School’s back in session. I can’t tell if that sounds more or less ominous than “Summer’s Over.” Either way a line has clearly been drawn in the sand. The flip flops are back in the closet and sooner versus later the boots will be coming out to replace them. Whether your kids have gone back to school or you’re simply needing to grab a jacket as you head out for work these days, we are all pretty clear that the seasons have changed!
Here at my house we are in full “school year” mode although the rules and rituals aren’t as steadfast as they used to be. With only one left at home for her last year of high school, things are a bit more laid back these days. Dinner time is sort of whenever. There is no longer the need to wait for the bathroom to brush your teeth, and story hour, which used to be story HOURS is now just me curled up on the sofa reading a good book.
On the other hand, some things never change; the back-to-school shopping remains a constant (although college room mini fridges have now replaced the 24 pack of crayons), and a pick-me-up snack in the afternoon is still always welcome.
While there still exists the wide variety of “junk food” snacks out there, after school snacking, and snacking in general, has changed with the times too. I don’t think I even knew what hummus was when I was a kid and now hummus and sliced vegetables are a staple in our fridge. The mini blender comes out in a flash for a post exercise smoothie and my middle child used to slice an avocado into a bowl and eat it as-is almost daily. We’ve all become a bit more creative with what we should stock the fridge with and the snack companies seem to have taken notice too.
It’s pretty easy these days to eat well and likewise a snap to find snack food. It’s a little tougher to do both things at the same time. If we are honest, the whole point of a snack is to tide us over (without filling us up) and taste yummy too. Sometimes it’s just that crunchy, salty flavor we are craving in a snack that a carrot just can’t give us, but whether you shop at the stores that lean more towards healthy or seek out those healthy aisles at the bigger stores to find your snacks AND read the labels, you will discover what we did: there are lots of snacks out there that are nothing but good for you while giving you the crunch you crave.
We discovered, on one recent trip down the snack aisle, an entire collection of chips and crunchy foods made almost entirely of either peas, beans, quinoa and beans, or flax seed and, so, in the name of personal integrity—and hunger pains—we bought most of them and “forced” ourselves to do a taste testing. How good could a crunchy treat be if the only ingredients were peas, canola oil and salt? We decided we needed to find out. Because we couldn’t be completely sure after the first few bites, we kept tasting them to make sure that they were all snack-worthy and we can honestly say that we got our salty, crunchy fix from each one of them. Eaten alone, with hummus, a mustard dip, salsa or whatever suits your taste buds, we promise you won’t be disappointed.
You don’t have to do like WE did and buy every bag, but grab a different vegetable-based snack every once in a while just to sample them and to see which kind satisfies your snack food craving. And when football season or movie night comes, reach for that one instead of the processed, artificial version. It turns out not all “junk food” is made from junk!