Katie is on vacation until late July. We’ll have a series of guest contributors filling in, and next up is Marla Meridith of Family Fresh Cooking. Today she’s here to share some recipes for tasty, healthy homemade snack foods.

When we think of crunchy snack food, most folks usually rip open a bag, sit in front of the TV and munch away mindlessly.  Most of the time the snack comes from a bag.

I don’t know about you guys, but when I used to tear open a bag of my favorite snack food, one thing was inevitable: in a few minutes the bag was reduced to crumbs, and my belly was bloated from all the salt, sugar, and extra carbs.  Bagged snack foods are engineered to keep you munching until you are way too full.

Don’t Be Misled…

Photo by Alan Levine

Often people are misled by snack foods that are labeled “organic.”  When something says organic, people tend to think it must be healthy.  Not so. A cookie is a cookie, guys.  A potato chip is a potato chip.

If you can stick to a few, my hat goes off to you.  If you are like the rest of us, those organic packaged snacks might be doing more harm than good.  Next time you grab a bag of your favorite organic pre-packaged snack foods, take a look at the ingredients and calories – not to mention the price. You might want to take matters into your own hands.

Nutrient Dense and Flavor Filled…

With two little kids and no time for extra exercise (yes, I do exercise each and every day, but for no more than about an hour,) I was inspired to start taking control over crunchy snack cravings.  My goals were to use fresh, minimally processed organic ingredients and to keep the nutrient density and flavor high. I wanted crunch with lots of added value. If I choose to eat something, I want it to count in a positive way.

Kid Approved…

I have been enjoying test driving all kinds of homemade snack foods on my three- and six-year-old and my hubs. Today, I am sharing three success stories with you. Two are salty and savory, and one is a bit sweeter.  May I also mention that your costs are greatly reduced when you use whole food ingredients vs. big branded bags? You can also greatly reduce the amount of sodium and sugars compared to the packaged snacks. Good stuff all around.

Super Fit Kale Chips

How much is a bunch of kale? Not so much. How healthy is it? Very!  You can season these with your favorite spices. From curry powder to smoked paprika, anything goes. You can also use them to top salads to add some crunch, instead of croutons.

Super Fit Kale Chips


• one bunch of organic kale
• olive oil spray
• garlic salt or sea salt
• smoked paprika or any other spice you like! (cumin, curry powder, garam masala, Chinese 5 spice, herbs de Provence, thyme, oregano, nutritional yeast, etc…)


Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Rinse kale & dry it well in a salad spinner. Trim leafy parts from stem and tear leaves into bite sized pieces.  Spray kale lightly with olive oil.  Season with salt and/or spices according to taste.  You will find you do not need much salt.  Arrange kale on a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes and turn a few times with tongs while baking to ensure an even crisp n’ crunch on both sides.  Your chips should come out crispy and slightly browned on the edges.  Once they start browning they burn quickly so be sure watch them carefully!  Remove from oven and adjust seasoning if desired.

These chips are best straight out of the oven.  You can still munch on them later; store in a paper bag to keep ’em dry and crispy.

Crispy Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Again, our costs are greatly reduced with these. We get to keep our crunch and nutritional profile high with these crispy chickpeas.  Another bonus: chickpeas are loaded with fiber.  You can go sweet or salty when you bake them…or how about a batch with both?

Crispy Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

• Assume about 1/2 cup per person. Make as many roasted chickpeas as you want!
• As always, use your own taste buds to determine how you want to season your Crispy Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas.
• Roast your Crispy Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas in a big batch so they are ready to grab and go.
• You can use regular olive oil or flavored.


• 3 cups cooked organic chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
• Olive oil to lightly coat chickpeas
• Any seasonings you want.  Consider:  black pepper, rosemary, smoked paprika, oregano, curry powder, chili powder, Chinese 5 spice, herbs de Provence, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ground ginger, ground mustard, allspice, cayenne, hot sauce, maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, etc…..anything goes!


Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Toss chickpeas with spices and a small amount of oil.  Put chickpeas on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake  for about 40 minutes, tossing chickpeas every 10 minutes.  Let chickpeas cool completely before serving.  They get crunchy after they have a chance to cool.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.  Enjoy your healthy, high energy snack!

Cocoa Dusted Hazel Nuggets

Named after my sweet three-year-old son whom we call the “Nugget”, these hazelnuts are so yummy. They have the perfect touch of nutty meets crunch meets chocolate. I modeled the flavor off of the popular Nutella spread. Use your Hazel Nuggets to top thick yogurt parfaits, oatmeal bowls, or just grab them by the handful.

Cocoa Dusted Hazel-Nuggets

• Use organic ingredients when possible.
• Make a big batch here – this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.


• 2 cups organic hazelnuts
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 TB unsweetened organic cocoa powder
• 1 egg white
• 1/4 cup agave syrup or maple syrup
• 1/4 tsp salt
• additional 2 TB sweetened cocoa powder for dusting (or 2 tsp stevia powder and 2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder)


Soak hazelnuts in warm water for one hour and peel off skins (optional).  Preheat oven to 275˚F.  Line a baking sheet with Silpat or parchment.  Whisk together all ingredients (except additional cocoa powder for dusting) until well combined.  Stir to combine hazelnuts in mixture; toss well to coat evenly.  Place coated hazelnuts on lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.  Watch carefully towards the end so they do not burn.  Take hazelnuts out of the oven; let them cool.  Toss nuts in bowl with additional cocoa powder until well dusted.  Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy your Hazel Nuggets!

Have you ever tried making homemade snack foods like these?  Let’s hear about it!