One of our biggest pitfalls as a family trying to eat healthy foods is snack time. I make healthy meals and, even when we eat out, we make healthy choices. But when we’re watching football games, basketball games, baseball, Survivor, The Biggest Loser, or anything else on TV – we love our snacks.
Also – aside from my youngest daughter and our cats – the members of my family come and go all day and night. It can be exhausting for us homebodies watching them come and go. I’ve noticed that they all love to snack along their journeys… fuel for the road, I suppose. I try to keep healthier options in the kitchen and dining room for them to grab. Sure, we’ll have various forms of chocolate at any given time – I won’t even try to deny that. Besides, you’d smell the chocolate on my breath and call me out.
I always remind people that chocolate…
- Is actually good for you – nutritionists sing the praises of dark chocolate almost as much as I do
- Chocolate makes the world go round
- Chocolate is sexy
So, you can count on this kitchen always, always, always boasting plenty of chocolate goodness just as surely as there will always be a coffee pot ready to play . The coffee will warm your body as the chocolate warms your mood. But potato chips, soft drinks, and fried, greasy crap has been exiled from our home.
Nuts are also remarkably good for you, so I keep several candy dishes filled with different kinds of nuts and nut blends. The largest candy dish is currently holding chocolate covered raisins and chocolate covered nuts. Another has almonds, which are a huge hit in my family.
Recently, I happened upon a combination that blew me completely away: Mariani Vanilla Yogurt Raisins and walnut pieces. I keep these yogurt covered raisins on hand because I’m totally addicted to them. They are ridiculously delicious. They had commandeered a large candy dish and I couldn’t find a spot for a bag of walnut pieces I’d just brought home from the store. So, I tossed the walnuts in with the yogurt covered raisins. When I passed by, I’d either pick out the raisins or the walnuts until I saw my husband grab a mixture and put them in his mouth. In an unsettling display of monkey-see/monkey-do, I jumped over and tried it for myself.
Holy deliciousness, Batman!!!
The combination reminds me of one of my favorite cookies, Iced Oatmeal Cookies. For whatever reasons, the vanilla-flavored yogurt, the raisins, and the walnuts make a powerhouse combination that convinces your mind that you’re eating the best Iced Oatmeal Cookie ever made. With less calories.
Try different combinations of nuts and dried fruit with your snackers… but, whatever you do, try the Vanilla-Flavored Yogurt-Covered Raisins paired with Walnuts first. It’ll blow you smack away. These yogurt-covered raisins are also outstanding when eaten with fruit such as pineapple wedges, grapes, strawberries, raspberries (!!!), blueberries, blackberries, and so on.
Below is a great recipe for Trail Mix Bars from Mariani – makers, not only of the yogurt covered raisins I eat like a cat with salmon, but also makers of many outstanding dried fruits and other snacks. Look for them on the shelves at your grocery store. In my favorite store, they’re located in the health food section.
Mariani Trail Mix Bars Recipe
2 cups margarine
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
6 cups mixture of Mariani Premium Banana Chips – crushed, raisins, mixed nuts, and chopped, Mariani Premium Mixed Fruit.
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3 cups granola
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix margarine, brown sugar, and white sugar until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda, and add to butter and egg mixture. Stir in trail mix, oats, and granola. When mixed, drop spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
For more healthy recipes from Mariani, see their website.
Did you know that walnuts are very good for your brain? Click the link to learn how!