It all comes to down to space right? Although some stomachs are bigger than othesr, and I’m talking on the inside, not the outside… there is a limited amount of space in a stomach for food. The more of that space you fill with vegetables, the less space there is for more objectionable, less nutritious items. This is not to say that only vegetables are healthy, but you pretty much can’t do better. And you KNOW it is much easier to fill in the holes for carbohydrates and protein, I doubt you’ll go too low in either category if you eat more vegetables.
Although the eat more veggies philosophy will serve anyone who wants to be healthier well, it becomes problematic in relation to ‘snacks’. My son will come home from school inquiring about snack food and my list of fruits and vegetables / dips / bread with a healthy topping is followed by his question, “after that can I have a ‘snack?” Snack has become synonymous with treat… which in his mind is something he’s not supposed to have often. Ah – that old beast – Forbidden non-fruit, right?
Again, and we have discussed this previously in our Baby Steps series, I rely on Pre-Emptive Produce, i.e. – fill up on veggies first! Requiring a healthy snack prior to a smaller helping of whatever you allow as a less than healthiest snack choice in your home still means more veggies and less crap. It works for me as well. An orange, an apple, a carrot dipped in almond butter, some leftover roasted sweet potato, all make me able to remember that I don’t need to eat some of the more tempting items in my pantry. So with the seasons of more plentiful produce upon us…. I promise they really are upon us, if a little delayed this year… here are some suggestions for veggie-licious snacks beyond the carrot and celery stick.
Sweet & Spicy carrots:
Cut 2 large carrots into chunks, microwave for 60 – 90 second or to desired tenderness
Mix together 1 tsp maple syrup, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ginger and a pinch of salt Mix with carrots.
Make a double or triple batch and store in the frig in little containers that can be grabbed – like a ‘snack’! Pickly- cucumbers:
Slice 1 large or 2 med – small cucumbers into a glass container.
Add 1 Tbsp sugar & 1 Tbsp white vinegar
Cover with water
Add pepper if desired
Let sit for 4-5 hours – taste and add more vinegar / sugar / pepper if you like
Little Sis has some more complicated but delicious pickley cucumber goodness here.
Coleslaw cups :
Coleslaw is very adaptable. Folks who don’t like (or don’t eat) mayo, can use alternate recipes and you can make it a little sweet without going crazy on the sugar! Little Sis has a great cole slaw recipe here.
Roasted or baked potatoes
- this is a great alternative to chips. And if you can afford small, colored potatoes, then even better! A mixture of potatoes and sweet potatoes is very nice and can be achieved in a 375 – 425 oven for 20 – 40 minutes depending on how small you cut the pieces. But if you are making them for a snack it can go on while you are eating or doing something else right? I just make extra when we have them for dinner – toss them in the frig and they are there to be easily heated up and scarfed down as a delicious snack!
Coat florets in olive oil then sprinkle paprika and breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (turning once). I usually roast things at 375.
Frozen Grapes & Kiwi:
As simple as it sounds. Place grapes and bite-sized chunks of peeled kiwi on a parchment lined baking sheet in the freezer. When hard, place in smaller containers and keep in the freezer. Healthy, tasty frozen snack!
dip asparagus in egg white and bread with either whole wheat panko, or Italian breadcrumbs and bake til crispy. I would think this would work with green beans as well – and again 375 would be a good place to start – but watch them closely the first time!
Unusual fruits and veggies:
Novelty can be good or bad – depending on the person, but it is at least special or different. Try serving fresh pineapple for dessert one night. It goes on sale and can be a lot cheaper than ice cream (if you buy good or non-dairy ice cream in particular). Sugar snap peas make a great snack that many kids like because they are sweet and crunchy. Offer something different!
And of course there is the option of dipping various crispy fruits and veggies into:
yogurt (yogurt mixed with a little cinnamon and sweetener, or onion soup mix – read the label!!!)
Nutty Lunch Dip
So change the snack paradigm in your house. A snack is sustenance to carry you through to the next meal, or through a workout / physical trial. It can also be a treat…. surely some of these will fill both bills for the snackers in your house. And if they still have to have a little somethin’ somethin’ that is not at the top of your list of acceptable, they can have less of it on top of their healthy snack.