There’s an art to snacking. Sure, anyone can grab a handful of chips and be done with it. But hitting your snacking needs head on? That takes years of experience. Decades of perfecting the nibbles. I figure by the time I’m sixty-five I’ll have this thing down pat.
But, for now, here is my handy dandy snacking guideline.
Yes, I know it’s not good to eat your way through stress, but the reality is ($#)it happens. The key to killer stress snacking is identifying the general source of your stress. Small kids making you want to tear your hair out? Bite sized chocolate – sweet enough to release endorphins, small enough to pop in your mouth behind a pantry door. Surly teenagers driving you to drink? You know what goes great with your beer/wine/cocktail? Think salty – peanuts, chips and salsa, pretzels, Pringles. All have enough bite to keep you from telling that teenager exactly what you think of him.
Celebration snacking is all about taking those good feelings and amplifying them. Ice cream. Homemade cookies. Chocolate dipped just-about-anything. Joyful snacking typically leans toward the sweet side; I think it jibes with that whole endorphin thing.
power up snacking
It’s 3:00pm, you’re dragging, and suddenly the idea of napping upright in the bathroom doesn’t sound so crazy. You’ve reached the power up snacking moment. On healthy days we’re talking almonds, an apple with peanut butter, a banana, or protein shake. Realistically speaking? It’s more likely I’ll grab trail mix, popcorn, granola bar, or a spoonful of Nutella. Yep. True story.
The art of lazy snacking is meeting your growling stomach needs without expending one iota of extra effort. If it requires washing, peeling, cutting, or microwaving it’s not the snack for your lazy afternoon. These are the moments when your blood sugar’s tanked and you need something to inhale, pronto. In our house right now this means chocolate chip granola bars, Cliff power bars, or Kind breakfast bars. (Notice a theme?) For T-man it means eating his weight in Lance crackers. To-may-to, to-mah-to.
I’ll give you a minute to stop snickering. Ready? Every once in a while I get on a serious we have GOT to get healthy around here kick, and the first thing to get pared down are snacks. Nutritional snacking hits when you’re starving but feel guilty if you inhale potato chips or chocolate. Falling into the nutritional snacking category: apples (sometimes with Nutella, ‘cuz chocolate on fruit doesn’t count), a handful of almonds, or Greek yogurt. The real hurdle comes in convincing your brain that you’ve snacked.
late night snacking
Almost anything goes for late night snacking, although I’ve found that the salt content of my snack directly correlates to the time of day. 8:00pm? Cheese and triscuits. 9:00pm? That might be microwave popcorn. 10:00pm? Now we’re talking more like chips and salsa, Cheetos, or potato chips. Nothing good can come of that (except for my salt fix).
early morning snacking
Some people don’t think this is a thing. As if breakfast should be enough to get me through an entire morning of dog wrestling, laundry, cleaning, and miscellaneous obligations. Fat chance, considering breakfast is typically coffee and a power bar these days. Which means midmorning I’m searching for something, anything, that will help me make it to lunch without committing a misdemeanor, a feat that grows less and less likely depending on the astounding rudeness of store employees. Early morning snacking can be anything from granola to yogurt to that candy bar I hid away six months ago. (Don’t judge.)
Happy snacking, everyone!
** Today’s PSA has been brought to you by my pantry.