When Snacks Attack….

Good afternoon, friends and neighbors! How did your mead turn out? Tasty, I hope!
I keep meaning to make this blog a bit more frequent than bi-weekly, and once my secret project finally unfolds, I think I’ll have more than enough material to do that!
Wait, what secret project?”
Oh, you’ll see… In about two weeks.
Anyway, one clever segue later…

​I don’t exactly know when or how we got our brains around it, but whoever decided that the three-meals-a-day eating schedule most folks tend to live around? They had some bad information.

When I was growing up, snacking wasn’t looked at as a bad thing so much- more like biting your nails- a silly habit that’s probably harmless but shouldn’t be encouraged. Unfortunately, with people becoming so diet and weight-conscious (often in very negative, even harmful ways,) snacking- and what we snack on- has changed in the public eye. I can really only speak to any of this as a white male American with a fraught but ultimately healthy relationship with food, but really-look at the vocabulary thrown around when describing “healthy” snacking:

“Skinny.”
“Cheats.”
“Zero (something)”
“Diet”
“Decadent”

What’s the common theme here? That you’re doing something naughty and getting away with it. That you shouldn’t be enjoying “healthy” food, and that you’re sneaking around snacking- like food is a dangerous affair and you’re afraid that other people will find out you are cuckolding your lunch.

Then there’s the one most absolutely miserable, self-damning phrase of them all- the one that I would love to have removed from the lexicon of anything to do with food, crafted into an effigy, and jammed up on a pillory as a warning to others-

“GUILT-FREE.”

     I HATE this phrase. The notion of food as being a decadence, a pleasure, leading to poor moral fiber and bad life choices has been around for ages. It’s common, classic, even cliché- but you know what? Food is FOOD. It is SUSTAINENCE. We have evolved to find the acquisition of food a pleasurable experience. If you get that thrill from eating filet mignon at a Michelin-starred restaurant, or a mystery-meat patty from a greasy-spoon diner, FINE. You do you.
     Having a good relationship with your food- what it is, and how you eat it- is essential in feeling good about yourself and having the lifestyle you want to be happy and healthy in. If you feel like certain foods are “bad,” or are “cheating” when you have them, that casts a pall over the feeling that eating the food you like gives you. As long as you know what you are doing, and are smart about it, there’s no reason to feel guilty- ESPECIALLY for something like snacking.
I’ve written a lot about my weight loss, and a bit about what and how I eat. I don’t think I’ve ever written about snacking before.

I am a snacking FIEND.

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Image by Matthew Inman (a.k.a. The Oatmeal)

Okay, maybe NOT to the level of The Oatmeal there, but I snack a LOT.
I almost always have between-meal snacks, and absolutely when I’m out and about during the day- particularly if I have the opportunity to try something I never had before. New things excite and interest me.
“Skinny” doesn’t get me.
A wrapper screaming “all-natural” doesn’t get me.
“Guilt-free” DEFINITELY doesn’t get me… and has earned me a series of odd looks when I’m caught growling profanities in a supermarket aisle.

What DOES get me is stuff in its most natural form possible- minimal processing, no preservatives, full fat. Fat, protein, and carbs are all necessary for your body to function right, and it’s important to get enough of the right kind- which are most often found in real, unprocessed food.

So as a healthy-living, good-relationship-with-food-having guy on the go, what ARE my preferred snacks? Here’s a short list- all of them include healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and many other nutrients that make them a smarter choice for when you need a quick fix.

Here we go:

1. NUTS

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When I get a crunchy/salty or sweet craving, my go-to is just a handful of nuts. Almonds and cashews are my favorites, but with the climate problems in California, I’ve lately been turning to pistachios. Are nuts loaded with fat and calories? Hell yes- but they are also loaded with delicious protein- the stuff that will actually fill you AND give your body the nutrients it needs. Whether I get them in bulk and keep them in my kitchen, or I’m running into a rest stop really quick, when I need some clean protein I go with these.

These what?”


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Oh, pipe down. You knew it was going to come up soon.

2. Popcorn

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Emily and I love watching movies together, and we like having popcorn available. No, NOT the super-buttery microwave stuff, or even the fancy flavored junk. Microwave popcorn is loaded down with salt, hydrogenated oils, sugars, and whatever other stuff they use to make something taste like butter or cheese but can sit on a shelf for a year.

What I do is I get a stove-top or hot air popcorn popper, get bags/ jars of loose corn (often, it’s cheaper!) and then I do it up my way. On the stovetop, you DO need to use a little oil (I love using extra virgin olive oil) to make it work, but hot-air poppers don’t. You get tasty popcorn, and then you can add the salt, herbs, spices, REAL butter and oil if you want it- all for cheaper and with less mysterious chemicals.

That sounds like a Hollywood happy ending if there ever was one.


3. Veggies and Hummus

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Cliche? Yep- but for a reason.

Chopped up fresh veggies and hummus is an snacking two-fer. The veggies are obviously great for you, are refreshing and crunchy, and can offer hydration as well. The hummus, being made from chickpeas, is rich in protein, and can be easily made or bought in a variety of flavors to suit your fancy. My fridge almost always has some in it… Which reminds me: I need to get more on the way home.


4. Sunflower Seeds

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My go-to road snack, and idle-snacking godsend. When I was in college, I would sometime find myself driving a 4-hour slog from South Jersey to Hartford, CT- rolling down long dull highways, and often jammed up in traffic. With an oral fixation habit that I’m not ashamed to own up to, sunflower seeds were both snack and entertainment. There was something wonderfully rewarding about jamming a small handful in one cheek, cracking them between my teeth, eating the seed, and then spitting the shells out the window, trying to hit the cars that were trying to cut me off earlier.

I’ll confess that I tend to like the flavored ones, which have more salt and preservatives than is good for me. If you can develop a taste for plain, unsalted ones, good on you. As for me, though, the added flavor just makes it even better when I’m trying to hit the hood of that jackass yellow Hummer.


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Nailed it.

5. Fresh Fruit

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Yes, it’s cliche again, but for a reason. When the warm weather hits, and I’m walking around the city looking for trouble, I love stopping into a grocery store and picking up just some simple pieces of organic fruit. I especially love plums, peaches, and apricots for when I am walking around, but if I’m camped out on a park bench? I love whipping out my Scout knife and slicing off pieces of apple or pear. Sweet, refreshing, and convenient- you can’t beat fresh fruit on a summer day.

Ok, so nuts, seeds, fruit, healthy crap.. Great- but what if you’ve got a craving for something? Not just a need for something crunchy, or something sweet- a craving for something SPECIFIC. A candy bar that you had as a kid… Delicious frosty ice cream, and the store has your favorite flavor.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE SNACKS ATTACK?!

Surrender.
Yes, you read that right. If you want a specific something THAT badly, just go ahead and have it, but BE SMART.

1. READ THE NUTRITION LABEL. Know how many servings are in the package, and what you are putting in your body.

2. GET AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. Realize you are feeding a moment, not forever. Get enough to enjoy NOW, and have a good time.

3. OWN IT. Yep, you like some junk food. Big deal- I love salt water taffy, gummies, and beef jerky myself. Just be aware of what you are doing, and that you don’t want it to be a regular thing. Enjoy it, and then go on your way.

4. DON’T REGRET IT. You had a little something you wanted. The only regret you should ever have about food is if it wasn’t what you remembered, or didn’t taste as good as you hoped. Even then- you know not to do it again.

Go forth my friends, and eat well!

Stay Classy,

One thought on “When Snacks Attack….

  1. The foods that are displayed above will be used as an option and I will eat those foods with my cousins. I will not waste the foods that I am eating and these snacks are also affordable and easy to find. Those nuts and popcorn are the common foods that we notice in the cinemas. They are delicious and at the same time they are not that expensive. Everyone will enjoy these foods.

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