Restaurant News & Reviews

Best Bite: Imaginative snacks for the classroom or office

A whole-wheat flatbread or tortilla with peanut butter and Sriracha makes a great snack, reminiscent of a more complex Asian peanut sauce.
A whole-wheat flatbread or tortilla with peanut butter and Sriracha makes a great snack, reminiscent of a more complex Asian peanut sauce. The Bellingham Herald

Students returned to school this month, and for parents who want to make sure their children are eating right, that means preparing lunches and snacks that are both appetizing and portable. Ditto for college students and workaday folks who want to eat right but not spend forever on food preparation.

Sure, it’s easy to dump your favorite potato chips in a plastic sandwich bag and call it good. But what about nutrition, imagination and a little variety?

Chantel Gardner of Sudden Valley notes that many schools – citing the risk to kids with deadly food allergies — ask parents to avoid sending nut snacks.

“For me it’s almonds,” Gardner said. “For my kids, cheese sticks, sliced fruit, granola bars, dried seaweed.”

My own daughter loves seaweed snacks, especially for late-night cravings. Crispy kale chips, too.

Women’s Health magazine offers a list of 28 “guilt-free” snacks — from raspberries in a hefty dollop of yogurt to sliced tomatoes with feta and olive oil and baby carrots with hummus for dipping. likes single-serving packets of nut butters and seed spreads, such as those from Justin’s and Nutzo’s. also recommends apricots or dried plums to beat the midday sugar cravings.

Looking for more protein in your pick-me-up? Try jerky, fish in a pouch or smoked salmon like Anne Moseness of Sudden Valley does. “I harvested wild salmon for many years,” she said, and she smoked and candied her own fish for snacks.

Appeals on social media brought several responses, and here are my favorite:

Top five snacks

Apple: The most portable of snacks just never gets old. The range of new varieties means there’s an endless choice of flavors from Ambrosia to Zestar. Meagan Kiene of Bellingham said she pairs her apples with coconut almond Kind bars.

Vegetables: For a variation on carrots and celery sticks, try a finger-food salad of sugar-snap peas, radishes and small bell peppers.

Beef sticks, jerky or smoked fish: Chelsey Clark of Bellingam swears by Hempler’s beef sticks, salt and pepper cashews from WinCo and Lara bars. Julia Wolfensberger of Bellingham loves her homemade beef jerky. “Always better then the factory made and a lot cheaper,” she said.

Roll-up: Spread peanut butter and a splash of Sriracha hot sauce on a tortilla or flatbread, and roll it into a burrito.

Rice Krispies treats: James Adam makes a sort of sandwich from the classic Rice Krispies Treats. “I split them in half,” he said. “I like to spread creamy peanut butter with the nuts and raspberry jam between them.”

Reach Robert Mittendorf at 360-756-2805 or