Fresh carrots, scrubbed clean with the tops left on for fun, make a sweet treat for children and adults alike. Once you dice, slice, grate and shred the carrots, you have an almost unlimited supply of healthy snacks to choose from. Either cook carrots first or shred them finely for children under 4, since diced or sliced raw carrots or carrot sticks present a choking danger. Carrots offer vibrant color — pair them with other colorful produce and you’ll have a beautiful snack that offers great taste.
Dips Two Ways
Carrot sticks turn into special treats when you add delicious dips for them, like homemade hummus or store-bought creamy salad dressings, such as ranch or blue cheese. Avoid extra calories by choosing low-calorie versions. Alternatively, roasted carrots serve as the base for a carrot dip when you puree each cup of cooked carrots with 1 tablespoon of oil, a little roasted garlic, chopped rosemary and white beans. Serve the dip with crackers or pita chips.
With a supply of grated carrots you can create snack-size salads whenever you want. Choose from a traditional carrot and raisin salad moistened with a bit of mayonnaise or plain yogurt; or choose an Asian carrot salad, sprinkling the carrots with a little rice vinegar and toasted sesame seeds. Add a handful of toasted peanuts or almonds or a dab of leftover chicken to any snack salad for protein that will keep you satisfied until dinnertime.
Carrots, With Crackers Optional
Large carrots cut into rounds serve as snack bases, topped with peanut butter and thin apple slices. Or set the rounds on crackers for more filling snacks. Other spreads include cream cheese, hummus or a dab of butter — even butter is a healthy option if you use it in moderation. Finish your creations with spices that pair well with carrots, such as allspice, coriander and cinnamon, or add a sprig of parsley or dill.
Cooked carrot snacks take longer to make than raw snacks, but they last for up to a week. Small carrot muffins, carrot cookies or carrot bread turn into healthy snacks when you experiment with adding less sugar to your recipes. The carrots themselves add moisture so you can use smaller amounts of fat. Or make pickled carrots by simmering carrot sticks briefly with 1 cup of white vinegar for each pound of carrots, with about 1 tablespoon each of sugar and salt, and letting the carrots marinate in the liquid overnight.
References and ResourcesKids Eat Right: 24-Carrot Health
Cooking Light: 12 Healthy Snacks
Saveur: Roasted Carrot and White Bean Dip
Fruits and Veggies More Matters: Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Carrots
The Flavor Bible; Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
My Recipes: Mustard and Ginger Pickled Carrots
The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion; Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst