An apple wedge or celery stick topped with peanut butter may sound like a sensible snack but if eating it takes you back to the 1980’s it’s no wonder. The dieticians and nutritionists who we rely on for healthy eating advice and food recommendations aren’t chefs, which is why there has been little creativity in the healthy snack department in decades.
If you have grown tired of yogurt and granola or simply cannot tolerate another Power Bar®, it’s time to get creative before your next date. There are so many fresh ingredients and products available on the market today that a little imagination can go a long way to satisfy your stomach.
Salmon, Pink Grapefruit and Scallion Toast: It may sound like an odd combination but the fresh grapefruit gives this open faced sandwich a subtle citrus taste that bursts with flavor. Just take one slice of toasted pumpernickel bread, add a smear of crème fraiche (one teaspoon’s worth will not kill you), top it with one ounce of lox, a thin slice of grapefruit and some chopped scallion, white part only!
Fresh Figs Topped with Goat Cheese: The dry texture of goat cheese is offset by the sweetness of glazed baked figs, which are now in season. Simply place 4 black mission figs halved lengthwise on a baking sheet, face up. Brush them with a teaspoon or two of fine quality balsamic vinegar and top with ½ an ounce of crumbled goat cheese. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 5-6 minutes or until figs are warm and cheese is melted.
Quick-Fix Crostini: When you’re in the mood for a crunchy fix, brush 3 or 4 thinly sliced baguette rounds with olive oil, pop them into the oven to toast then decorate them with a medley of your favorite toppings. Try fresh tomatoes and chopped basil; tuna, red onions and capers or roasted red bell peppers cut into strips with a dollop of pesto.
Polenta Faux-Frites: These easy-to-make baked polenta french fries can be made using ready-made polenta that comes in a tube – you can find it in the refrigerated section at your supermarket. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Cut one 8 ounce tube of polenta in half cross-wise then slice lengthwise into rectangular strips (you can refrigerate and save the remaining half for later). Place polenta wedges on a baking sheet that is coated with olive oil, season with salt, pepper or your favorite hot spices, and toss them over so that they are drenched in the oil, then bake until crispy and golden.
Personal Cheese Plate: Why limit yourself to synthetic Laughing Cow wedges when creamy Brie has a fat content that is 1/3 less in calories than cheddar? Treat yourself to a half ounce of Brie, 10 almonds and a teaspoon of honey or quince paste. Enjoy it with a half a glass of red wine.
Fireless S’mores: If you can’t make it to a campfire but are craving a treat from yesteryear, try taking it indoors. Make sure your oven rack is positioned in the upper third of the oven and preheat the broiler. Place 2 whole graham crackers cut in halves on a baking sheet; top each with one marshmallow. Broil with the oven door open while keeping a close eye (to prevent burning) until the marshmallows are golden brown, 45 to 75 seconds. Remove from the oven and drizzle each rectangle with 1 tablespoon of melted bittersweet chocolate chips.