Snacking is a fluent spoken language in our house. We do the majority of cooking at home for most of our meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner. My husband comes and goes throughout the day and doesn't always have time for a sit down meal. I am busy homeschooling and keeping up with housework and our other businesses. And my children, where do I begin? They are the snackiest (is that a word?) humans on the planet! Especially my son. So we do a lot of snacking in-between cooking the meals.
I’m gong to share with you some ways to level up your nutrition game and make snacking a no brainer. Win, win right?!
First things first.....
1. Food pairing
This is so incredibly important. So often we can just reach for a granola bar, maybe a smoothie, some chips or crackers, a protein cookie or a piece of fruit for a snack. While some of these are decent options for a snack, a lot of times, aren’t fulfilling and can leave you wanting more or just going back for another snack within an hour. Grouping foods together will not only aid in healthy digestion and help you attain more optimal nutrition, but it will also help you stay fuller longer.
Did you know, that pairing a vitamin C food with a healthy fat source will help your body absorb the fat better? Crazy right? So instead of just having an avocado for a snack, add some mango salsa to it. Add an apple to your handful of cashews. Have a half of an orange with your cottage cheese, and so on.
2. Try to eat whole food snacks first
Before reaching for a protein cookie or a protein shake, opt for whole food options. If at the end of the day or after a work out, you’d like a protein shake, add something to it to make it better. Yes, it’s important to eat protein snacks, but it’s just as important to get whole foods rather than their processed version counterparts. Some examples of protein dense snacks could be hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese, a whole milk yogurt, Perfect Protein Bar is one of my favorite. Although it's a "bar" you get whole food protein and ton's of other really good things in there. Check them out! **Little tip: I've found them cheapest at Trader Joe's.
3. Have your snacks planned and ready to go
As I said in my last post, I love what Dave Ramsey says about planning. “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.”
This wonderful principle can be applied to any and all areas of our life, including your nutrition. Plan your snacks before you go grocery shopping. Have them on rotation so you don’t get burnt out and you keep your body guessing.
Now are you ready for the biggest, single most greatest piece of snacking advice of all time?
Good, me too, here it is…
Have snacks packaged in serving sizes ready to go. If you haven’t grabbed you a case of these mason jars do yourself a favor and make a trip to Target or Bi-Mart! These are the perfect size for 1 cup of yogurt or cottage cheese, a handful of nuts or a portion of fruits or veggies.
I’ve tried to use glass as much as possible rather than zip locks. Not only are you helping the environment but I think food tastes better and stays fresher longer in glass.
Portion out your snacks in separate containers so when you’re ready to eat, you can just grab something that's the right amount of food conveniently packaged. You can do this with anything really, but we usually do nuts, yogurt, applesauce, cottage cheese, berries etc.
4. Organize your loot
I bought these super cute bins at target.
We have some in our pantry and our refrigerator. When I get home from grocery shopping I load those babies with portioned out snacks for both the adults (my husband and I) and our kiddos. They know exactly where to go for theirs and we always keep them stocked so they aren’t asking for food constantly. If they are hungry they know where to look.
Because snacking is such a huge part of our life, I’ll share with you some of our go-to’s. And like I said before, we always put these in rotation and try and find new ways to make them better or switch up the combos. These are the adult snack combos. I’m sure if your kids aren’t picky you could definitely double these as kid's snacks too. We have one picky eater so we sometimes do a little different combos to the kids bins.
Nancy’s Yogurt with a small amount of granola and berries + some local raw honey
Nuts: cashew, almond, macadamia nuts etc. with a fruit perhaps an apple, pear, banana
veggie and hummus
celery & peanut butter
tuna & avocado
peanut butter and banana
hard boiled egg with a piece of fruit
grass-fed or local jerky & nuts or an apple
string cheese & fruit or veggie
cottage cheese & a fruit
Paleo bar & apple or glass of organic milk
Perfect protein bar with a glass of organic milk or fruit
Stonyfield Yogurt pouches and or tubes.( we freeze the tubes for a frozen treat) yogurt smoothies, or just the cups of yogurt. Love these products!
Applesauce pouches **(Costco has the cheapest option for these!)
Apples, string cheese
Smoothies (I make and freeze in small mason jars.) They love frozen things can you tell? They eat these pretty frozen with a spoon.
**Smoothies: I add all kinds of stuff to their smoothies. That’s how I sneak in their vitamins and minerals and sometimes even greens. I also add protein to them. I’ll post my kids smoothie recipe next!
For pantry items we occasionally do:
Whole grain Goldfish
So basically, planning and packaging snacks makes it a seamless, smooth running process. I hope you got some good nuggets for your family. Let me know any cool hacks you do for snacking! Or different snack options! I love to add to our snack menu!