Who hasn’t been spending more time at home lately? Many families have perfected the balance of managing a household in which kids may be engaged in virtual learning while Mom and Dad are putting in a full day’s work from the home office. At several points during the day, families need to recharge. Having nutritious snacking choices on hand can tame hunger in a healthy way.
Plan and shop
Start with a plan and then head to the store with a shopping list in hand. You will be less likely to purchase unhealthy options on impulse if you stick to a shopping list.
Balance prepackaged and homemade
Homemade snacks are advantageous because you can customize ingredients to account for allergies or other needs. But commercially produced snacks are very convenient because they’re ready to eat right out of the package. According to Good Housekeeping, many food manufacturers have been stepping up their games and offering tasty and healthy nonperishable foods. Just be sure to read labels, paying attention to sodium and sugar content and other pertinent nutritional information.
When choosing snacks, pick a few different options that appeal to savory, salty and sweet cravings. Portion out these snacks so the temptation for overindulgence is limited.
Choose among the healthiest options
Stock the pantry and refrigerator with an array of healthy snacking options.
• Nuts and their butters: Nuts are nutritional powerhouses that provide filling protein, fiber, healthy fats, and many different vitamins and minerals. Nuts can be ground at home and made into spreads and dips.
• Popcorn: Plain, air-popped popcorn is full of fiber, making it a filling snack. Without toppings like butter, popcorn can be low in calories.
• Fruit: Fresh fruit, frozen fruit, fruit purees, and dried fruit are must-haves. Place a bowl of fresh fruit in reach of kids so it can be their first snacking choice. Frozen fruit can be transformed into simple smoothies. Dried fruit keeps longer, and is a great addition to trail mixes. Cups of applesauce can easily be grabbed and satisfy sweet cravings.
• Sliced vegetables: When preparing meals, slice vegetables, including carrots, celery, cucumbers, and sweet peppers. Later they can be dunked into homemade dips for an easy treat.
• Hummus: Speaking of dips, hummus is filling and tasty. Made from nutrient-dense chick peas, hummus can be enhanced with different flavors, from garlic to ginger to even chocolate for a dessert variety.
• Whole-grain chips: Opt for whole-grain chips that blend a variety of grains into the mix. Avoid products with hydrogenated oils.
Healthy snacking is possible when families think ahead and know what to look for at the grocery store.