Whether it’s a student, a client, or some random person I meet on the fly, people always ask, “What can I snack on?”
Before I can give them an appropriate answer, we need to look at their motive for snacking.
There may be quite a few reasons why someone would feel the need to nosh.
Here are some of the more popular ones:
- They’re not satisfied with their meals: Something may be missing from their main plate like flavor (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, spicy, umami), or texture (smooth, crunchy, crispy, silky, creamy), or nutrients (both macro and micro), or they simply may not be eating a sufficient quantity of food.
- They are bored: Bored with work, bored with life, bored with themselves, bored with this blog…
- They are procrastinating: they don’t want to do what needs to be done, so snacking helps to push the dreaded project further away.
- They’re hungry: they don’t want to eat a full meal, they just want a little something to hold them over until the next eating extravaganza.
Once you get to the bottom of the snack craving there are many ways to satisfy it.
If your meals are not fully satisfying you, make sure they contain a variety of nutrients that will keep you nourished (fat, protein, carbohydrates), and eat a sufficient amount of food. I know lots of folks that will eat a smaller portion of food because they are actually planning on snacking on a sugary treat afterwards.
If you are snacking because you are bored, get a job. If you have a job and you’re still bored, get a job you love, or spend time enjoying a fun hobby.
If you are procrastinating, pay someone to do that dreaded project for you (laundry, housecleaning, painting, writing), or just get it done yourself. The more you procrastinate, the longer it’ll be gnawing at you, and the more you’ll need to gnaw on something else to avoid the task. BTW – the dreaded project is probably much smaller than what you’re making it out to be.
Now, for all of you folks that are legitimately craving a snack, here are my favorites:
What?! Sounds too simple right? Wrong!
We’ve made food such a complicated issue that we’ve lost sight of simple snacks.
When I was growing up in the 1970’s we always had fresh fruit in the fridge, or sitting in a bowl that lived in the center of the dining room table. And, there was always a can of nuts in the house as well. Mixed salted nuts were my dad’s favorite.
People (both kids and adults) used to snack on crisp apples, juicy pears, or fragrant oranges. A handful of walnuts, pecans or filberts were always a satisfying snack as well. And, salted sunflower seeds were all the rage when I was growing up. No self-respecting kid would be caught at the playground without a bag of lip-puckering salted sunflower seeds.
When we felt like we needed something just a little bit more filling we snacked on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which is, yep… you guessed it, nuts and fruit slathered between two pieces of bread.
Snacking wasn’t complicated a few decades ago. It was really easy.
Nowadays we think we need to have every micro and macro nutrient known to mankind in our daily snacks. This need for “everything” has been filled by the thousands of snack bar companies in the marketplace. But, guess what, people still aren’t satisfied. Those snack bars are filled with every nutrient imaginable and yet, they’re still missing something. Freshness, maybe?
When it comes to snacking follow the wise words of one of my favorite philosophers, Henry David Thoreau, and “simplify, simplify, simplify.”
Keep some fresh fruit in the house and get a couple of bags of nuts and seeds. If you’re bored, purchase nuts and seeds encased in their shells, and shell them yourself. That oughtta keep you busy.
If you feel you need a more substantial snack, slap together a PBJ. If you’re allergic to peanut butter, swap it out for almond butter, cashew butter, pumpkin seed butter or sesame seed butter (tahini).
If you’re allergic to bread or gluten, slather almond butter on some slices of apple.
Snacking can be as simple as nuts and fruit.