Let’s be honest: many of us think about snacking … all day long. And, with so many people at home right now, it’s easy to do more than think about it. Whether you’re working, trying to facilitate online learning or some combination of both, everything is a little more complicated – and your favorite treats are probably just a little more tempting.
Make snacking part of your plan.
Snacking is a legitimate way of life now. Most Americans don’t even eat three meals a day anymore – the tally comes to something more like two meals and three snacks or mini-meals. If that’s your reality, it’s better to just break out of the three-meal mentality and prepare accordingly. You should include snacks as part of your regular meal planning and keep your kitchen stocked. If you need to rethink your grocery list of staples, that’s okay!
Make homemade snacks (the easy ones).
When you make snacks at home, you have more control over the ingredients – and more delicious variety! Everyone’s appetite and availability for cooking and baking will vary, but lots of recipes today are designed for busy families. Quick, simple and tasty wins the day.
For example, try these no-bake blueberry coconut energy balls as an alternative to pre-packaged energy bars. They’re easy, full of goodness, and fun for kids to roll. In addition to being yummy, blueberries are rich in vitamins and minerals, and are a good source of fiber – all benefits that make them a snacking star, by the handful or in your favorite recipes.
Make your snacks count.
While snacks don’t need to pack the same punch as a full meal, it’s important to make them work for you. For your “mini-meal” snacks, you’ll want a little more substance, delivering nutritional value and helping you feel full. Try to group two or three different foods in each snack, and include a mix of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. And, of course, don’t forget the fruits and veggies for vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Make your snack an event.
Or, in other words, make your snacks sit-down snacks. One of the easiest ways to overdo it on snacking is to eat mindlessly while multitasking (or, in the kids’ case, just running around). Portion control can go out the window, and the experience just isn’t as satisfying. Whenever you can, pause what you’re doing and just focus on eating your snack. It’s more enjoyable – and, as a bonus, less of a choking hazard. You don’t have to gather everyone around the table, necessarily. Just stop other activities and be in the moment.
Snacking is a joy, and it should be! Food should be delicious and fun, whether it’s a full-on meal or a mid-day snack. Taking a mindful approach to snacking just means we get more out of the entire experience – nutrition, fullness and the great taste we crave.