Sustainable Snacks

Happy New Year! I’ve made it my New Year’s Resolution to work hard this year on reducing my use of plastic. I’m seeing more and more that most of our plastic usage comes from our food. While we dutifully recycle, I’m overwhelmed at times by the amount of plastic food containers that we’re recycling on a weekly basis. After attending a local event about a plastic bag ban that is trying to gain traction in my small city, I realized how insane it is that food manufacturers use a non-renewable resource to make plastic containers that we’ll use for just a few minutes (a single-serve yogurt container or a chip package) or a few days (plastic spinach container, other packaged produce).

I’ve been trying to change my shopping habits to come home with less plastic and have had success with bringing my own produce bags to get loose fruits and veggies and bringing my own cotton bags to make use of bulk food options. The real stumbling block seems to be snacks — which I love and can’t just do without. Almost every snack option is packaged individually and then the individual packages are packaged again. I love granola bars, but knowing that it tends to be true that the more flexible the plastic, the more challenging it is to recycle, I can’t stomach throwing a dozen wrappers in the garbage each week.

So, I’m on a quest to try to make as many of my own snacks as possible. I tried this recipe this week and was able to get most of the ingredients in non-plastic ways — shredded coconut and chocolate chips proved a bit challenging, but I purchased these in the largest sizes that I could find to avoid having to buy them frequently.

These coconut chocolate chip balls were delicious and very easy to make. A word of advice, though — the maple syrup makes them very sticky and I found it difficult to ball once I’d done the first few. However, they harden up well in the fridge, so even a poorly congealed ball will stay together after being chilled.

No Bake Chocolate Chip Coconut Energy Bites

1 cup oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup maple syrup (which I’m sure could be replaced by honey if desired)
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla