Keyboard Finger Food
Is it better to prep your work station in advance or just lock the cupboards when writing? Kristina Knight talks about healthy snacks and beating the urge to graze.
In a perfect world I’m up early enough to make myself and my family a healthy breakfast and to get lunches packed with fruits as well as the requisite PB&J sandwich. We’ll have dinner together and then linger over a fresh fruit salad or even a dish of ice cream.
That perfect world, though, doesn’t always happen. Usually, especially on school mornings, it’s all I can do to make sure Bebe’s freshly showered, dressed appropriately, and has a lunch with that PB&J and a juice box before the bus is there to rush her off to classes. Then it’s a quick workout and I’m at my keyboard. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? That’s because the “bad” part of this scenario is coming up: the dreaded snack breaks, the figuring out of lunch, the remembering there’s nothing thawed for dinner after 4:00 pm.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed out about a deadline or starting a new project or, heck, the eleventy things on my To Do list on a random Monday the last thing I want to think about is food. It’s easier to just keep pushing forward on my latest manuscript or freshening up my social media graphics, or brainstorming a new project idea. Easier, that is, until my stomach is growling like a black bear coming out of hibernation. Those are the times I want convenience, I want comfort. I want chocolate. Or maybe cheese. Or a nice, crisp waffle…but I’m getting off track.
The last thing I want is to spend twenty minutes before the fridge figuring out a healthy snack or lunch option. If it comes to that, I’ll just grab a Ding Dong or a bag of chips from Bebe’s stash of school lunch snacks. And believe me, as a woman over the age of 35, I don’t need another Ding Dong or bag of chips on my hips. Which leads me to the point: prepping for hunger should be part of our daily or weekly preparations.
I’m not talking about full-blown meal lists (although I do those and I find them SO helpful!). I’m talking about healthy snacking options that are as simple to grab as that Ding Dong or bag of chips.
Here are a few of my go-tos:
When I’m craving something crunchy and salty: A lunch-sized bag of chips may sound harmless but the truth is that a “grab bag” bag of chips has 240 calories, 15 grams of fat (2 grams of saturated fat), 250 grams of sodium, and 23 grams of carbs. That is a lot of stuff our bodies don’t need, especially if we’re reaching for them every day. The problem is that salt and crunch as go-tos for many of us when we’re at the keyboard. There is something very satisfying about crunching a chip as I’m working out a plot or characterization issue. Zucchini or cucumber chips are a favorite, but recently I discovered tomato chips and I can’t get enough of them. Here’s a great recipe.
What I love about these is that the tomatoes have the right amount of sweetness and saltiness, and the perfect amount of crunch. Another great option is a standard: fresh carrots, cucumber or even red and green peppers with a light dill dip. You’ll get the crunch you crave without all the salt, fat, and calories!
When I’m craving something sweet: My daughter (we call her ‘Bebe’ online) recently alerted me to the fact that people who don’t like chocolate cannot be trusted… Much like men who wear masks—that’s Princess Bride reference; you know I can’t not make a Princess Bride reference! I’m am a chocoholic. M&Ms, Hershey’s Kisses, bite-sized Dove chocolates. I love it all. But much like a bag of chips, a candy bar can be filled with extra calories, fat, sugars, and even sodium so I try to make smarter choices—which still include the deliciousness of chocolate. I might make a mug of cocoa in the winter or indulge in ice-cold chocolate milk in the summer. A handful of dried fruit is also a good substitute, or even a bowl of Cocoa Puffs—about half the serving size on the box and you’ll stay under the 100 calorie mark!
When I want both: Craving sweet and salty at the same time can be a total killer, diet-wise. Because if
you indulge in the salty you’ll still want the sweet and wind up right back in the kitchen. Or you’ll indulge the salty and go right back for the sweet. This is where it helps to have an air-popper for popcorn. Chocolate-peanut butter popcorn is a great snack option, when made from scratch, because you control what you put in it.
My recipe goes like this: ¼ cup of popcorn, air popped, ½ TB melted peanut butter or Nutella (you can get the stuff in the ice cream section to use in a pinch), a handful of M&Ms. I pop the popcorn, drizzle the peanut butter or Nutella over it along with a pinch of sea salt, then mix in the M&Ms. It’s delicious and definitely satisfying! If you don’t have an air popper or don’t like popcorn, consider using plain Chex Mix for the crunch factor – it’s similar to Puppy Chow/Reindeer Chow but much easier on the waistline!
A final thought: it’s not bad to grab a bag of chips or a candy bar. Sometimes, we want what we want and nothing else will satisfy us. But always grabbing for that bag of chips or candy isn’t good for our health, which is why I take a little time every Sunday to think about healthy food options for the week ahead. When you have a plan, it’s easy enough to stick to it!
What are your go-to writing snacks? Do you crave the crunch? Whatever you snack on remember two things: stay hydrated, and comment below or on our Social Media!