We started with breakfast. Shakshuka and baked oatmeal muffins.
Now its time to move on to the hardest part of the day. Well, for me at least. This little things called “snacks” that nutritionist like to get us to eat, so that our bodies never go into “hunger” mode.
It’s always a challenge. As busy 21st century women, we are constantly on the go. Grabbing a snack that doesn’t come in the for of a chocolate bar or a bag of chips can be a huuuuuge challenge. So, in addition to Nechama’s wise words and guidance I gave you two super yum and easy recipes.
The Granola stuffed pears totally hit that sweet craving thing that happens around 3 in the afternoon. Or late at night. Or in the morning. The pears are soft and sticky, the granola is crunchy and satisfying. Most importantly they are delicious! I had to actually hide the last one from my kids to save it for the next day!
Sometimes though, its not the sweetness were craving. It’s the savory, salty, crunchy bites that we’re looking for. So, heres my ode to that. The kohlrabi fry. They fill all your starchy needs and can be seasoned any way you like. They are a blank canvas that can be altered to suit whatever mood you’re in.
SO, take a break today, read what Nechama has to say, then do yourself a favor and make these!
Now it’s time to turn things over to Nechama…..
You know those stories that inspire you to do what you do? Well I heard my story when I was visiting my friend’s grandmother years ago and it just stuck. “ I was at a meeting in a school with a bunch of parents and a behavioral therapist,” she said us as we sat down for lunch. “Well one of the mother’s got up and said, ‘my five year old child comes home from school with a tantrum. He throws his bag down, refuses to listen to me when I tell him to put it away, slams doors, pays no attention to anything I say and in general is really moody, I am at my wits end’. The therapist began talking about discipline strategies and ADHD tendencies. You know me, never one to hold my tongue so I raised my hand and asked if I can say something. ‘Your child just got home from a long day in school,’ I said. ‘He hasn’t eaten anything substantial in a long time plus he was probably running around all afternoon. His blood sugar is very low. What he needs is some good food and a hug.’ Guess what? Everyone looked around and started clapping!”
Don’t get me wrong, this is no indicator that some children really need help and eating right will not be the only answer, sometimes it is the simple things that help us all perform better throughout the day.
Let alone children, most of us adults get angry faster when we are hungry. There is even a word for it: Hangry. Ideally it is the best to create an eating plan in which you fill up on balanced, filling meals for breakfast, lunch and supper so that you keep your blood sugars stable so you don’t need the snacks. But let’s face it: sometimes it is hard to incorporate enough protein, carb, fat and fiber into every meal and sometimes even if you do, you still need a little something to keep you going in the afternoon. Sometimes you are just craving something sweet. We got you covered for all of these situations.
What are great snack ideas? The first thing you should be turning to when you feel like you need a little extra something is a vegetable. Imagine a pill that boasts having cancer-fighting properties, feeling “full” and satisfied properties, with all the vitamins and minerals to help every part of your body work the best way possible. Imagining that pill? Cut up some vegetables and imagine the pill no longer, it is right there in front of you! Vegetables are literally packed with vitamins, minerals, and cancer fighting properties. Plus they are full of fiber so they can keep you full throughout the day making you less likely to reach for junk. There are many ways to get veggies in your diet. I grew up coming home from school to a platter of cut up veggies on the table and there was never any left over at the end of the day. I find that kids are actually happy to eat the vegetables if it is so easy and accessible for them. I remember my best friend in third grade confessed to me that she was coming over everyday after school because she loved munching on my mother’s veggies drizzled with olive oil and salt. Oh well, and I had thought it was my vivacious personality…
You can cut up a few cucumbers, peppers, carrots, tomatoes and celery and place it on the table right before the kids come in. You can switch up the dipping options, some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, hummus and tahini are good ideas. Did you know that per gram, tahini actually has 3 times the amount of calcium than milk! That’s an easy way to strong bones. Veggies are also an easy thing to send kids to school with.
Another great idea is Danielle’s amazing Kohlrabi Fries. Your kids will think they are eating fries, they are that good! And oh, while they eat their fries they will also be nicely packing into their little bodies, vitamin C, K, A and B complex vitamins. They will also be packing in copper, potassium, fiber and antioxidants. Pass the fries please.
Sometimes you need a snack because you are feeling tired and need extra energy. Hello Mamas, I get you. You can actually give yourself a little boost by the food you eat. I suggest protein and fats for times like this. My favorite snack at the moment is roasted chickpeas. It’s a great source of protein and some carb and it is so easy to make. Either make your own chickpeas (soak dried chickpeas over night and then boil for two hours) or take chickpeas from a can. Dry the chickpeas and lay them on a cookie sheet, toss with olive oil and whichever spices you like and roast on high for 20 minutes until they are golden and crunchy. They are sooo good! Sometimes I dip them into leftover salad dressing. Another great snack is nuts. They may be little but they are packed with so much energy and good for you vitamins and fats. Just make sure they are the raw and not coated in extra sugar and oil. You can make your own trail mix by simply throwing together a few different kinds of nuts and seeds in a small bag and you can take it with you wherever you go. Another good idea for an energy boost is frozen bananas with natural peanut butter. Cut a banana in half, smear with peanut butter and freeze. Ice cream I tell you.
Then there is always that snack you need when you are just craving something sweet, and that’s ok. Instead of reaching for the ice cream, make Danielle’s delicious and super easy baked pear. Pears are a really great source of fiber which among many things, really helps your gut keep healthy. You get your sweetness along with vitamin C, Vitamin K, fiber, anti aging properties, anti inflammatory properties, and lots of antioxidants. Another easy sweet snack I love is 70% dark chocolate. It’s a great source of magnesium, iron, copper and fiber among many other things. It is not about ignoring your craving until you crash and eat the first food in sight, it is about choosing to fill yourself with healthy delicious foods that fill your body and brain with so much goodness.
Like in all things with healthy eating, after learning about the importance of it, the main thing that will help you and your family eat healthy is creating a healthy environment. That means stocking up on the wonderfilled foods and limiting the not so wonderful type. Now it doesn’t mean you cant have anything unhealthy in your pantry or freezer, but the more you see Ben and Jerries’ every time you open your freezer, the harder it will be to resist it so it is a good idea to limit those kinds of things in your house. Buy lots of colorful vegetables and make sure to use them often. It may be hard because they are so perishable but remember if food goes bad it’s a good thing! That means bacteria are able to digest it properly, which means the bacteria in your stomach is able to digest it properly. When something can stay in your pantry for months without going bad, you should start worrying about what is in it. In the same vein, while protein is a great form of a snack, a processed protein bar is not. With time it will become a habit and easy to stock up on healthy food and even easier to eat it.
Happy eating, Happy living!
Nechama Birnbaum is a Certified Nutritionist of Wonderfilled Nutrition who is passionate about helping people achieve a healthy, balanced, wonderful life! She offers one on one counseling and healthy home makeovers. You can contact her through phone 0586147795 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.