To snack smart is to snack period. I mean it. To most, snacking is a bag of potato chips on a Friday night (sober or not). But that’s not actually snacking though. It’s a meal—maybe two.
Without recesses and the after school grace period (that hour between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm), as college and university students we don’t practice snacking. Our schedules are no longer regulated, so our eating habits aren’t either. We eat as much as we can whenever we can. Lost for free time, we maintain our hunger at two extremes: starving or stuffed. Likewise, our snacks are either plain boring or over indulgent. But when smartly done, snacking, in combination with regular meals, levels out your hunger, satisfies it and keeps it satisfied.
Keep it thoughtless
Time is the enemy of many—snacks included. A snack should be neither time-consuming in its preparation or consumption. Consider the classic: milk and cookies. When it comes to preparation, pouring and plating are the only requirements. Furthermore snacks that are thoughtless to prepare often pack easily, like cheese and crackers or a piece of fruit and some yogurt. Yet even preparation-heavy snacks can be whipped up on the weekend or during a break from late-night studying to allow for minimal preparation when snack time itself strikes. Bars, cookies and cake come to mind—nothing overly indulgent of course—candied or seasoned and roasted nuts, or even homemade fresh cheeses and cured fish. The time you put in in advance will pay off in flavour.
Keep it composed
High school health class and government marketing has imprinted the image of a balanced meal in our minds—or mine at least: half a plate’s worth of fruit and vegetables, a quarter (or slightly less) of protein and another quarter (or slightly more) of grain products. So if we know the image so well, why don’t we apply it (on a smaller scale) to our snacks? Like a well-thought-out outfit or layered composition, snacks should be multifaceted. Take the rice cake, for example. On its own it’s flavourless, boring and flat—akin to cardboard in multiple respects really. However, smear a dollop of peanut butter on top with some peach slices and a sprinkle of cinnamon and now—thanks to composition—you have a snack both filling and flavourful.
Keep it tempting
Smart snacking shouldn’t induce yawning—it’d be against the very nature of snacking itself. When we snack, we’re tiding ourselves over—treating ourselves—between meals. It’s the carrot at the end of the stick. However in keeping with the carrot imagery, if raw carrots bore you, you shouldn’t force yourself to snack on them. Season and roast them. Puree them into a dip and serve alongside crackers. Grate them and blend them into a cookie, cake or muffin. Keep nutrition in mind, but don’t let it dictate every snacking choice. Let moderation and your personal tastes instead. Milk and cookies or the snack cake wouldn’t exist otherwise.