The votes are in! I received more votes via email than in the comments of my "Vacation" post, but that's OK...I'm just glad that you cared enough to vote!
Snacks From Scratch is the winner...but only by a few votes! Costco and Aldi was a popular choice as well. Because so many of you would like to hear more about Costco and Aldi, I decided to dedicate a month to that topic. Look for that series in September or October.
Here are my thoughts on making snacks from scratch (just in time for back-to-school!):
1. Anything homemade ~ regardless of how sugary, chocolatey, gooey, or "bad for you" ~ is still going to be better for you than most things you purchase in a box, can, or bag. Most store-bought snacks contain preservatives, artificial colors, and lots of ingredients that we can't pronounce. Our family is trying to reduce the amount of processed food we consume, and while I don't think I'll ever completely eliminate them from our diet, we're getting a good start. And making our snacks at home contributes to that goal.
2. I still buy Doritos, Oreos, and sugar cereals...but they're more of a treat than a regular part of our diet. Our kids are slowly getting on board with this: my daughters read the ingredient lists, and label foods "healthy" or "bad for us!" depending on how many ingredients they can't pronounce. They're discovering healthy snacks they like (Greek yogurt, homemade granola bars), and they all love homemade bran muffins, cookies, and bars.
3. Don't take this to mean that you'll never see recipes here that call for processed food. Even some of the snack recipes I'll post this month will contain ingredients that come out of a box, can, or bag. We're eating LESS processed food, but we're not hard-core about it...so bear with me while I get this balance thing figured out :)
4. It takes time to make homemade snacks! There's no way around it: it's going to take longer to bake a pan of bars than to pick up a box of Little Debbies at Meijer. I'm not here to judge you for buying snacks at the store...there have been plenty of weeks when I knew I wouldn't have time to bake, so I grabbed those Twinkies without a second thought.
5. Sometimes making snacks from scratch is cheaper than buying them from the store. But not always. Only you can decide what's important to your family...and that might vary from week to week.
6. Don't be afraid to experiment! You can make almost anything at home. Google your favorite processed snack food to find a copycat recipe. The end result might not LOOK the same as the original, but it's usually similar in taste. Sometimes your experiment will flop, but don't get discouraged...pick a different recipe for the same food and see if you get better results.
Stay tuned for plenty homemade snack recipes. I hope you enjoy this series!