A wonderful family friend asked me the other day to compile a list of snacks that I keep on hand for my family...snacks that would not break the budget...that would create satiation....and appealing to all family members involved.
Now keep in mind my list is not going to meet all peoples needs or desires....this is just what I do for my family. I actually don't partake in most of this list and I will state the ones I don't and why....but when you are trying to transition a family into eating healthier and healthier then we have to make baby steps. And sometimes we have to remember that food isn't just about how is it going to meet certain dietary needs but also is it going to create a good environment. What we eat and how we eat truly effects us mind body and soul. Thus, I don't get legalistic that my daughter and hubby like granola. I don't partake in grains of any form....but a good organic non-sugary oat or granola isn't going to harm my family if it is what they want to snack on versus sugar snack bars or candy bars....or even so called "health" bars that are not whole real food. I do limit my daughters dairy but she loves cheese and dairy....I can't blame her....her skin just doesn't like her for it and sometimes her gut.....so cheese is minimal in the house but a Greek yogurt, I am a bit more flexible with it, since it is fermented and provides some good gut friendly bacteria for her.
The list....where I get it most of the time...and how much....(this should help with figuring out a budget!):
Bag of pecans.....................$12.98
Cascadian Organic Granola.....$7.28.........***this box at Sams is equal to 2 boxes in reg store!
FAGE Yogurt plain (16 oz)........$4.98
Frozen berries (big big bag!)...$9.98*.....ranges in 48 oz, 64 oz, 5 lb bags depends on berry choices.
EGGS (cage free) 18 ct................$4.78
***most of the time I do get my produce from the grocery store....but SAMs is getting better and better with organic choices and if I foresee a week that I need their huge bag of baby cut organic carrots I will get them there....but I try anymore to make sure that I don't have produce for more that week at a time in the frig because the longer it is sitting the more it is losing its nutritional value.
....so on to next store :)....
dried unsweetened banana chips.......$.? ***they are in the bulk section...don't remember cost....but it ranges anyways since it is based on weight......I think I mostly pay around $4-5?
Salsa.....ranges about $4-5
black bean dip.....$2.99?
fresh produce: green apples, carrots, celery, zucchini and cucumbers....avocados.....romaine lettuce.
PICKLES....BUBBIES....PICKLES....PICKLES....PICKLES.... :)and....green olives!!!!
Okay what do I do with all this? How do I make it brain free to grab and go for them?
On the weekend I boil up eggs and chop veggies. I have all the veggies cut in rounds (except celery of course...hehe...).....this makes them the perfect "chip" for the salsa and the guacamole I make up.
You can keep the pecans raw.....or you can soak them with salt to pull out the lectins....the same reason to soak your legumes. You can google on how to soak your nuts and why to soak your nuts it's very easy. Since pecans are a soft nut it really only takes about 4-6 hours for them to soak and be good to go. I actually rinse, drain, re-soak about halfway through...once done I totally rinse....toss with salt and then put them in the dehydrator til crisp....I think it ends up being about 4-6 hours on the lower heat. I am terrible about paying attention to that stuff...I'm an artist not a scientist :)....but I am learning the love and art of science! I know you can also do this in an oven on low at like 200 degrees or less. My daughter loves the nuts this way....it makes them crisp and buttery tasting.
So I keep all the dry goods: nuts, granola, banana chips in clear containers ready to see when they walk into the pantry.
Oh....I also keep the green labeled Great Lakes Collagen.....$21.49 on Amazon.....this is great to bump up the protein in anything.....plus all the other great health benefits you get from collagen.
I could mix the granola and nuts and banana chips but I have found that keeping everything separate provides for the appearance of variety....such as when I or they assemble a snack it can look like this:
granola plus yogurt plus berries
granola plus bananas plus nuts
nuts plus bananas
bananas plus yogurt plus granola
What can be handy and helpful is if you have smaller jars you can pre-assemble some of the mix for a serving size and have say 2-4 serving sizes at a time ready to grab and go.....thus mommy isn't always having to do the work at every 2 hour interval....lol...
What I have also learned that helps.....when I think my daughter is probably hungry and is ignoring her hunger I create a plate of veggies, fruit, peeled eggs put it at the counter then let her know that if she is hungry there is food at the counter. Inevitably within about 30 minutes she goes to grab some food.
And for hubby the same....I make sure a plate or bowl of these snacks are out so they are filling up on good stuff. He really likes the veggies with any of the dips from above: bean, salsa, guac!! or all!!!
Ah...the guacamole I mix up.....I make sure and put lots of lemon or lime, salt, cilantro (if you like) in it so it preserves it longer.....I keep it without heat so hubby can mix his with salsa if he wants since I am not partaking in nightshades right now.....and then to spice mine up I add a bit of horseradish powder and ginger.....
The more you have whole food snacks around the less they are going to want the junk....and make it fun!
If they are in the mood for something sweet? Create a smoothie with the yogurt or coconut milk, berries, stevia or honey and some collagen protein.
There are other snacks I have from time to time but these are my main stays for them. The only thing I partake in is the veggies :)....and that is good enough for me.....
OH.....the PICKLES...this is the greatest sweet tooth killer!? Eat 1-3 pickles and I guarantee you won't be tearing up the house for the cookies or cheetos! Plus they are packed full of good bacteria for your gut. Our family loves snacking on pickles! I get them in all varies....jumbo...."chips"....mini....dill relish.....you name it we usually have 2 jars if not 3 or 4 in our frig at one time!
So as for how long does all of this last in our home? The dry stables at-least a month if not more! The frozen berries several months.....the veggies are week to week....the yogurt usually 2 weeks. But then I cycle it out of the house and we stick to coconut milk from the can for a month. The collagen....even if you used it every day.....it will last a good couple months....for us....a family of three :).....
I hope this is helpful to all of you out there trying to just keep snacks simple, accessible, and portable. Because there is no reason why any of the above can't be taken on the go!
I would love to hear if you have any other suggestions or thoughts....or what you have done to make your pantry and frig more real food snack friendly!!!