Sara Forte’s debut cookbook The Sprouted Kitchen is full of the types of colorful, wholesome recipes made famous on her popular blog (Lentil Meatballs with Lemon Pesto! Grapefruit and Crispy Avocado Salad!), but the chapter that screams “Make me!” to us is titled “Snacks to Share.” We asked this whole-foods aficionado to share her smart snacking tips and an easy snack recipe. Pass the nori popcorn! —BBL Editor
Balancing being a lover of both food and wellness takes effort and thought, especially if you think about food and recipes all day long like I do.
Some view snacks as unnecessary calories, but I see snacking as a way to keep my meals more manageable and my metabolism consistent. I eat a moderate-size breakfast and lunch and a smaller dinner with two or three snacks in between. Maybe that sounds like a lot of food, but very little of my day is sedentary. However the pace of your life looks, I would guess you’d like to avoid getting to that starving point where you MUST have food IMMEDIATELY! Having access to a few healthy snacks is the answer to keeping you sane. (I can’t be the only one who goes a teensy bit crazy when hungry.)
My Go-To Snacks
One way that I create balance with snacks is by preparing one or two things on a Sunday, or on an afternoon when I have some extra time for cooking. I’ll make a double batch of the Toasty Nuts from my cookbook, homemade hummus alongside a container full of cut vegetables (such as bell peppers, cucumbers and carrots) and some Protein Granola Bars (also in the cookbook) to wrap up and keep in my car for times when I’m out. It’s also nice to have some lettuce wraps with turkey or veggies and cheese to grab quickly.
More often than not, the moments when I find myself eating junk is when I need something quickly, so having food prepared in advance helps me win that battle. Sure, this takes time and planning, but once I make them, they serve as snacks for my family for the whole week. Worth the investment if you ask me.
Understand my eating habits are far from perfect. I have a nagging sweet tooth and an affinity for ice cream that can’t be rivaled. My good conscience will allow fresh fruit to fill that need, but I’m a sucker for a warm brownie à la mode. Foods with proteins and good fats keep me full longer and prove more satisfying, so I try to avoid snacks that are high in carbohydrates or sodium.
Start with the recipe below for Toasty Nuts and see if a handful between meals keeps your energy up and going through the busy day to day.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
Toasty nuts are a perfectly portable snack. This recipe can be adapted according to your taste, as it doesn’t veer too far to either side of the sweet-to-savory spectrum. You could add in a bit of turbinado sugar if you like things sweeter, or a teaspoon of red pepper flakes if you like things extra-hot.
1 egg white
2 1/2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 cups raw unsalted nuts mix, such as almonds, cashews, pecans, and walnuts
2 tablespoons flaxseeds
3 tablespoons millet or quinoa
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat the oven to 300°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Whisk in the maple syrup, cayenne, black pepper, and salt. Stir in the nuts, flaxseeds, millet, and rosemary, making sure everything is coated completely.
Spread the nuts on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer and bake until the nuts are browned and fragrant, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.
Read more from Sara Forte at sproutedkitchen.com.