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Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

Snacking is a joy. Snacking is a gift. And, now, snacking is the easy mealtime solution that saves time, pleases picky eaters and still tastes delicious.

We all need the quick wins right now. Many of us have cycled through several phases over the last few months. Maybe you stockpiled more than you intended or tried to pull off some complicated feats of baking. It’s been an interesting time!

Now, after weeks of homeschooling, working from home and other assorted home-focused adventures, we can embrace the simple and satisfying. Behold … the snack-meal phenomenon! This popular new trend is exactly what it sounds like: combining a bunch of snacks to make a meal. Perhaps most importantly, it’s an option that can be nutritious and realistic to pull off in the middle of a long day.

Here are four key benefits of the snack-meal:

It’s healthy.
Or it can be – if you use a healthful mix of ingredients, including bright, colorful fruits and veggies. Blueberries, for example, are nutrient-rich and a good source of Vitamin C and dietary fiber. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps the immune system work properly. Wellness is definitely a smart priority right now. Dietary fiber helps to keep us feeling full and staying “regular.”

It’s thrifty.
Snack-meals are a creative way to make the most of what you have on hand. You can use the canned and frozen fruits and veggies you’ve collected, get a little more variety out of your bulk purchases and minimize food waste. Get as simple or as fancy as you like!

It’s adventurous.
For the adults in your family, it’s fun to mix new flavors or ingredients, pairing up all your favorite things to nibble on. For the kids, having an all-snack dinner is a big thrill – and can be even more of a novelty if you add in compartmentalized containers like bento boxes.

It’s adaptable.
There’s a huge range of personal tastes, dietary needs and cultural preferences to consider. The snack-meal concept is flexible, allowing each person and family to assemble the mix of foods that works best for them. (It’s also a great opportunity to try something new!)

Now, if you’re wondering how to construct your snack-meal, you don’t need to spend hours planning or prepping – you just need to remember these three core components: protein, good fats and complex carbs. Here are a few examples to get you started.

Complex carbs = dietary fiber
Blueberries, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower

Protein
Hummus, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt

Good Fats
Avocados, nuts and nut butter, cheese

You also can add whole grains like crackers, oat bran muffins and popcorn. And, don’t be afraid to include a little treat, too.

One family-tested favorite: Easy No-Bake Glazed Blueberry Oat Bars. They make a yummy alternative to pre-packaged energy bars, and they’re full of blueberries, which are rich in vitamins and minerals and serve as a good source of fiber. That’s why blueberries – which are infinitely portable and don’t require refrigeration – are a go-to favorite in bento boxes across the land. You can add them by the handful or in one of many snackable, packable recipes.

Complicated times call for decidedly uncomplicated choices. Snack-meals allow you to have it all in one convenient package – ease, delicious taste and healthful goodness. After all, you don’t need to overthink healthy eating. Just keep it simple with no-stress approaches like The Blueberry Method – buy, eat and love blueberries – and enjoy your snacks, meals and everything in between.

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