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!