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Heart-Healthy, Allergy-Friendly Snacks: Time to Mix It Up

Writers are quirky people. Sometimes, superstitious people. Or at least very set in their ways. They often work alone…and so they snack alone. Some quirky writers even like specific snacks every time they sit down to work. Steinbeck chewed on cold toast; Lemony Snicket likes unpeeled carrots. This snacking tendency doesn’t stop at those famous names. I know one writer who requires Oreo breaks as a reward for completing her daily goals. Personally, I need something crunchy to keep my brain and fingers going when I write at my day job on medical journals and health publications. The first difficulty always is finding healthy crunchy options (instead of potato chips), of course. My 2017 healthy, crunchy snacking effort actually started years ago, when I had to give up Cheeze-Its in the house for my dairy-allergic daughter, a change that probably bought me many more years of healthy living than I appreciated at the time. More recently, I’ve been honing the healthy snack effort into a new daily habit. After decades with a faulty heart valve and a few more years of rapid decline, an aneurysm, and high blood pressure, I had to give up my beloved oil-coated kettle corn (my potato chip replacement of choice until 2015). Now that I have a new valve, I want to keep it healthy as long as I can. I have three staples right now: raw (peeled) carrots, homemade unbaked wheat Chex mix with almonds and cranberries, and air-popped popcorn. The options are getting a little stale, though, and most of my other snacking efforts (drying those chick peas!) require at least some kitchen time, which I don’t have when I’m busy with work+kids on weekdays. 2017 is my year to experiment with flavor variations on my favorite staples…and maybe come across some new additions. I’m not opposed to snacks that I can make ahead, with some planning, either (and then hide from my kids to save for myself!). What are your favorite snacking combinations, dips, or flavors? Leave them here or on my latest blog post: Eating Our Way to Healthy Hearts (http://foodallergypantry.weebly.com/the-cookbook-apothecary-blog/eating-our-way-to-healthy-hearts)

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