Craving Cheap, Healthy Snacks? Try Making Some at Home

October 15, 2014 by: Donna Parshall

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Finding snacks that are both nutritious and satisfying can be a challenge, so rise to meet it by preparing them at home. In most cases, making your own snacks is less expensive because you get more snacks for the money you spend. There are plenty of snack recipes that provide ample nutrition without costing a fortune. Make large batches of these treats in advance and then take them to work throughout the week or just snack on them at home.

Granola Wedges

These healthy snacks combine whole grains, fruit, and seeds with sweet, fragrant honey for an ideal blend of fiber and energy.

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sunflower seeds or your choice of nuts
1 cup brown rice cereal
1/2 cup honey
1 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or dried fruit of your choice
Pinch of salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use spray or butter to grease a nine-inch cake pan, then line pan with parchment paper.

Combine oats, seeds, and cereal in a medium mixing bowl, and then transfer them onto a rimmed baking sheet. Toast them in the oven until they begin to brown – about 10 minutes in most ovens.

In a medium saucepan, warm honey on medium heat. After about 2 – 4 minutes, large bubbles will start to rise and honey will begin to darken around its edges.

Pour toasted mixture into the honey, add dried fruit or berries, and stir until both oats and fruit or berries are coated with honey. Transfer mixture into cake pan, pressing and flattening it using a heat-resistant, cooking-spray-coated spatula.

Let granola set for 30 minutes while honey cools. Cut into wedges and transfer to a wire rack. When completely cool, start snacking.

Kale Chips

Kale chips are simple to make and practically addictive, especially if you love savory snacks like chips. While they don’t have the familiar crunch of potato or tortilla chips, these crispy snacks will cure your craving for salt without a ton of sodium or starch. They’re also rich in fiber and essential vitamins.

Ingredients

Cooking spray
1/2 pound of kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 salt — more or less depending on your preference

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Wash kale and dry completely. Trim leaves away from central rib, and discard the rib. Cut or tear leaves into bite-sized pieces.

In a large mixing bowl, toss kale with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder. Spread kale in an even layer onto baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until leaves are crispy and edges are brown but not burned.

Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels

These snacks merge salty with sweet for a simple, easy-to-make treat. This recipe is particularly nice because it’s easy to adjust for dietary needs and preferences. If you have gluten intolerance, it’s easy to convert to gluten-free: just select gluten-free pretzel rods. If you’re a vegan, choose vegan dark chocolate.

Ingredients

12 oz. dark chocolate
2 Tbsp peanut butter
10 pretzel rods

Directions

Line a baking sheet or cooling rack with tin foil.

Melt your dark chocolate in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add peanut butter and mix until chocolate and peanut butter are completely melted into each other, about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove mixture from stove.

Dip pretzel rods into melted chocolate mixture. Allow excess chocolate to drip off and then place pretzel rods on baking sheet.

Allow chocolate to set, about 10 minutes.

Alternatives to Cooking

If you’re short on time, there are ways to make healthy treats without cooking. Consider assembling snacks like fruit and cheese kabobs, veggies and hummus, or cereal and Greek yogurt in portable containers so you can store them in the fridge and easily take them to work. Healthy snacks don’t need to be expensive or complicated. With a little prep time, you can make practical and nutritious snacks for much less than pre-packaged snacks from the store.

Rachel Schramm contributed to this article.