Salty, Savory, sticky or sweet, healthful snacks appear in a much greater variety these days.
Cynthia Dawso Van Druff
Upper Moreland School District
Willow Grove, PA
“We have an elementary school program called Cubby's Green Zone and Yellow Zone. Cubby is a little bear with the slogan ‘Eat Right, Be Bright.' The Yellow Zone is marked with signage of a hand with a stop sign. These are ‘sometimes snacks,' and the students are allowed only one each day.
“‘Sometimes snacks' in the Yellow Zone include reduced-fat ice cream and bagged snacks (pretzels, crackers, baked chips, cookies). And the Green Zone snacks include fresh fruit, green tea, and string cheese. For kindergartners through second graders, they can have one snack per day. Older children can have two.
“Our staff is trained to encourage students to make good choices. They have a good rapport with them, and will often say, ‘We have apples today, and carrots. How about trying that?'
“Even though the majority of the Yellow Zone snacks are baked, we didn't want to give the false sense that the same snacks at home — without portion control, or all the time — are healthy snacks. It's always better to have fruit.”
Vice President of Operations
Whitsons Culinary Group
“Our big focus over the last year has been healthful snacks. There's been a big push in all the other foods, but until recently, snacks took a back seat. So we have been bringing healthful snacks to the forefront of our impulse sections.
“We experience the highest demand for gourmet, all-natural, organic chips. There are so many flavors — classics like salt and vinegar, plus flavors like Cajun or jalapeno. These really satisfy that salty/savory craving. The variety is better now than in the past; we used to have to sell that at a higher price point, but now it's leveled off with demand, and we can market those items at just a slightly higher price than the more mainstream chips.
“It's much easier for people to make the healthier choice. Natural snacks are no longer a luxury. ‘Organic' is a household word now; it's not out of reach for everyday customers. I think suppliers are realizing it's not just a trend geared toward a specific demographic.
“The daypart for snacking has shifted. It used to be a lunch add-on or strictly an afternoon coffee break. But now, we're finding that snacks can be so healthy, we've got a mid-morning market. Granola bars are a substitute for a muffin or pastry.
“We started to see sales slumping for breakfast pastries and flavored muffins about a year ago. People started to see the relationship between sugar in the morning and empty calories and body chemistry. People are living longer now, so you might as well feel good!
“Another trend we've seen is in large bulk-food glass dispensers that we use. You put a cup underneath and the food comes out. We used to fill them with candy because that's what the customers wanted. Now, almost 100% of them are filled with grains, mixed nuts or trail mix. We make our own customizable trail mixes. We can make them with less nuts, more nuts, extra raisins. It's fun.”
Assistant Director Corporate Chef
Housing & Hospitality Services
University of Southern California-Los Angeles
“We have a new extruder machine that we're using to create some very healthful snacks. We're going to be making a bagel stick filled with eggs or egg beaters. I could also use vegan cheese with that. We are using a whole-grain bagel dough and trying a lot of different fillings.
“One filling is ‘wheat meat.' If you're tired of tofu, this gives you a different experience. We can make wheat meat ‘sausage' and put it in with the breakfast bagel snack. We make our own hummus, and that could be used as a filling, too, maybe with some grilled eggplant.
“We'll also be making pockets, too, similar to a small pot pie. We can fill that with anything, such as a black bean and roasted corn empanada.
“The only problem with the pockets is that they come out so perfect, they don't look homemade! Our snacks don't have 15 different ingredients, with most of them being preservatives.”
Peanut Butter-Banana Roll-Ups
YIELD: 2 servings2 soft-taco size flour tortillas, white or wheat
⅓ cup smooth peanut butter
⅓ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup honey
2 medium ripe bananas
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Place tortillas on baking sheet.
3. Stir together peanut butter, cranberries, and honey until blended.
4. Spread peanut butter mixture over tortillas to within ½" of edges.
4. Place peeled banana on edge of each tortilla; roll up. Place each roll-up seam side down on a piece of aluminum foil*.
5. Wrap foil around roll-ups, sealing edges all around, and place on baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until filling is warm.
* It is not necessary to heat these roll-ups; for a lunch box, simply wrap each roll-up in foil or plastic wrap to transport.
Variations: Substitute chopped mixed dried fruit for cranberries, or sprinkle roasted peanut halves, toasted coconut or chocolate chips over peanut butter before adding banana
Photo and recipe: National Honey Board
Easy Ways to Build a Healthful Snack Wrap
+ olive oil-poached tuna
+ caper-lemon mayo
Nicoise Salad Wrap
+ grilled steak
+ caramelized onions
Mini Steak Wrapper
+ scrambled eggs
+ fire-roased fajita
Fajita Breakfast Wrap
+ crumbled bacon, chopped tomatoes
+ avocado hummus
A Better BLT
whole wheat tortilla
+ chopped hard-boiled eggs
+ tarragon-celery mayo
Egg Salad Wrap
SOURCE: Gilroy Foods & Flavors