It’s plastic-free July – a movement aimed at encouraging people to look at their purchasing patterns and say no to single-use plastic items. One food group where there seems to be a lot of unnecessary single-use plastic packaging is snack foods. It is very convenient to buy individual portion packs that are all ready to go. Think though about the amount of packaging that is used to achieve this (multiple small packages and then another large package to contain the small packs!). While going completely plastic-free isn’t practical for the majority of us, just imagine the improvements we could make to our world if we all made one or two changes to our buying and eating habits. Let’s educate our kids in how we can do things better – it’s their future we are improving.
Whilst taking the convenience road is sometimes a necessity, my preference is to ditch as much of the excess and unnecessary packaging and make things fresh at home. Here are 5 quick and easy snack ideas we make at home. Most of these items can be purchased from the grocery store in individual portion sizes. Just a little effort can produce fresher snacks and less waste.
Popcorn is such an easy and delicious snack. Rather than buying the little packs of popcorn from the store, I make larger batches that I store in airtight containers (it lasts for a few days). I am not a fan of kitchen gadgets, but Abi happened to get a popcorn maker from the Easter Bunny this year, and we think it is pretty fun.
Our favourite popcorn topping is a little sea salt and sifted icing sugar. Finely grated parmesan cheese is also a hit . I store the popcorn plain and then add the flavours just before serving or putting in her lunchbox.
2. Fruit, yoghurt and nuts
Individual yoghurt tubs and pouches are quick and easy, but buying a large tub of yoghurt is generally more economical and saves a whole lot of unnecessary packaging.
This is a great snack and really satisfies while providing big and little bodies with some good nutrients.
3. Chia puddings
I am not a follower of ‘super-food’ fads, but I think the nutritional value of chia seeds makes them worthy of being included in our diet. Chia provides us with omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, fibre, calcium and minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc. These little chia puddings are satisfying and easy to make.
- Place 2 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds and 1/2 cup of your milk of choice in a glass or bowl.
- You can add whatever flavours you enjoy. I add a sprinkle of cinnamon, a dash of maple syrup and 1/2 tsp of vanilla bean paste.
- Stir well and refridgerate for at least 30 minutes.
You can make a large batch and keep refrigerated for at least 5 days (be guided by the use by date of your chosen milk product).
4. Snack box
When you are heading out for the day it can be so easy to grab a few packets of snacks for the kids. There are so many waste-free lunch box options out there these days that allow you to customize your kids snacking needs, whilst reducing waste. If buying waste-free lunch boxes is a little out of your budget – using small tupperware containers is just as effective.
5. Roasted chickpeas
I love the nutty and rich flavour of roasted chickpeas.
Simply rinse and drain canned chickpeas, place on an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. I also sprinkle with sweet paprika. Place tray in a 150 degree oven for about 1 hour (check after 50 minutes).
Simple, crunchy, nutritious and delicious!
And finally, while we are on the topic of reducing waste … one of the items I have seen many people pledging to stop using this month is single-use plastic straws. Abi LOVES drinking from a straw so last year I purchased some stainless steel straws. They are great! They wash really easily and I feel so much better watching Ab drink from that than chewing on a plastic straw that is imported from who-knows-where:-).
Happy snacking and waste-reducing 🙂