Sometimes, growing up can be such a drag.
When I was in high school, I would eat a bag of Doritos, drink a Wild Cherry Pepsi and then go play a soccer game.
That was an acceptable lunch or snack to me. And I do love me some snacks. My husband remains mystified as to why I need a bag of peanut butter M & Ms and a bag of pretzels for even a two-hour flight. One of biggest fears in life is being in an airport or on an airplane with no access to food. But we’re not here to sort out my issues today.
Peanut Butter M & Ms aside, now I realize the correlation between what I eat and how my body feels. I don’t just choose food based on how good it will taste when I shove it in my mouth; I think about what nutritional benefit that food has for my body.
(Sigh…what have you done to me late 20s?!)
My husband and I have made a huge effort lately to really think about what we are eating, and snacking can be a place where bad things add up quickly.
Take granola bars, for example. Usually advertised as healthy, so you think you are making the right choice when you shun a candy bar and pick up a granola bar. Fact is, most granola bars really aren’t that different from candy bars.
To make sure I snack smartly, I make my own granola to munch on at work. If you can turn on your oven and open a bag of nuts, you can do this. It tastes way better and is way healthier for you than any store-bought granola. Here is the recipe, by my food hero Mark Bittman.
His recipe calls for a cup of dried fruit, but I like a higher ratio of fruit to nuts. But what is great about this recipe is that as long as you have oats, you can throw in whatever you have on hand, and this in no way requires precise measurements. In 30 minutes you get dark, crunchy, slightly sweet and slightly salty granola that actually has health benefits.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Throw the oats, nuts, sweetener, cinnamon, salt—everything but the dried fruit—into a bowl.
Pour onto a foil-lined baking sheet and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want it browned but not burned, but there’s a fine line between the two. Keep an eye on it.
When you pull it out of the oven, stir in the dried fruit and wait for granola to cool. And that’s it!
I used dried apricots and dried cranberries.
You can eat it as is, or use it top some yogurt. Delicious!
Oh, and this recipe makes a load of granola. If you don’t think you can finish off a batch in about two weeks time, I’d halve this recipe.
See? Grown up snacking can be fun. Try this recipe this week!