Snacks are often helping us keep up our energy between meals as we’re going about busy lives. This means that we often need snacks that are safe left sitting in a hot car, or which at least don’t require refrigeration. This list of recipes brings you a range of homemade, shelf-stable snack options that have some dietary fiber, protein, and fat to help stave off hunger…no fridge required.
As kids start to head back to school and family calendars become increasingly busy with after-school activities, there’s even more interest among shoppers in convenient snacks that do not compromise on nutrition. Snack bars check off a lot of boxes for consumers looking for on-the-go snacks. They are available in appetizing flavors, have a long shelf life, are packed in attractive single serving packaging, and are perceived as a healthy choice due in part to convincing health claims by manufacturers. However, in terms of nutrition, not all snack bars are created equal. For this edition of Surprising Stars, let’s discuss why there are less Guiding Stars-earning snack bars than some might expect and how to ensure your selection within these foods is nutrient dense.
Let’s consider lunch packs, the packaged combinations of high-sodium lunch meat, cheese, and crackers that made an early debut as a ready-to-go school lunch option. Today there are many of these items on the market that are composed of lower sodium and more healthful options. That said, they still may not earn a Guiding Star. In this case, I believe there is another strategy we can use to decide if a packaged food is a good choice.
We love snacking here at Guiding Stars. Food fuels our bodies and gives us energy to do our best. Whether you need a bridge between meals or a mini-meal approach to eating, snacks rock. The trick is to choose foods that will give you energy, keep you fill, and support your overall nutrition goals for the day. Here are some of the healthful snack advice highlights from our experts: dietitians Allison Stowell and Kitty Broihier.
Whether you’re feeding a toddler, a school-age kid who isn’t going back to in-person instruction yet, or yourself as you work from home, lunchtime can be sticky. Literally, perhaps, in the case of the kids. Even for adults, getting a regular midday meal during a disrupted routine can be harder than it seems. A small amount of structure and intention, however, can help you defeat the hunger grumps before they derail your day.
Did you ever consider how nutrition affected your brain when you were younger? I didn’t think so! But does this sound familiar to you? You walk into a room and can’t remember why you’re there. Or you need to make a hair appointment but can’t recall the name of the salon. Even the “Where are my glasses? Oh, they’re on my head!” cliché rings true to life for lots of people around the age of 50 or so. Taken alone, none of these “senior moments” is too upsetting, but when they become more frequent, it dawns on you that your brain isn’t working quite like it used to. When these incidents start to interfere with your daily life and functioning, it’s called dementia. Dementia ranges from mild to severe, and is generally more common as people get older. Wouldn’t it be great if making some pretty simple dietary changes could help keep our brains healthy as we age?
This month, we’ll be exploring ideas for truly great snacks. A snack, as our dietitian Allison Stowell often tells us, should be a purposeful bridge between meals. Snacks can be tricky because they’re rarely eaten sitting down at a table with ample time to plan them out. They’re more often consumed quickly in between activities. And while many of us are spending the lion’s share of our time at home right now, snacks may still be needed under more challenging conditions for eating nutritiously.
If your daily tasks include packing school lunch, you know it can get tiring to come up with ideas your kids will eat every day, while keeping it interesting, safe, and nutritious. Like any other meal you plan and prep for, school lunch must fit into a balanced day. There are a few common pitfalls many of us fall into when considering what our kids need packed in their lunch bag. Let’s avoid them together.