For anyone who is on a diet or on a taking steps towards a healthier lifestyle, one of the greatest struggles is to eliminate unhealthy snacking from their diet.
As we already know, snacks such as chips, crackers, chocolate and cookies are typically highly processed and contain excessive amounts of sugar and fat – amongst other artificial additives – and should be consumed in moderation. Unrestrained snacking can contribute greatly to chronic diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Prior to commencing my healthy-eating journey, I used to be a junk food lover and chips and crackers used to be my all time weakness! I am nowhere near being a nutrition nut, but improving my diet and learning to eat in moderation over a period of time has helped me in ways I would never have imagined. I was able to cease the vicious cycle of perpetually feeling hungry and replenishing my stomach with more sinful snacks, and also saw an improvement in my acne-prone skin.
Snacking on fruit and vegetables are great as an alternative to pleasurable yet sinful treats.
Despite fruit and vegetables yielding incredible health benefits, not everyone favours munching on carrot sticks and apples all the time, right?
I recently experimented with making my own snacks which are way healthier than store bought food-sins. The great thing about DIY snacks is that they are free of preservatives and I can control the portion and amount of seasoning according to my wants.
And not to mention, not only do I save money, it is more eco-friendly as well! I get to make big batches of snacks at a fraction of the cost of what I would pay for store bought, processed snacks. Not to mention that it saves on plastic packaging that I would have otherwise thrown away, and not contribute to our ever growing waste problem.
I am a rookie in the kitchen, so do not be intimidated or fret having to cook up a storm – it is really easy!
Easy DIY Carrot chips and popcorn.
1. Healthy Baked Carrot Chips
*I tried baking them this time, but they turn out more crisp if you use an airfryer!
I love vegetable chips! Rummaged through my fridge and I managed to find some carrots, but This recipe should be feasible with other vegetables such as sweet potato, kale and broccoli.
All you need for this is :
- Vegetable of choice (vegetables will shrink as they get dehydrated. 2 big sized carrots will be great for 1 serving)
- Olive oil
- Salt and/or preferred seasoning
Step 1: Wash and peel your carrots.
Step 2: Slice your carrots diagonally because you want the slices to be as wide (not thick) as possible – remember the carrots will shrink significantly. Try to slice as thinly as possible.
Once done you may leave them aside to dry or use a kitchen towel to pat dry as much as possible. At this point, you may turn on your oven to 150℃ to preheat.
Step 3: Put the dry carrots in a bowl and drizzle about 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Mix well. You can choose to sprinkle your seasoning now or after the carrots are cooked.
Step 4: Lay carrot slices side by side on your baking tray.
Step 5: Leave them in the oven at 150℃ for 30mins, flipping them over at the 15min mark.
If you are using an airfryer, flipping might not be needed. Keep a close eye on your carrots as they tend to cook faster in the airfryer, about ~20-25mins.
If some of your carrots are brown while the rest need more cooking, remove those first and allow the rest to sit longer in the oven/ airfryer.
Step 6: Once done, remove them from the oven/ airfryer. The chips will continue to harden as they cool down.
Finally, add your seasoning and give it a toss. There you have it – carrot chips!
2. Homemade Popcorn
This is for those who prefer salty to sweet popcorn! Of course, feel free to change up the seasoning as you please.
For easy, fuss free DIY popcorn, this is all you need!
- Popcorn kernels (I got mine from Scoop Wholefoods)
- Sauce pan/ wok with lid
- Big bowl for mixing
- Salt/ seasoning of choice (optional)
Step 1: With medium heat, ensure that your pan is heated well before pouring in your oil. The oil should be just enough to cover the base of your pain to prevent your popcorn kernels from sticking.
Step 2: Pour your kernels into your pan! Remember to put on the lid straight away. Once there is enough heat, your popcorn will start popping!
Step 3: After the last popping sound, I wait about 15-20 seconds before I turn off the heat. Transfer your popcorn into a large mixing bowl.
Step 4: Drizzle melted butter and salt or other seasoning while your popcorn is still hot.
Mix well and leave to cool.
Ta-da! It is definitely healthier and cheaper than what you can purchase outside. Moreover, it is more eco friendly as store-bought popcorn usually utilises lots of packaging to ensure it stays fresh and crunchy.
Once you are done with making your own snacks, make sure you keep them in air-tight containers to retain its freshness. Go plastic-free as much as possible too! =)
These DIY snacks are really simple and do not necessitate any fancy ingredients.
Do you make any of your own snacks at home? How do they compare with store-bought snacks? Comment down below!
This article is brought to you by Hazel, an undergraduate from University of Newcastle Australia who is currently interning at SNCF (August to November 2020). She is an earl grey enthusiast, caffeine addict, avid reader and passionate about all things health and lifestyle related.