My husband laughs at me for always grabbing what I call a “snack for the road” as we head out the door. Maybe it is a little bit funny but it’s also practical. Part of my obsession with having snacks at my fingertips comes from knowing how I act and feel when and if I get too hungry. “Hanger” is real. The other part I would say is a “Mom thing.” When kids are little, their little bodies need to eat more frequently (with their small tummies), so I ALWAYS made sure I had snacks with me when our daughter was little! I remember cups of cheerios in the diaper bag, a squeeze pack of applesauce in my purse, crackers in the car and honestly, I’m still that way today. At this moment, I have a package of pistachios in my purse and a package of almonds and some crackers in the glove compartment of car. My desk at work – same. Oatmeal, nuts, peanut butter…and my favorite spare can of Diet Dr. Pepper. All there if I need them.
I know I’m not alone. According to the International Food and Information Council’s (IFIC) most recent survey, most consumers are snacking at least twice a day. Government data, looking specifically at teens, shows this age group is getting 24% of their calories from snacks (up from 14% in 1978). We are snacking, our kids are snacking, we’re replacing meals with snacks…it’s a whole thing.
Data available from NHANES supports American’s increased snacking habits.
There is even data on what we are snacking on. According to NHANES data, the majority of our snacks come from the following categories: alcoholic beverages, sugar-sweetened beverages, savory snacks, candies, cakes/pastries/pies, fruit and fruit juices, dairy desserts, nuts/seeds, cookies, and milk/milk drinks. I see room for improvement here!
If you peek into my pantry right this minute, what you’ll find is most likely several items that fit precisely into the categories mentioned above. You might also find it’s a bit of a mess. A few times a year, (Spring is perfect), I take everything out and toss things that are expired or stale and organize it by shelf. I am always up for cleaning and organizing, and it is the perfect opportunity to look at what I’m buying, what my family is eating (or not eating), and where we can adjust – for health, budget, and food waste prevention.
Here are things I think about when buying snacks or snack supplies:
If it’s time for you to Spring clean your pantry, those are my questions that may be helpful for you. Can you focus on fruits and veggies, watch out for added sugars, and find foods your family will enjoy! Don't be afraid to try something new!
If you need some inspiration, try these simple swap ideas.
There are so many simple swaps we could talk about! I would suggest to take it one snack at a time. Find some swaps that work for you and focus on foods that you love to provide the nutrients your body needs.
As always, thanks for stopping by! Happy Spring (almost summer) cleaning!
I have a terrible memory. It’s on the list of things I wish I could change about myself…BUT I’ve figured out how to make do with this brain that I’ve got. For me, writing things down (especially stories) really helps my memory…and maybe that’s one of the reasons I love writing so much.
After my Mom passed away, I found a scrapbook she made showcasing my elementary school accomplishments. Taped inside to one of the yellowing pages was a handwritten note that said this, “MOM I CAN’T HELP IT BUT I LOVE YOU”. It was written in all caps without any punctuation on what used to be my favorite stationary that my grandmother had given me.
I am not sure if my love of writing started with that blue and black cat stationary or if it just correlated with learning to write, but either way, my first profound quote as a writer came in first grade. “MOM I CAN’T HELP IT BUT I LOVE YOU”. I don’t remember writing that sweet note to my Mom. I don’t remember if I wrote it for Mother’s Day. Or wrote it just because. Or maybe I wrote it because I was grounded and stuck in my room with nothing to do but write? But what I do know is this. No matter the relationship we have with our mothers, we love them. It’s beautiful. And summed up adorably by a first grader, we can’t help it, it’s the way things are supposed to be.
Even though it’s been almost ten years since I heard her voice, I can recognize and appreciate some of her strengths that I truly couldn’t see before I became a Mom. I am grateful for the lessons she taught me then and the new things she is even teaching me now.
She always used to tell me, “everything happens for a reason”. This was her “go-to” phrase when I came to her with a problem and often times, even when I didn’t. During my parents’ divorce, I heard this phrase. As a tearful teen with a broken heart and through harder times as an adult, these were always her words. This phrase that’s followed me my whole life. I see it now as wisdom.
I recognize now what she was saying all along. You have to have faith, sweet girl. No, life isn’t fair. No, life isn’t always kind. For the negative experiences life brings your way, there are 100 positive ones. Without challenges, how do we build character? Can you know what true love is without feeling what true love isn’t? For all the pain and suffering and sadness you will experience there’s usually another season right around the corner filled with smiles and laughter and if you are so lucky, a cup of coffee on a back-porch swing on a Saturday morning with your Mom.
As I encounter new challenges that I don’t understand, her words ring loud in my ear. Everything happens for a reason. Have faith.
And I do.
I’ll leave you with some of my favorite Mother’s Day quotes and my favorite verse on faith.
Happy Mother’s Day! I hope it's filled with joy and laughter and a day of celebration for that Mom you can't help but love.
Dear eighteen-year-old me,
Congratulations. You’re an adult! And adulting is so. much. F.U.N! You can vote. Make your own decisions! (And your own mistakes…so, careful.) You’re about to go to college, travel, meet a billion new people, and get a little homesick at times. It’s all a blast; so, do the thing. Be young. And take it all in.
We’ll talk more about the fun stuff later, but for now, I’m going to bring it down a notch. I know your brain is still developing and your capabilities to plan and process long term goals is limited, but I need to tell you something super important (and a little depressing #sorrynotsorry).
Your body won’t be its best self forever. SO not fair, I know! You are predisposed to bad joints and heart disease. (Didn’t you hear me say it was depressing.) You will develop osteoarthritis before you’re even 40. You will start to lose muscle in your early thirties. (Not just you, though…it’s a fun perk of aging for everyone.) You will throw your back out one Christmas Eve, just trying to take off your pants; see previous sentence about muscle loss for explanation.
Your body though. It’s the only one you’ve got. Love it. Treat it kindly. Celebrate it. Use it. Move it daily. And know this: The BEST exercise - is the one you will do.
You will try (and despise) the following things: Billy Blanks Tae Bo on VHS, Zumba, tennis, regular yoga, Ariel yoga, and running. All these things hurt your knees (see bad joints above). Oh, and climbing/repelling. That one doesn’t end well, since apparently you are afraid of heights.
You will meet people who introduce you to hiking and canoeing, and you will fall in love with those things (and those people). The outdoors is your happy place. Go outside a lot. Walk in the sunshine (but wear sunscreen). Smell the flowers, see the sights, and know that some of your best memories will be places your feet will take you that a car never could.
You will one day figure out that if exercise is not fun, you’re not doing it right. It should not feel like punishment. And if you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it. It’s ok to find something different, try something new, and to keep trying until you find the thing you love. Because it is out there.
It should make you feel strong, healthy, and you should look forward to it - daily.
A more mature version of yourself
What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Self-care is just the tip of the iceberg of things I would talk about to a younger me. In a semi-related rant, I might tell her that comparison is the thief of all joy. The things that your body is capable of is different than your neighbors. I would share some wise words that I learned from my friend (ok, she’s a famous author, not a friend) Jen Hatmaker: “Run your race.”
This could be literal. As I actually tried running races. And it was not a good fit for my body. But mostly it would be figurative. And I would preach to a younger me that what’s most important is what’s most enjoyable for you.
It took me a long time to find ways to stay active that I love. Some days that looks like walking around the block with my daughter, husband and our golden retriever or walking by myself with a podcast plugged into my ears. When the weather is nice, it looks like a planned hike or bike ride. But most days it is scheduled time at a local Barre studio. I love how every class is different. I love how every instructor is different. But most of all, I love how I feel after each class (endorphins!). I am truly enjoying being kind to my body, taking care of my body, and I love how strong I am.
One of my goals as a Mom is to teach my daughter that exercise is about taking care of your body because it’s the only one you’ve got. It’s not punishment for food intake. It’s not to penalize yourself for the way your clothes fit.
It’s really to celebrate what your body is capable of.
Research says that exercise can protect your heart and improve your health. But what research doesn’t say is what the best exercise is? I don’t think we need research to tell us that the BEST exercise, it’s the one that we will do.
This week, I challenge you to do something kind to your body. Enjoy your workouts. Celebrate what your body is capable of. And if you haven’t found something that you enjoy, keep looking. It’s there. Find what motivates you. Not your neighbor. Any movement is better than none.
As always, thanks for stopping by.