If I had a nickel for every time I heard, "Momma, can I have a snack?" I would be typing this to you from my private jet, heading toward my next destination on my trip around the world.
Alas, nickels don't come that easily but that doesn't stop my kids' non-stop solicitation.
I am not being fair. My mob of three are not the only snackers in this house. I have been known to rummage through the fridge and cabinets looking for something to hold me over between meals or as I am heading out the door to tackle 29,375 errands.
The thing about snacks is that if we are not careful they can wreck havoc on our diet. In fact, once, when I committed to a few days of food journaling, I realized that my daily snacks were adding up to at least another full meal. If not more!
Snacking can further turn our eating habits and healthy lifestyle upside down because they seem small, insignificant and harmless. Right? I mean, it's just one little piece of cake. Or just one (or 2 or 3) muffins. What is the big deal with one itty, bitty handful of chocolate chips?
The kids didn't even catch me so it doesn't count!
Kidding! We all know better.
And many of us try to clean up our snacking habits in a variety of ways.
The way I see it, there are really only 3 snack rules busy moms like us need to follow in order to keep snacking in check and make sure that snacks are a nutritious part of our overall healthy lifestyle:
Snacks should be pre-planned when possible, snacks should be a veggie or a fruit, and if not, it should be packed by you with the best choices possible.
1. Snacks should be pre-planned.
If you have a prep-day set aside, planning snacks should be a part of that preparation. If not, that is ok. Just give some thought to what snacks you want on hand BEFORE you find yourself hungry and ready to reach for anything that can't run away fast enough. (We have all been there.) If you are choosing a healthy, whole food like carrots or almonds, simply break those up into reasonable serving sizes and have them ready to grab and go!
2. Snacks should be a whole food choice, preferably a vegetable or fruit.
This rule is pretty straight forward and doesn't need much explanation. Peppers, celery, carrots, grape tomatoes, avocado, snow peas, apples, bananas... the list goes on. Things like peppers and carrots can be cleaned, chopped and bagged ahead of time. But something as perfect as an apple is begging to be tossed in your bag on your way out of the door! A whole, healthy choice is always best.
3. Pack your own snacks.
Even if you are not grabbing chopped peppers or a yummy banana everyday, you should still be in charge of the choices you make for your snack. Packing your own snacks means that you can make the healthiest choices that are right for you. You can avoid preservatives, additives and other ingredients you may not want in your snacks. Instead of a pre-packaged hummus snack pack, you can easily make your own hummus with a few simple ingredients and create your own "snack pack". Lots of places conveniently sell "energy snack packs", but you can quickly put one together for yourself! Grab some fruits and berries and some cheese or a hard boiled egg. You can rest assured that there are no hidden ingredients to worry about when you have prepped your own food.
Just like our main meals, our snacks should be whole, healthy food choices that are nutritious and energizing. Following these three simple rules makes healthy snacking EASY!