Friday, November 03, 2023

NaBloPoMo Day 3: Snacks

Welcome to day 3 of the blogging marathon. Hamsini requested an update on the After-School Snacks for All post that I wrote almost exactly 11 years ago. After 18 years (!!!) of blogging, I do not remember most of the posts I've written, so I had to go dig this one up. It was fun re-reading it. 

How things change over the years, though. Snacks are now a very minor part of my diet. I've gone from being a snack enthusiast to thinking of them as more of a problem. 

In that post I wrote, "I've made it a habit to eat a hearty snack right around 4:30 PM". That is no longer true. Now we eat dinner at 5, right after we all get off work and school. And then the grown-ups don't eat anything at all until breakfast around 9 or 10 the next morning, making for a sort of intermittent fasting. Most days, I exercise in the early mornings, and I do that on an empty stomach. The kids sometimes eat a snack closer to their bedtime. 

I also wrote, "I'm not really eating 3 big meals a day, but more like 6 small meals, and this snack is one of those meals." Nope, not doing this any more. It turns out that a petite woman like me (barely 5 feet tall, with a small frame and a desk job) does not need much food, and even 6 small meals verged into overeating territory. There are other hormonal reasons why eating frequently is not a good idea, particularly for someone like me, a veteran of gestational diabetes. (See article here; I don't agree with everything this doctor says- I don't agree with everything anyone says- but it makes the point.) So I am now habituated to 3 moderate meals per days and rarely snack at all. If I want to eat a snack food, I try to include it in a meal, like eating tortilla chips crushed on a black beans and veggie bowl instead of snacking on them. 

In that post, I said, "These smaller frequent meals seem to keep my blood sugar on a more even keel, which makes for all sorts of better decisions and a sunnier disposition, believe me." Well, now that I am habituated to eating fewer meals, and eating more whole foods, I don't typically get hangry if I go a few hours between meals. Snacks are not as inevitable in my life as I thought they were. You live and learn. 

Hunger pangs are a complicated thing. People like us- affluent, well-fed people- rarely get a chance to experience true hunger. It is mostly a matter of habit and boredom which drives us to seek food. I do stand by many of the things I said in that post, distraction, drinking water, or a hot beverage like herbal tea may be sufficient to quell the hunger pangs. Also, "urge surfing" (look it up) is worth practicing for cravings in general.

I also recognize that my lifestyle- flexible hybrid working schedule, 8 minute commute, and nuclear family structure- allows me to eat dinner at 5 PM. For others who work late, have long commutes, live in multigenerational homes and eat with family members who want to dine later- this may not be an option. So, no shade to those who tide over the hours until dinner with a snack! 

I guess my big issues with snacks are that they (a) make it easy to overeat, (b) tend to be ultra-processed, (c) tend to create packaging waste, (d) create a culture of grazing constantly all day. The last point- the snacking culture where you can't go anywhere or can't do 15 minutes of sports without snacks and gatorade in tow is particularly exasperating. 

With two growing kids and their friends who drop by often, snacks are an inevitable part of life. How I currently handle it: (a) lean into whole foods as snacks, (b) compromise and buy occasional packaged snacks that the kids love, (c) make food like lasagna and casseroles and leave it in the fridge for the kids to warm in small portions and eat in between meals. 

Snacks at my daughter's recent birthday party:
Fruit platter and veggies with dip

Snacks at my daughter's recent birthday party:
cutie oranges, chips and pretzel sticks

So here is a giant assortment of snacks, compiled from that old post and adding some new ideas. It is not that I have all of these on hand all the time, but at any time, I try to keep a selection of 4-5 snack options around. 


  • Refrigerated snacks
    • Make at home
      • Squares of hash brown casserole
      • Pasta
      • Vegetable patties (recipes here and here)
      • Carrot sticks, baby carrots, cucumber slices, red pepper strips, cherry tomatoes
      • Sprouts bhel
      • Date balls or granola bars
      • Kale salad (my daughter loves this as a snack and eats it by the handful)
      • Cut up fruits- watermelon, cantaloupe
      • Baked sweet potato fries
      • Corn on the cob- steamed or roasted
      • Dips- yogurt based and hummus
    • Store-bought
      • Whole fruit- cutie oranges, apples, pears, grapes, strawberries
      • Peanut butter
      • Nut butter
      • Cheese sticks
      • Cheese- to be sliced or cubed
      • Raisin cinnamon swirl bread- my kids love this with cream cheese
      • Sliced bread- for quick sandwiches
      • Yogurt cups
  • Frozen snacks
    • Make at home
      • Extras of any of the homemade stuff
    • Store-bought
      • Frozen waffles
      • Frozen snacks like onion rings or potato spirals
      • Frozen quorn nuggets and such 
      • Frozen edamame
      • I freeze stuff I buy on sale or in bulk, like bread products
  • Pantry snacks
    • Make at home
      • Chivda or trail mix
      • Stove-top popped popcorn
      • Cookies on occasion
      • Peanuts and jaggery make a good 30 second treat
    • Store-bought
      • Cereal- less sweet varieties
      • Granola bars
      • Whole grain crackers and pretzels
      • Salsa
      • Roasted seaweed (the packaging waste is horrible for these)
      • Applesauce
      • Canned fruit like mandarin oranges and pineapple 
      • Chips
      • Nuts- peanuts and other
      • Dried fruit like apricots, raisins, cranberries
      • Khakra
      • Fried Indian snacks like chakli

If you have a post request for my NaBloPoMo marathon, drop me a comment! 


  1. I don't have a post request but I wanted to let you know I couldn't agree more with "Hunger pangs are a complicated thing. People like us- affluent, well-fed people- rarely get a chance to experience true hunger. It is mostly a matter of habit and boredom which drives us to seek food." This has been my realization as well. Husband and I practise intermittent fasting (we began a few years ago), and it works so well for us. We skip dinner (last meal of the day is a cup of coffee and a little snack eaten around 4:30pm-5pm), and breakfast is eaten around 8am, so we get a fasting window of roughly 14-15 hours. People ask if I don't feel hungry in the evenings, and the truth is that I rarely do. But when I have a wish to eat something, I end up doing that. Happens very infrequently, though.

    That realization that one often wishes to eat in order to to kill time, to mask a sense of emptiness/boredom, to drive away an unpleasant emotion... is powerful!

    1. Yeah, hunger is very much a matter of habit, and habits can be changed if they are not serving us. We are conditioned to think that we have to eat constantly around the clock, like we will faint if we don't eat every 2 hours, like skipping a meal is a major emergency. I am trying to unlearn this.

  2. Also, can you please share your 30-second peanut+jaggery snack recipe? Thanks!

    1. Oh it is literally just eating peanuts (any kind- raw, roasted, salted, unsalted) with a bit of grated jaggery. The soft kind of jaggery is best. It is one of those simple combinations that really hits the spot. Or maybe that's just my childhood nostalgia :)

    2. Another childhood nostalgia snack- cashews with raisins!

    3. I love that combo, too! But you wrote "30-second," so I thought that there may be a microwave involved, haha.

  3. Oh yes, I had gestational diabetes as well and got into the school of thought that small and frequent meals were good. Now, not so much, but I do need an evening snack as we eat around 7:30. What is your recipe for kale salad, if you have one?

    1. I'll take some pics next time I make the kale salad and post it! It is the simplest massaged kale salad with just kale, salt, and a bit of olive oil, and lemon/lime juice.

  4. Just catching on your nanowrimo posts. Thanks for this. I agree and also have reduced me snack intakes. I find fruits, nuts and herbal teas to be the best in between actual meals. Ofc I love grazing trays, dips and crudites but try to have them as starters :)


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