Energizing Summer Snacks
School’s out for summer, so students and educators alike will finally be able to spend more time relaxing at home and adventuring out. For year-round workers, “staycations” are a great way to enjoy the best time of year in the High Country.
Keep your energy level high by clearing your pantry of junk food and stocking these essential ingredients for energy-promoting snacks:
• Nut butters – Once upon a time, peanut butter was the only spread around. Most stores now stock sunflower, almond and cashew butters. Spread on apples, bananas, whole grain crackers, bagels, bread and graham crackers.
• Nuts and seeds – Great topping for salads, yogurt and cereal. They taste so great by themselves and are often hard to quit eating.
• Plain and vanilla yogurt – Top with frozen berries or any fresh fruit. Make smoothies by blending with bananas, fruit and even fresh spinach.
•Fresh fruit – Is great as an ingredient or a stand-alone snack. If you find cantaloupes too large, blend part of the melon with mint and freeze for a refreshing snack. Frozen grapes and bananas cut in half are another treat to cool off.
•Cut up veggies – Serve with one of the many types of hummus available or Greek yogurt seasoned with herbs.
• 2% milk cheese sticks or slices – Taste great alone or as a bread, bagel, tortilla or cracker topping. Add avocado or cucumber.
• Whole grain, low-sugar cereal – Make a homemade trail mix made by adding nuts and dried fruit.
This easy-to-make, satisfying snack bar recipe is sweetened with natural sugars from dates and honey.
1 cup dates, packed
¼ cup honey
¼ cup peanut butter
1 cup roasted almond slices or slivers
1 ½ cup rolled oats
Process dates in a food processor. Mix in a bowl with oats and roasted almonds. In a small sauce pan, stir honey and peanut butter together over low heat until warm. Pour over oat mixture and stir until coated. Line an 8” x 8” pan with plastic wrap. Press mixture down in pan. Place in refrigerator to let cool and harden. Cut into bars to serve. Store in refrigerator.
Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email email@example.com, or call (828) 264-3061.