Few years ago, I started a ‘Snack Box’ which I placed in the living room. It’s a container where I dump all the snacks I’ve bought or received. That is when I realise that food I have in-between meals is rather unhealthy. There were potato chips, sugary biscuits, milk chocolate, candies, sotong kering (dried cuttlefish) and other junk food.
Until they were all put together – I didn’t realise how my little nibbles weren’t very nutritious. So I tried to slowly incorporate more nutritious ones like ginger candy and healthy snacks from Amazin’ Graze and Signature Snacks into it.
Then I started to make my own. I got the idea when I was looking for the perfect present for my partner’s very health-conscious father. He loves eating nuts and, when he’s too busy at work, survives on nuts for lunch! So I thought of customizing his favourite nuts and dried fruits, and pack it in a small plastic bag so that he’ll get to enjoy balanced ‘meal’ easily.
I couldn’t fit everything in the gift box, so I kept the extra packets for myself. Then I realise it’s super handy. I started to eat the packet of nuts instead of ransacking my fridge when I’m hungry at night. When I go out in a hurry without proper breakfast, I’ll take one along with me. When I’m stuck in the traffic and dinner plan get delayed, I snack on nuts so I won’t be ‘hangry’ (hungry + angry).
‘This idea is brilliant!’ I thought. So I start making it for myself with varied nuts, seeds and dried fruits. You can too. Here’s how:
Nuts & dried fruits of your choice
NUTS, SEEDS & DRIED FRUITS SUGGESTION & BENEFITS
They are plenty of nuts, seeds and dried fruits for you to choose from. I suggest that you pick your favourites and those of different colours. Here’s my pick:
- Cashew – A good source of monosaturated oleic acid and omega-3 alpha linolenic acid (ALA). They are both healthy fats that help protect against heart disease and cancer. They also contain calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and folate that helps bone healthy and formation of collagen.
- Almond – Especially rich in cholesterol-lowering monosaturated fatty acids. Also rich in antioxidant vitamin E.
- Pumpkin seeds – A good source of B vitamins, magnesium, iron and protein. The seeds have high levels of essential fatty acids that help maintain healthy blood vessels and lower “unhealthy” (LDL) cholesterol in the blood
- Sunflower seeds – Excellent source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that help maintain healthy hair and skin, protect cells from damage and has anti-cancer properties. Also rich in vitamin B.
- Apricot – It’s high in beta-carotene content which is beneficial to aging eyes. Studies shows that regular intake of nutrient found in apricots can reduce the rick of macular degeneration by 25%. They are also good for maintaining healthy skin.
(Source: Healing Food by Neal’s Yard Remedies)
- Buy in bulk nuts, seeds and dried fruits of your choice (If they are not roasted already, do it).
- Pour a bit of everything in a small plastic bag.
- Seal it with cellophane tape.
- Keep some in your bag and pantry for easy access, and the rest in the refrigerator.
TIPS: How to pick and store your snacks
How to pick and store
- Have variety – Make sure there’s a mix of nuts, seeds and dried fruits.
- Choose colours – Different colours reflect different nutrient. Pick green pumpkin seeds, yellow apricots and purple raisins for example.
- Look at expiry date – Those that I pick expires a year later, so I know that I can keep them for long.
- Buy in bulk – It’s cheaper to buy in larger amount. I bought mine from a baking supplies store – Bake With Yen – not too far from my home.
- Store in fridge – It’s best to store your health snacks in the fridge to ensure freshness. That is especially we are not able to seal it properly at home.
Granted, the cost does add up as nuts and dried fruits can be expensive. But we really only need it in small quantity and it’s rather filling. Besides, it’s much better for my body than chips and milk chocolate. I would spend a little more money and a little more time for my health.
With 3.5 kg worth of nuts, seeds and dried fruits, I’m able to make about 80 packets. That means each packet cost only RM 1.30. Assuming that I eat one packet everyday, it can last me for 2.5 months!
- Cashew Nuts (1 kg) = RM 40
- Almond (500 g) = RM 23
- Sunflower seeds (500 g) = RM 5
- Pumpkin seeds (1 kg) = 21
- Apricot (500 g) = RM 15
- TOTAL = RM 104
HOW TO USE
There are plenty of occasions where you can enjoy your DIY snacks bag. I personally love to eat it for supper. I also bring it along my outdoor activities e.g hiking and my travels. Some ideas:
- Pour it on your cereal, granola or yoghurt at breakfast
- Snack on it at the office or in the car (instead of sugary food like chocolate bars)
- Replace chips or popcorn with it while watching TV or at the cinema
- Have it before bedtime to avoid midnight hunger
- Bring it to your travels/ outdoor activities and eat on-the-go
Why not get some packets of nuts, seeds and dried fruit to make your own healthy snack? Good luck!