Valentine’s Day is a bit controversial. Is it designed to benefit companies who use it as a reason to get you to buy something for a contrived and unnecessary holiday? Or is it a dedicated day to celebrate the rarity of true love, and shower your sweetheart with affection? Whatever emotions this February day elicits in you, positive or negative, you might compensate by snacking. And if you do, I’ve got a festive snack mix that might meet your needs. It feels like a sweet treat, but I’ve rounded it out with some healthy ingredients so it’s not a complete dive off the nutrition deep end. Take a peek at my recipe for Healthy Valentine Snack Mix.
It comes together lickety-split, has only 6 ingredients, and there’s no cooking required. With less than 5 minutes of effort, you’ll be rewarded with a crunchy colorful snack for yourself, or to share with your crush, your Galentine, your bestie, your mom, your neighbor, your colleague, your niece, or your main squeeze.
The basic recipe is pretty adaptable, and you could make substitutions based on your preferences or what you can find at the store around Valentine’s Day. I’ve listed out some options below:
The light color of Rice Chex works best here, but really any Chex will do, including Corn or Wheat. If your goal is a high fiber snack, opt for Wheat Chex as they offer four times as much fiber as Rice or Corn Chex.
Kashi Warm Cinnamon Organic Oat Cereal
This is really my top choice for this snack mix, as the kiss of cinnamon enhances the whole blend of flavors. But my grocery stores were out this week, so I opted for Kashi Organic Honey Toasted Oat Cereal instead and it was pretty much just as lovely.
Part of the appeal of this cereal is that it has heart-shaped pieces. While I was strolling the cereal aisle, I noticed two others with the same festive trait: General Mills Chocolate Cheerios Cereal Pouches and General Mills Limited Edition Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. (Apparently, they do this every year.) These substitutions would certainly change the overall flavor, but who knows, it might be wonderful.
The tartness of the strawberries is absolutely perfect in this mix, and the red color completes the Valentine’s color palate. I bet freeze-dried raspberries would work dandy as well.
Valentine-themed Yogurt Covered Pretzels
I got Zachary Valentine Pretzels but they’re only available seasonally. I found them at Fred Meyer/Kroger, so keep your eye out, or just replace with the plain white Flipz pretzels which are more widely available.
Valentine-themed Candy Corn
Again, I relied on Zachary, but this time it was their Valentine Corn. The unique color is so essential to the look of the snack mix, I’m not sure what a good replacement would be except maybe red gumdrops, Valentine-themed mellowcreme candy, or maybe red or pink Mike & Ikes.
The mild-mannered creaminess of cashews is just what this snack mix needs, but I feel sure raw almonds would be a reasonable stand-in.
Nutritionally speaking, this snack mix has more going for it than most Valentine’s treats. It offers whole grain (oats!), fiber (rice cereal!), antioxidants (strawberries!), and healthy unsaturated fats (cashews!). When mixed with candy and pretzels, the overall flavor is fantastic and sweetly balanced.
However you choose to spend your romance-themed holiday, a little Valentine snack mix might bring some holiday cheer or simply some satisfyingly sweet snacking.