What’s in Your Fridge?

Cooking healthy meals, while important, is not all there is to healthy eating.  Snacking is a part of life and we just need to accept that.  For some people who eat many small meals each day, it’s a very big part of life.  So how do you keep from reaching for a candy bar or bag of chips when you get the munchies?  Well, for starters, don’t buy those things (duh!).  Ok, so even if you don’t keep junk in the house, you still need healthy snacks to be just as easy to grab when the moment strikes.

When you organize your refrigerator and pantry to make snacks easy and appealing, the battle is half won.  You will also want to keep a variety of sweet and savory snacks.  You may crave either one at any given time so be prepared.

Consider your cravings.  If you’re craving chocolate, it’s likely your body needs magnesium.  Grab a handful of raw almonds instead.  Craving salt?  Salt isn’t a bad guy.  Your body needs salt to help control the balance of water and other fluids in the body. You could be dehydrated, try drinking some water.  It could be the actual sodium your body wants, so try celery with natural, salted almond butter instead of a bag of chips.  Sometimes it’s oily foods masking as a salt craving.  Halve an avocado and mash with a little salt and pepper for a super healthy and filling snack.  Add a dash of Sriracha for a super flavorful kick!

One of my favorite snacks is cheese chips. I’m not talking about the fish shaped cheese crackers or any other commercially prepared snacks.  This is just cheese, baked to crispy goodness.  You can use most any cheese you like.  My favorite is a 3 or 4 cheese blend often used in Mexican cooking.

Cheese Chips

Ingredients: shredded 3-cheese blend, or other cheese of your choosing

Method: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or use Silpat silicone baking mats).  Place small “haystacks” of shredded cheese on paper or Silpat as if you were baking cookies.  You can fit 9-20 per cookie sheet depending on size (9-12 on a quarter sheet pan that fits in a toaster oven or up to 24 on a half sheet that fits in a regular oven). Be sure to leave space for the cheese to melt and spread a bit.  Bake in preheated oven at 400 F for 10-12 minutes. Let cool, chips will crisp once cool.

While I don’t have a microwave, I’ve heard that this can be microwaved as well.  You can also use sliced cheese, cutting each square cheese slice into 4 smaller squares.  Try different cheeses for a variety of flavors. Pepper jack is another great flavor especially dipped in guacamole!

Honor your cravings and keep healthy snacks on hand for whenever the urge to much strikes.  Being prepared will help you stay on track with healthy eating habits.

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