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5 Guilt-free snacks for grown-ups

Kathryn Matthews is a New York City-based lifestyles writer, editor and Certified Holistic Health Coach. She has written extensively about food, dining, nutrition, health and travel for numerous publications, including The New York Times...

Healthy snacking!

Summer vacation is over. It’s back to school for the kids and back to work for you! The kids might clamor for milk and cookies, but we know that grown-ups should snack better — and not out of a box. Here are five tasty, guilt-free homemade snacks to satisfy cravings for crispy, crunchy, creamy, sweet and fatty.
1

Crispy…Baked coconut-kale chips

Crispy…Baked coconut-kale chips

Packaged kale chips can be pricey. It’s cheaper — and easy — to make them yourself. Bake them just right, and you'll swear that you're eating potato chips! Since kale is a leafy green that retains a high level of residual pesticide, use organic kale whenever possible.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch organic curly kale, leaves removed and torn into medium-sized pieces, stalks discarded
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • Celtic sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Wash the torn kale pieces thoroughly. Spin leaves dry in a salad spinner and place in a large bowl. Drizzle coconut oil over kale and massage gently into the leaves until well combined. Arrange kale leaves — spreading each piece out fully — in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake kale at least 10 minutes — up to 13 to 15 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of kale chips (bigger pieces need to bake longer). Turn baking sheet every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  5. Remove kale from the oven and sprinkle with Celtic salt to taste while kale is still on the baking sheet. Cool. Munch! Store leftovers in an airtight glass container.
2

Crunchy…Spicy olive oil-fried almonds

Crunchy…Spicy olive oil-fried almonds

I’m not a fan of anything fried — except these almonds! A quick one-minute 'fry' in just one tablespoon of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet, gives these almonds their addictive crunch!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon quality olive oil
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Spanish paprika (pimentón)

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add almonds, stirring constantly, until lightly browned for about 1 minute (take care not to burn).
  3. Transfer warm almonds to a bowl, and immediately sprinkle with the sea salt, cumin and pimentón mixture. Let cool.
3

Creamy…White bean puree with sage

Creamy…White bean puree with sage

Nutrient-dense white beans, whipped into a creamy puree in the food processor (or blender), is a nourishing snack that hits the low blood sugar spot.

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-ounce can of Eden’s organic white beans (navy or Great Northern),  rinsed well and drained
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Raw carrots or radishes (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place white beans, garlic, sage and sea salt in food processer bowl.
  2. Pulse continuously, drizzling in olive oil, until creamy. Eat with raw vegetables, if desired.
4

Sweet…’Reese’s Pieces’

Sweet…’Reese’s Pieces’

As a kid, I loved Reese’s winning combination of peanut butter and chocolate. My healthy version of that treat substitutes 85 percent dark chocolate for milk chocolate and organic almond butter for peanut butter with a sprinkle of sea salt. No added sugars, hydrogenated vegetable oils, artificial flavors or preservatives! Just deep dark chocolate that marries a hint of sweet with almond nuttiness and sea salt.

Ingredients:

  • Green & Black’s organic (85 percent) dark chocolate, cut four 3-square slices
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • Pinch of Celtic sea salt

Directions:

  1. Stack chocolate. Add almond butter.
  2. Sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy!
5

Fatty…straight-up guacamole

Fatty…straight-up guacamole

Buttery. Smooth. Fresh. When I crave a fatty, feel-good food, avocado is my go-to snack by way of this simple straight-up guacamole. (No chips required!).

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe Haas avocados
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 3 fresh chilies (I like a combination of cherry pepper, Serrano and jalapeno),  seeds removed and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice

Directions:

  1. Halve avocados. If they’re ripe, you should be able to slip off the leathery outer skins. Otherwise, remove the pit, scoop out the flesh and place in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Using a pestle, potato masher or the back of a fork, roughly mash the avocado. It’s okay if there are little chunks of avocado. Add the remaining ingredients and mash until well incorporated. The end result should be guacamole that is a little chunky, not a perfectly smooth puree.

More healthy snack recipes

Healthy banana split
Healthy snack packs at home
Homemade healthy granola bars recipe

Photo credit: Kathryn Matthews
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