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:
Happy Herbivore’s Blueberry Oatmeal muffins (sub gf all purpose flour)
Don’t have a yogurt maker? Not a problem. Here’s how to make it in bed.
Want to dry your own? No sweat! Link here
I took this recipe and added 4oz of yogurt to make it taste like pumpkin cheesecake.
If 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.
Other 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.
THESE 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!)