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What is Ants on a Log?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2016
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Ants on a log is a snack food which is especially popular among American children, although various versions are made in other regions of the world as well. This snack is easy to make, and it can be a good introduction to the kitchen for young children who are just learning to prepare food. In addition to being popular with some kids and adults, ants on a log is also viewed as a healthy snack by many nutritionists, making it a favorite among some parents.

The basic ants on a log recipe starts with celery sticks which have been washed and dried. Peanut butter is spread onto the celery, and then raisins are perched on top of the peanut butter; if the imagination is stretched for a moment, one could think that the raisins were large ants sitting on a small log. Ants on a log is usually eaten as a finger food, although fastidious eaters could theoretically use a knife and a fork.

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This basic recipe has a number of variations. The peanut butter may be chunky or creamy, or another type of nut butter altogether could be used, such as cashew or almond butter. Cream cheese and other soft cheeses might replace the peanut butter, or adventurous cooks could use jams and chutneys. Other dried fruits such as cranberries, chopped apricots, or apples could be used instead of raisins, or things like chocolate chips, fresh fruit, and nuts could stand in for the “ants.” Some cooks replace the celery sticks with pretzels, for picky eaters who don't like celery. In “ants on vacation,” the raisins are left off altogether, leaving celery sticks and filling.

This snack food is generally considered healthy because peanut and nut butters are high in protein, while dried fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals, and celery is a largely calorie-neutral food. When ingredients like cream cheese and chocolate chips are used, ants on a log is a bit less healthy, but it's still better than cookies, potato chips, and many other packaged snack foods, making it a sound choice for a children's snack.

Ants on a log can potentially be packed in a lunch, ideally wrapped in plastic or packaged in a small reusable container so that the peanut butter doesn't smear everywhere. More commonly, it's served on a plate after school or at recess.

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mobilian33
Post 3

So many kids are allergic to peanut butter now that you might have to find something to take the place of the peanut butter in the ants on a log dish. My niece can't even smell peanut butter without having an allergic reaction. It is really scary.

Sporkasia
Post 2

@Animandel - There are so many possible substitutions for the raisins that I bet you could find something your kids would eat. The article lists several really good ones. You could also find a substitute for the celery, but the flavor of the celery is going to be overpowered by the peanut butter anyway, so maybe you wouldn't to worry about that.

However, maybe for your kids, celery is more of a texture issue than taste. I love celery, but I do have a problem with the texture of raisins, but I am able to get past the texture and eat them anyway. I agree that ants on a log does sound like a good snack.

Animandel
Post 1

Unfortunately, I would have a better chance of getting my kids to eat actual ants on a log than this snack. Peanut butter they love, but celery is definitely out, no negotiating. I can sometimes slip raisins into a dish without them noticing them, but once they find out that's the last bite they will take. Actually, I do have one who will eat raisins.

However, this does sound like a healthy snack. Finding healthy snacks my kids like as well as they like the sugar filled snacks is a challenge.

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