Smart Snacks in a Snap

 The following blog post is writte by Madelaine Frye. It is the third (be sure to catch up on week 1 and week 2 if you haven't already!) in a series of 5 blogs she will be writing chronicling her experience as a Nutrition Instructor. Madelaine is teaching OFL as part of a Service Learning Class that has teamed up North Carolina State Students with the Inter Faith Food Shuttle’s OFL/Nutrition Program. Through this partnership the IFFS and NCSU hope to engage students in service learning and community nutrition while expanding the reach of its OFL program. My name is Madelaine Frye and I am a senior Nutrition student at NC State. I have been reporting to you all on how our Side By Side classes at the Knightdale Head Start location have been progressing through our six-week healthy lifestyle adventure. Week three in the OFL Side by Side class sure was full of exciting activities, along with lots of snacking!

This week in class we all learned about ways to eat healthy when we eat out, how to read the nutrition facts label, and tricks on snacking smart. We started off our class by making, and enjoying, some mango salsa together. One of the things that we all learned during class was that mangoes can be very tough to cut. They have a core that runs through the entire center of the fruit that makes it impossible to cut down the middle. Chef Jay taught us all that we must cut down each of the sides until we get as close to the center of the mango as we can. Be careful to tuck your finger in whenever using knives so you don’t cut yourself! Mangoes also have a tough outer layer, almost like an orange. They can be peeled the same way that an orange can, but if you’re having trouble, you can also use a metal peeler to help out.

One of the other fruits that we had to cut and squeeze were limes. This part of cooking was our class gardener’s, Byron Green, favorite part. “What I enjoyed the most about cooking today was not only learning so much about mangoes, but was also learning fun new tricks for when we are going to use limes.” A quick, but very useful, tip that Chef Jay taught us all was to roll the lime on your cutting board for a few seconds before cutting it. This loosens the juice pockets within the lime, allowing the juice to be squeezed out easier and not squirt as much. “I can use this tip not only on limes, but also lemons and any other citrus fruits I want to use!” Byron said.

Another snack we made this week were mini pizzas. These are quick, easy and very tasty! Try to make some of these healthy snacks with your family, too.

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

serves 8, 6 chips per serving


  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Non-stick cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Cut each corn tortilla into six wedges.
  3. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Spread tortilla slices out on baking sheet.
  5. Lightly spray the chips with non-stick cooking spray to prevent burning.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Chef’s Notes:

  • Try whole-wheat tortillas instead of corn tortillas.
  • If serving the chips with savory or salty foods, sprinkle garlic powder before baking.
  • For a sweet treat, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar before baking.
  • Try serving with salsa, hummus, bean dip, or chili.

Mango Salsa

serves 6, ½ cup per serving


  • 2 large ripe mangoes
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 2 medium green onions
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper
  • 2 medium limes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Optional:  ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Rinse mangoes, cucumber, green onions, jalapeno pepper, and limes.
  2. Peel and cut mangoes from their pits. Cut mangoes into slices.
  3. Slice cucumber in half lengthwise. Remove seeds, using a spoon. Cut cucumber into slices.
  4. Dice mango and cucumber slices and place in a small serving bowl.
  5. Finely chop green onions and add to bowl. Remove seeds from jalapeno, dice pepper, and add to mixture.
  6. Cut limes in half and help child squeeze juice into the bowl. Remove any seeds.
  7. Measure and stir in salt. If using cilantro, rinse and tear leaves into small pieces, then add to salsa.
  8. Add cayenne pepper, mix well, cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Chef’s Notes:

    • Mangoes usually feel a little softer and tend to turn more orange or red in color when they are ripe.
    • Be careful when handling the jalapeno pepper. Be sure not to touch your eyes, and make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after touching the raw pepper or it will burn.
    • Removing seeds from the jalapeno will make the salsa less spicy – try using less jalapeno for a milder salsa.
    • Try serving mango salsa as a dip with tortilla chips, as a topping for fresh fish or pork, or as a topping for black bean soup or tacos.