Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Party Snack Mix

Low Sodium Party Snack Mix
Everyone loves crunchy snacks! Whether it’s potato chips, popcorn, cheesy crackers, trail mix, or pretzels – they’re tasty and fun to eat. Unless you’re on a low sodium diet, that is. Then it can be hard to find suitable snacks that are satisfyingly crunchy, tasty, and low in sodium. Thank goodness products like unsalted potato chips and tortilla chips are becoming easier to find in most grocery stores.

But one of my favorite snacks will never be considered a low sodium treat. I’m talking about cereal-based party mix. Unfortunately, it’s a sodium nightmare. Sodium laden cereal; salted nuts, pretzels, and bagel chips; along with salted butter, and seasoned salt. What a boatload of salt! The good news is that if you change the ingredients, you can create a super crunchy and tasty treat, just as good as the original but without all the sodium. And you can use better quality ingredients and change the proportions a bit to make it a nutritious, fiber rich snack too.

I’ve been making this low sodium snack treat for a few years now. The only downside is that it is so irresistible that I want to eat more than I should at one sitting. I use salt free bite-size shredded wheat and whole grain corn puffs as a cereal base. I also add a slightly sweet low sodium cereal and unsalted pretzels. I increased the amounts of nuts/seeds used to give the snack mix more nutrition and protein. (Nuts.com is a good source for all kinds of unsalted raw and toasted nuts/seeds.) Finally, I use unsalted butter, NSA seasoning blends (usually Forward from Penzeys), and low sodium Worcestershire sauce (French’s or Lea & Perrins). The end result is a great snack that doesn’t last long at our house.
Ready for Seasoning
One great thing about the recipe is that it can be easily doubled or tripled if you have a crowd. Also, it’s very flexible. Measurements and quantities don’t have to be exact. A little more or less of anything won’t make much of a difference. I avoid using small nuts or seeds. I think sunflower and sesame seeds would get lost in the mix, but pepitas are a really nice size. Their green color is a welcome addition too. Pistachios, almonds, and peanuts are great nut choices. I particularly like  pistachios. They’re the perfect size and texture with a delicious flavor and unusual green color.

LOW SODIUM PARTY MIX
6 Cups “Stuff”: Mix and match to suit your taste – just be sure to use a total of 6 cups.
3 Cups Low Sodium/NSA Cereal (See examples below)
2 Cups Unsalted Nuts/Seeds (See examples below)
1 Cup Unsalted Pretzels (See examples below)

Flavorings:
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Worcestershire Sauce:
1 Teaspoon NSA Seasoning Blend of Choice
½ Teaspoon NSA Garlic Powder
½ Teaspoon NSA Onion Powder
Ready for Oven/Microwave
Microwave Directions:
In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals, nuts, and pretzels; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated. Microwave uncovered on High 4 to 5 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.

Oven Directions:
Heat oven to 250 degrees. In a large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, and pretzels; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated. Pour cereal mixture into large ungreased roasting pan. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.
Baking
VARIATIONS
Asian:
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Tablespoon NSA Toasted Sesame Oil
1 – 2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce (Depending on sodium content)
½ Teaspoon Sugar
½ Teaspoon Powdered Ginger
½ Teaspoon NSA Onion Powder
½ Teaspoon NSA Garlic Powder
¼ – ½ Teaspoon NSA 5 Spice Powder (Optional)

South of the Border:
Substitute  1 – 2 Tablespoons low sodium taco sauce for Worcestershire
Season with a chili flavored NSA blend

Barbecue:
Substitute  1 – 2 Tablespoons low sodium barbecue sauce for Worcestershire
Season with favorite NSA barbecue dry rub
Ready for Munching
INGREDIENT EXAMPLES

Cereals:
O Organics Wheat Squares – 100 Mg/ ¾ Cup
Barbara’s Honest O’s Multigrain – 20 Mg/1 Cup
Barbara’s Multigrain Puffins – 80 Mg/ ¾ Cup

Unsalted Pretzels:
Unsalted Large (Broken into 1-Inch Pieces)

Nuts/Seeds:
Roasted & Unsalted Pepitas/Pumpkin Seeds (No Shell)
Dry Roasted Unsalted Peanuts
Unsalted Almonds (whole or slivered)



2 comments:

Becky G. said...

I think I may cry! I have recently been diagnosed with Meniere's disease and also am a salt addict. This was the one thing I have been so very sad about was my beloved fall treat of snack mix. Now I have hope! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you also for the helpful links. It is hard finding resources for NSA and lowso items that my grocery store doesn't carry!

shambo said...

Becky, thank you for your kind words. I understand how difficult this low sodium journey is at the beginning. I wish you the best! Don't let yourself get overly discouraged. You will, over time, develop some good and tasty recipes and find lots of low sodium products and resources.

I know what you mean about the snack mix. It really is tasty and crunchy and satisfies that craving for a savory snack. In fact, today making some of the Mexican inspired mix is on my agenda. We like a small bowlful as an afternoon snack. And, I'm not kidding, with all the spices, it tastes really good.

Again, wishing you the best. Please continue to write if you have any concerns.