Snacking Isn’t (Always) The Enemy

For this week’s version of Rave Review Tuesday, I was at a standstill for what I wanted to talk about. I just finished reading Piper Kerman’s Orange Is The New Black, which was excellent, but since I already reviewed the show, I didn’t want to be repetitive. An idea struck me at the gym, as all the best ones do, that instead of reviewing a book, movie, or show, I could talk more about the snacks I enjoy.

Being home a lot more, I tend to eat bigger meals and snack less. However, when I’m busy and on the run, I usually have one or two snacks between meals, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. These range from 100-200 calories depending on how hungry I am, especially if it’s after the gym, which it usually is. Snacks always include a combination of fruits and veggies and protein so that I’m not mindlessly consuming things without ever being satiated.

After the gym today, I came home and started snapping pictures of the most common ingredients one can find in my snacks. Much of what I graze on also happens to be included in my breakfasts, which if you haven’t noticed, is my favorite meal of the day.

I am in no way a photographer, though I did try to array the food in a somewhat fashionable arrangement. I hope this inspires you to up your snack game!

I am a big fan of nuts. Almonds, pecans, cashews, pistachios, I love them all, on their own or in a trail mix. While I sometimes enjoy flavored varieties, I also like them lightly salted. Pair these with some fresh berries or dried fruit and they are a perfect snack combination. My favorite trail mix brand is the Peanut Butter Cup from Trader Joes that includes tiny peanut butter cups, dried cherries, cashews, and almonds.

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There is no denying at this point that I have an obsession with peanut butter. Sometimes I enjoy smearing a tablespoon on a graham cracker or two with chopped banana or berries, especially the chocolate kind.

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If I’m looking to be more indulgent or for a heavier snack to fuel me, I will throw some peanut butter on an English muffin. Look! Pumpkin Spice to kick off the almost fall season.

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Oatmeal is almost a perfect snack as it is a breakfast. I like tossing in some raisins and dates to make it a fruitier adventure.

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Skinny Pop popcorn is better than any kind of popcorn I have ever had, except maybe for the local movie theater’s popcorn, but only because they use real butter.

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Pardon the sad look of this fruit bowl. We are in desperate need of a trip to the grocery store as that bowl is teeming with fresh apples, peaches, plums, and banana on the regular. You also know my affinity for blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and when my allergies allow it, cherries.

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You can never go wrong with hummus and veggie sticks. Very often, these bad boys will show up in my lunch because it is an excellent way to get in a ton of vegetables. My favorites are celery, carrots, and red pepper, but you can almost use any veggie as a dipper. I’m not too picky on my hummus, though I am hoping to give making it on my own another go.

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Greek yogurt is so good for you and it is lucky that it’s really the only kind of yogurt I like. I do try to stick to the plain variety and add my own fruits and nuts, though I cannot resist the goodness that is Chobani’s Coconut blended flavor. So good with raspberries or blueberries and even on its own, which the plain is not. Again, we are running low on the fruit.

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For convenience, nothing beats a hard-boiled egg and a cheesestick. I love the pepper jack because it is flavorful both with the egg and an apple, during the seasons I can eat them.

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Growing up, I was never one to frequent the cereal section of my cabinets. Every so often, I will have a craving for it, and when combined with milk and fruit, especially strawberries and banana, I am a happy camper. For me, the Raisin Bran Crunch is a bit of an indulgence because it contains a ton of sugar, but it’s my favorite and I don’t have it in excess. I am new to the Puffins train, but hello, peanut butter flavor! Also, honey nut Cheerios are actually my favorite, but we don’t have them in stock.

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I am also a big fan of nachos. I don’t normally order them myself as I try to stick to plain old, but still tasty chips and salsa, but if someone else orders them, I can’t help myself. At home, I can make them a lot healthier, keeping portions appropriate, especially the cheesy goodness. Tossing some chopped veggies like peppers, spinach, and tomatoes on top also makes it even healthier and more filling. Sometimes, I’ll throw some black beans, corn, and a dollop of Greek yogurt to have them for lunch! My favorite tortilla brand is Green Mountain, but, you guessed it, we ran out.

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Don’t get me wrong, on some occasions, I’ll find myself dipping into Cheezit boxes or zeroing in on the Oreos, and that’s just fine so long as I stay aware of portions. The biggest thing that gets people in trouble with snacking is the mindless grazing. With any meal, it’s important to pay attention to the quantity and quality of what is in front of you. A friend who dabbled a bit in advertising for snack companies said that the best snack, to them, are the ones that people can eat without feeling full.

And we wonder why we have weight and health problems running rampant in this country.

I will often prepack these snacks after measuring out servings so that I don’t ever eat too much. By paying better attention to the nutrition of the snacks, you will notice that your hunger signals have been satisfied and can move on until your next meal.

My biggest word of advice when it comes to snacking, passed onto me by my mom: never walk away with the box. Take out what you want, enjoy, but don’t keep coming back for more.

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