Have you ever met someone who claims to “not be much of a snacker”? I have, and to be frank, I can’t completely trust those types of people. I also can’t completely trust the “I don’t like sweets” types of people either. But that’s a conversation for a different time.
Snacking is an integral part of my everyday routine. It’s fueled me through some pretty horrible finals weeks in college, and now, it keeps me energized for the wonderful yet incredibly busy full-time job & side hustle biz lifestyle I’m currently living. But mostly, it's an integral part of my daily routine, mainly because I'm hungry most of the time. [rephrase: all of the time]
With my rather questionable snacking habits, it’s crucial that I pay close attention to what I actually choose to snack on. It’s all too easy to run down to the vending machine at work to purchase a $1 bag of potato chips or convince yourself that coffee is a snack. Sadly, it’s not.
For my fellow chronic snackers out there, I’ve curated a quick guide to mindful snacking, complete with some of my own homemade snack recipes. Happy snacking!
Mindful Snacking Guide
1. Make your own snacks
As someone who enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, I often make my own snacks. Whether it be a smoothie, kale chips, sweet potato fries, or granola bars, making your own snacks ensures that you know the exact ingredients you will be consuming. This allows you to easily avoid artificial and unhealthy ingredients. If there’s not enough time in your day to make your own snacks, you can still snack mindfully by purchasing high quality snacks with natural ingredients. Remember to read the ingredients carefully in your pre-packaged snacks. I would also suggest trying to follow Michael Pollan's advice and not purchase items that have 5 or more ingredients, especially if you've never heard of them or cannot pronounce their names.
2. Recreate your favorite snacks using healthier alternatives
I would have to say that my ultimate favorite snack is baked sweet potato fries with Sriracha mayo. They're easy to make, crunchy, tangy, spicy, and always hit the spot. They're just as good as regular fries, but minus the grease and guilt. When you just can't seem to kick that craving for a bag of potato chips or chocolate bar, I suggest trying to recreate them using healthier alternatives. Think: Kale chips, dark chocolate covered almonds, or maybe my homemade chocolate crunch bars.
3. Re-define your definition of "snack"
When you think of a "snack", your mind probably wanders straight to packaged cookies, bagged chips, or really anything that is cheap, transportable and easily consumed. Guess what? Snacks don't always have to be like this. Some of my favorite snacks are actually full meals recreated into bite-sized, yet still satisfying midday snacks. Think: slightly smaller appetizers. A personal favorite right now is my Compass Rose inspired charred Shishito peppers with lemon garlic aioli. I don't think there's an easier recipe. It takes a total of 13 minutes..seriously!
I'm also a huge fan of toast as a snack. Particularly toast that is piled high with yummy and nutritious toppings like Ricotta, Arugula, Radish, and EVOO.
4. Dress up your snacks
One of the reasons I originally began @dceatings was to create a more intimate connection with the food I was eating in hopes of leading a healthier lifestyle. As styling and photographing my food became a part of my daily eating routine, I began to realize just how important it is to have your food not only taste good, but also look delicious. As cliche as it sounds, you really do eat with your eyes first, and if a meal does not look like it's going to taste good, chances are you're not going to eat it or it won't be enjoyable.
I think the same rule applies to snacking. I encourage you to shamelessly spend 15 minutes arranging your fruit bowl, granola bars, avocado toast, or veggie fries into something as ashtetically pleasing to the eyes as it is satisfying to the tummy.
5. Practice moderation
In an ideal world, we’d be able to dedicate a significant portion of our time to cooking for ourselves. With the busy lifestyles most of us live now, that’s nearly impossible (although a good goal to work towards)! For the days when you don’t have time to prepare your sweet potato fries or just can’t seem to kick that craving for a salty, greasy bag of BBQ chips (or in my case Takis), give yourself permission to indulge without guilt. It’s one bag of chips, it really won’t kill you.