January is a pretty quiet month in the wake of the December holidays. Many people, myself included, turn inwards, thinking of ways to improve themselves, their lives, or the world at large. One always-popular New Year’s resolution is the lose weight/get fit/eat healthier category. I applaud the spirit behind this resolution! I firmly believe a healthier life is a happier life
But I must confess something here. I don’t diet. Ever. I hope I never find myself wishing I could lose weight because I think it’s far easier said than done. I’m not trying to brag here, but my happiness with my weight might convince you that my next point is worth considering.
For several years now, I have been on a low-key but continual mission to eat healthier. It’s not at all about self-denial. Instead, this effort is my attempt to eat foods I love without compromising health. What’s the evidence that I don’t deny myself? Pizza, pasta, chocolate, cheese, cookies, peanut butter—all of these foods are essential to my diet! But it’s hardly a list of “diet” foods.
Remember Nutty Buddies? Those chocolate-peanut-butter-wafer cookie things made by Little Debbie? I used to LOVE Nutty Buddies and ate them daily. They had such a wonderful peanut buttery flavor and crispy, flaky crunch. Very satisfying. The problem with Nutty Buddies is that they don’t offer much in the way of nutrition. More problematic, in my opinion, is the fact that they are a highly processed food. I won’t saddle you now with the nutrition information about Nutty Buddies; my point is that I no longer eat these things. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss them! In an attempt to “recreate” a healthier Nutty Buddy, I spread thick layers of peanut butter on sourdough Wasa crackers, sandwiched them together, and topped with a handful of miniature chocolate chips. I made it for an afternoon snack at work and couldn’t wait to try it…
My fake Nutty Buddy was…okay. It was certainly peanut buttery and chocolatey; the main problem is that Wasa crackers are just so darn crunchy! They are among the crunchiest crackers I have ever eaten. As a whole-grain product, they are fabulously low in calories and high in fiber, but I’m afraid all that fiber needs to be softened a tad for my fake Nutty Buddy to be truly delicious. I’m not sure how to accomplish this: a peanut butter sauce? Honey? Maple syrup? A tablespoon or two of milk? I am open to suggestions here!
I am not discouraged by this result, though. I don’t really long to eat an old-fashioned Nutty Buddy; if I did, I’d just eat one and that would be that. I actually enjoy the process of making healthier versions of the foods I love. Perhaps I will unlock the secret to a yummy health-foodie Nutty Buddy. In the meantime, I’ll share with you my first attempt at it.
Health-Foodie Nutty Buddy
This snack is not a low-calorie food by any means. I use it as an afternoon snack to tide me over until dinner time. Eat it with a piece of fresh fruit and feel healthy.
3 sourdough Wasa crackers (generally available at natural foods stores like Whole Foods)
~3 tbsp. peanut butter, or to taste
1-2 tbsp. miniature chocolate chips, or to taste
Spread each Wasa cracker with ~1 tbsp. peanut butter. Stack crackers with peanut butter layer between them and on the top layer. Sprinkle top layer with chocolate chips. Eat.