lot of trail mix made from raisins (organic ones in bulk from the co-op actually cost less than the cheapest supermarket raisins) and nuts.

    When my son was in kindergarten and first grade, they had a class snack every day, and kids took turns bringing it. The year nobody in his class was allergic to nuts, one time we made a big jar (one of those Costco pretzel jars–I snag them from recycling bins!) of trail mix. As he was carrying it to school, he said, “You know, I’m usually the only one who brings a homemade snack. I wonder why–this was easy to make!” Yeah, I wonder why, too.

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