Snack-a-Thon 2016

I’m so excited!

As a middle school math teacher, there are two certainties to my day. One, I won’t get a chance to run to the loo, and two, I may not get to eat. Oh it’s not that I’m not allowed or can’t find the time. The reality is that once I hit the school parking lot at 6:20 a.m., I’m busier than a single mouse in a room full of bored and hungry cats! It’s hard to slow down long enough to take care of myself.

This year, I’m reverting back to my old ways. Yes, this is a good thing. I “used” to be so organized with every single task that required my attention and especially anything requiring planning. Lately, I’ve been slacking so my breakfasts and lunches have been, shall we say, way less than desirable. Normally, for school I eat on the run. Literally. On the run, in the car, walking the halls, at my desk, etc. You get the idea. Quite regularly I grab whatever is handy rather than healthy.

This week I decided it was time for a change. Not the kind that clinks around in your pocket or that elusive phenomenon brought by the wind. Real change (cue lights shining down with chorus music). What my happen to my weight, my blood sugar, moods, and sanity if I washed, cut, and portioned out everything for the week?  I know. Such a novel idea!

For this week’s haul, I purchased the following:

  • Low Sugar Craisins (5 oz bag)
  • Whole Almonds (6 oz bag)
  • Tillomook Sharp Cheddar Cheese (1 lb)
  • Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins (multi-seed, 4.25 oz box)
  • HEB Delicatessen roasted red pepper hummus cups (4ct – 2 oz cups)
  • Organic carrots and celery (1 lb. bag of each)
  • HUGE box of snack size baggies

Then came the prepping:

  • Wash and cut carrots and celery into 2-3 long thin strips (entire bags of both veggies)
  • Cut cheese into small cubes (portioned into 1 oz chunks, cut into small cubes)
  • Mix together in a bowl entire packages of the Craisins and almonds (mix well, and if you have a 4-yr old like me, I let her add about 1/2 – 2/3 cup dark chocolate chips.

Next, assembly line time (channel your inner Lucille Ball only w/o the candy factory) and portion everything into little snack baggies. Little one and I had a lot of fun with this and she did a great job! I wouldn’t let her wield by large chef’s knife yet as I didn’t feel like a trip to the ER that afternoon.

Then, I made 5 larger “daily” bags containing one of each of the following snacks:

  • Cheese cubes, 1 oz portion  (yielded 16, 1-oz  baggies)
  • Blue Diamond Nut Thins, 5-6 crackers (yielded about 8 baggies)
  • Celery sticks (yielded about 5, 3.2 oz baggies)
  • Carrots (yielded about 8, 2 oz baggies)
  • Almond, Craisin, Chocolate Chip mix (yielded 19, 1/4-cup filled baggies)
  • HEB Hummus cup

Each day at school I now have cheese, crackers, celery, carrots, trail mix, and hummus. I also take a protein bar, Yakult, and water. Now that is a HUGE lunch! I actually didn’t even eat ALL of that for lunch. I had to finish about 1/2 of my snacks during my 5th period class after lunch and I saved the protein bar for late afternoon.

The BEST part?!  I saved a TON of money this way vs. buying pre-made snacks that have lots of preservatives and an outrageous price tag. Plus, I have the entire week’s worth of food/snacks ready to go so I can really eat anytime during the day as needed or time allows.  Oh, wait! The BEST part was not being hungry at all today! In fact, I had to force myself to each all my “snacks” as well as my low-carb turkey taco wrap for dinner.

I have a few baggies of cheese, carrots, crackers left after taking the whole week’s worth to school today. I have THREE WEEKS of daily snack portions of the nut mix. What a bargain!

Next week, I will most certainly mix it up to keep boredom at bay. I’m thinking natural peanut butter instead of hummus, gluten free pretzels instead of crackers. The possibilities are endless! To that end, I’ll make sure to update this post with a variety of weekly snack menus.

If YOU have a favorite go=to snack that is healthy, limited processing, etc., feel free to share your ideas in the comments!

Top Left: One day’s rations, Top Right: portioned carrots & celery

Bottom row, left to right: cheese portions, trail mix portions, cracker portions,                  and pre-packaged hummus cups.

So yes… it’s time to get your healthy snack on!

Blessings,

Jennifer

 

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