When we were kids, we would giddily dig snacks out of our lunch bags or belly up to the kitchen table after school for an afternoon munch. Snacks were a sweet treat and a fun respite from the activities of the day. But now that we’re grown, snacks have transformed to a few hurried swallows en route to our next to-do, usually of something meant to give us energy, not please our taste buds. If you’ve ever searched for a happy medium, look no further! Here, three tasty, easy-to-make snacks guaranteed to power you up and put a nostalgic smile on your face.

Snack Bars

Munching on a chewy snack bar is a great way to get a hit of energizing protein while you’re on the go. But many brands on supermarket shelves today come loaded with sugar and little nutritional value, making them more like candy bars than a healthy snack. To get the maximum perks in the most delicious package, whip up some no-bake snack bars at home with protein-rich nuts, fiber-packed oats and magnesium-rich dates.

Chewy Homemade Snack Bars 

Ingredients:

1 cup pitted dates

1 cup roasted unsalted almonds or cashews

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup rolled oats

¼ cup honey, maple syrup or agave nectar

Instructions:

  1. Process dates in a food processor until nearly smooth. Place in a mixing bowl with nuts, coconut and oats.

 

  1. Warm sweetener in a saucepan over low. Pour into the bowl with the other ingredients and stir to mix.

 

  1. Line an 8” by 8” baking dish with parchment paper, leaving some to hang over the sides. Press mixture into pan, pressing down firmly and evenly.

 

  1. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. Slice into bars.

 

Prefer to buy? For a date-based bar like the one above, Larabar fruit and nut bars are made with minimally processed fruits, nuts and spices. Find them in Harris Teeter, Shoppers, Target, Trader Joe’s or Giant.

Fruit Leather

Fruit leather, or a fruit roll-up, was always a fun treat to find in our lunch bags. But most commercially produced fruit leather contains little to no actual fruit. Fortunately, it’s incredibly easy to make fruit leather at home that you know will be loaded with antioxidant-rich ingredients.

 Berry-Packed Homemade Fruit Leather 

Ingredients:

3 cups fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mangos or peaches

2 tbsp. honey, maple syrup or agave nectar

1 tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions: 

  1. Heat the oven to 140°F. In a blender or food processor, puree fruit with sweetener and lemon juice until smooth.

 

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Pour fruit mixture onto the baking sheet, spreading it evenly to 1/8” to ¼” thick.

 

  1. Bake for 4 to 6 hours, until set and no longer sticky in the middle.

 

  1. Allow to cool, then remove from paper and cut into strips.

 

Prefer to buy? Pure Organicmakes chewy fruit and veggie strips free of artificial flavors, preservatives and synthetic colors. You can find them at CVS or 7-Eleven in the DMV, or online at PureOrganic.com.

 

Potato Chips

 

Nothing beats the satisfying crunch and the salty goodness of a perfect potato chip carefully extracted from the bag. But most chips are fried in cheap oils that contain heart-harming trans fats. The fix: Baking potato chips at home with a small amount of olive oil, which is packed with healthy monounsaturated fats.

 

Crispy Homemade Baked Potato Chips 

Ingredients:

2 medium white or sweet potatoes

1 tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp. salt

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray.

 

  1. Slice potatoes as thinly as possible. Pat slices dry, then toss in a bowl with the olive oil and salt.

 

  1. Spread slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. At 20 minutes, start checking for and removing any chips that are done.

 

Prefer to buy? With Boulder Canyon potato chips, you have the option of chips cooked in olive oil, coconut oil or rice bran oil for a helping of healthy fats. You can find them at Food Lion or Giant in the DMV.

 

Do you make your own healthy snacks at home? Snap a photo of your favorite, or of one of these, and post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram tagging Power for Life Fitness and your apartment building.

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