With the rising trend of “power snacks” and “mini-meals” the old concept of three square meals a day just doesn’t fit into our modern lifestyles anymore. How many times have you been diligently working only to be interrupted by a growling stomach and realize that you missed lunch? It happens more often than you think! By following an easy formula, in a few short minutes, you can put together some incredible snacking meals that are healthy, portable and age appropriate.
Busy families want healthy, sustained energy in a “to-go” format to suit their lifestyles. In recent years companies have rushed in with their “healthy” snacking products that have left families unsure what to believe and searching for products they can trust. Fresh veggies can add nutrients to hurried food occasions that busy families experience day after day.
What Are Snacking Meals?
Research shows that snacks help to boost nutrition. When kids snack between meals, it improves their overall diet quality. The same goes for adults when they are choosing the appropriate snack foods. A snacking meal is just what it sounds like: a meal made up of a bunch of snacks. However, there is a formula to putting the right combination of nutrients together in order to get the health benefits.
Snacking meals are great for kids and adults alike. When parents give their children a choice, following the snacking meals formula, it allows them to play an active role in choosing what they would like to eat and ultimately end up in successfully getting vital nutrients into their daily diets.
These snacking meals can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the snacks that fall in between. Both kids and adults can benefit from eating 6 smaller meals a day to improve their overall nutrition intake and to keep them energized all day long to keep up with their active lifestyles.
The Snacking Meal Formula
The flexibility and variety within the snacking meal formula makes them extremely adaptable to all cultures and food preferences. While there is no clear and concise answer regarding portion sizes, this is something you need to pay attention to. Kids are pretty good at knowing when they have had enough to eat, so if you are noticing that they are not finishing their snacking meals, the portion sizes are probably too big. For adults, it’s an individualized thing that will vary day to day for each eating situation. You need to listen to your body and know when you are full and satisfied, and then adjust portions accordingly.
Adult Snacking Meal Formula:
- 1-2 animal proteins
- 1-2 plant proteins
- 2 healthy fats (like avocados, hummus, nuts, nut butter)
- At least 1 veggie
- At least 1 fruit
- 1 crunchy type food (like whole grain crackers)
Kids Snacking Meal Formula:
- 1 animal protein
- 1 plant protein
- 1 healthy fat
- 1 veggie
- 1 fruit
- 1 crunchy type food
It’s really that simple! Pure Flavor® makes it even easier for families to put together snacking meals for their families. We have a whole line of grab-and-go snacking veggies that will give both kids and parents a variety of colors, textures and flavors to choose from. Our Uno Bites™ Nano Cucumbers are a crunchy and flavorful addition to any snacking meal, while our award-winning Cloud 9® Bite-Sized Fruity Tomatoes will satisfy any sweet tooth. Add some color with our Aurora Bites Mini Sweet Peppers and our Sangria® Medley Tomatoes! The possibilities and combinations are endless.
Snacking Meal Planning Strategies
We have put together some strategies for parents to help make planning snacking meals easier:
- Have kids make a list of their favorite veggies and fruits.
- Take pictures of different snacking meal ingredient ideas at the grocery store to share with the family.
- Take an inventory of what is already in your fridge and your pantry that would be appropriate for snacking meals.
- Stock up on items that have a longer shelf life to make it easier to grab when assembling snacking meals.
- Invest in containers, like bento boxes, that will help keep foods separated and control portion sizes – plus they are easy to take on-the-go!
- Always make a grocery list before going shopping.
Benefits of Snacking Meals
If you run a busy household, this is a no-brainer. Snacking meals require little to no cooking. Say you are going to incorporate hard boiled eggs into your snacking meals, you can easily cook up a dozen eggs in one shot and your meal prep is done for the week. Thinking ahead and having veggies and fruit washed and sliced can save you a lot of time during the week for assembling these meals.
Snacking meals are family friendly. Everyone gets to choose from an assortment of snacks to put together to form the meal and they end up with multiple foods they love. They are ready in 5 minutes or less and by following the simple formula, you can rest assured that your family is getting the nutrients to keep them healthy and powered up for whatever adventures come their way!
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