Thursday, August 9, 2018

How To Build A Pantry Snack Station

Confession: I am a ravenous snacker. All day, every day, I'm a woman who loves her snacks! For someone who works at home a lot, this can be a dangerous thing. When the urge to snack hits me, and boy, oh boy, does that ever happen often, I will turn to the first snack that I can find that interests me, which can often mean some less than healthy choices. It was a few years ago, while working on my Food Hacks campaign with Kraft Canada that I came up with the idea of creating a snack station in my home. A snack station is a dedicated area for purely snacks that I fill with a variety of different options, so that when my urge to snack hits, I have somewhere to turn for quick, easy, and healthy ways to satiate me and curb any naughty food cravings. 
While a snack station has been incredibly helpful for Chris and I to help steer us away from the candy, ice cream, and other junk that's way too convenient for us to snack on, I also love the idea of making a snack station for kids! A few years ago I was taking care of two amazing young girls after school, and while they rarely ever fought or even disagreed, the one thing that they would sometimes tiff over was their after-school snacks. They would occasionally disagree about which items they were allowed to eat after school, creating an unnecessary heated moment in the midst of what was usually a lovely afternoon. This type of disagreement can be totally avoided with the help of a snack station. A snack station allows parents to curate exactly which snacks they would like their kids to eat after school, while also giving the kids the opportunity to have variety and begin making choices for themselves. 
The key word in creating a successful snack station is "variety." It's important to have variety in a snack station that covers all forms of different cravings so that there is always at least one option in the station that you could be in the mood for. This means including different types of dried fruit, nuts (both raw and salted), crackers or melba toast (I like the individually wrapped ones to control portion size and preserve freshness), granola bars, and fruit. Having variety like this means having different flavours (both salty and sweet) as well as textures, which is particularly important for kids who may be finicky with certain flavours and textures on any given day. 

If a parent wants to give their kids a special treat one day, it would be a cute surprise to have that in the snack station when they get home. I like turning to treats that are on the healthier side such as chocolate dipped dried cranberries, so you're still giving kids something special (hello, chocolate!) without spoiling their appetite or giving them junk. This can also be useful to use as a check-in spot for your kids. Leave notes for them at the snack station on things you would like done (homework, clean room, set the table, etc.), or to give guidance on other snacks that may be available in the fridge. 
How To Build A Pantry Snack Station - What To Include:
All items/ingredients listed are a guideline for you to use to create your own, but, as usual, I encourage you to use your imagination and your own tastes to create your own with what you and your kids like.
  • Nuts, both salted and raw - ex. almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit - ex. apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries
  • Apple sauce - I like the Metro Irresistibles Life Smart Fruit Snacks for reduced sugar and portion control
  • Crackers or Melba Toast - I love the Metro Irresistibles Melba Toast as a vehicle for dips, spreads, or topping with fruits or veg. I love their versatility, crunch, and the fact that they are individually wrapped.
  • Dried Fruit - ex. cranberries, cherries, apricots, figs, apples
  • Metro Irresistibles Dark Chocolate Covered Cranberries (my new favourite sweet treat! All it takes is a small handful of these to curb my sweet cravings).
Tip: Make a salad building station too to help you make quick and delicious, restaurant-worthy salads for weeknight meals!

This post was created in partnership with Metro Ontario. 

Listening To:
Lemon Glow - Beach House

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