Fresh fruit for juggling a busy scheduleI love food. I really really love food. I love eating as much as I need breathing. Ok, maybe I love food even more than breathing. And my food passion turns to serious food desperation on those crazy days that I don’t really have time to cook (that’s pretty much everyday). It’s all about the food.  And I love snacking just as much as I love eating but if I am going to stick to my 80% Paelo lifestyle, I need to make good choices even on crazy days. So I’m working on a list of ‘standard snack fare’ that I keep in my kitchen at all times. It’s gotta be healthy and Paleo friendly because otherwise, I’ll be chowing down on my kiddos’ pretzels and goldfish crackers and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pretty much everything else that they leave behind. I’d much rather feed their leftovers to the chickens and eat something healthier! And it’s got to be a robust kind of a snack or I’ll eat way too many. After all, I like food. I love food. I NEED food. But I don’t need it making me sluggish or hanging around on my thighs…. So here are my favorite go to snacks and mini meals to keep me fueled up and feeling full when life is out of control. And let’s face it, when is life ever not out of control?

1. Banana with a couple tablespoons of almond butter and a few crumbles of homemade Paleo chocolate.

2. A couple of cuties. Call them Cuties, or Halos, or whatever – but a couple of fresh mandarin oranges are a great way to satisfy the sweet tooth, get your vitamin C, and have a nice healthy snack in its own convenient packaging.

3. Faux apple pie. This is delicious when you’re craving something warm and sweet! Cut up an apple any old way you like – I prefer bite size pieces, but slices are good too. Dump them in a bowl with a little bit of coconut oil and a sprinkle of cinnamon (I love cinnamon). Microwave for about a minute, then drizzle with honey (Raw Manuka honey is awesome). It’s like apple pie without the carbs. The coconut oil gives satiety so it’s a great bedtime snack to replace your sugary, sweet dessert.

image4. Eggs. For years, eggs were the ‘bad guys’ of cholesterol, but new studies are showing otherwise. Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition and protein, easy to cook, and versatile. Keep some hard boiled eggs in the fridge for when you need a quick protein fix.

5.  Smoothies. Smoothies are filling and delicious, but just watch because the calorie count adds up fast. Frozen bananas, a few ice cubes, almond butter, maybe a little protein powder or a scoop of cocoa powder and a little honey. Toss it in your blender and your good to go.

6. Fresh juice. If you have a juicer, you can throw in 3 apples and 2 cucumbers for a great juice to take on the run. They are super nutritious, helps remove any water retention, and will give you energy. Need juicer? Try this one. It’s easy to use and I love mine. Bonus – the chickens love the leftover juice pulp! If you don’t have chickens just use it to create your own compost pile and the waste becomes fertilizer to grow more veggies!

It’s so easy to reach for carbs – crackers, croissants, or pop tarts, make such easy and neat packages, but the sluggishness that comes on after makes the convenience of carbs so not worth it. Instead, keep an extra supply of fresh fruits and veggies on hand: bananas, berries, apples, carrots, celery…. Fresh seasonal produce is almost always cheaper pound for pound than processed foods and gives you much more energy, satiety, and vitamins.

What are you favorite healthy snacks and meals for when you’re super busy?

 

Hot coffee and apple cobbler in a cup
Hot coffee and apple cobbler in a cup

There is an udeniable connection between food and the soul. From tiny babies who comfort nurse in their mommy’s arms, to the little hands that grasp a lollipop in the doctor’s scary office, to would-be, wanna-be, hopefully-becoming grown ups seeking asylum in a steaming gingerbread latte. There is comfort in the rhythms of a morning cup of coffee or a glass of milk and a bowl of oatmeal, shared before the busy day begins.

We love food.

Food nourishes the body while gathering around the dinner table with our favorite people nourishes the soul. It is no wonder that Jesus asked us to remember Him with a glass of wine and a loaf of bread shared among believers.  A shared meal binds us together, delicious aromas remind us of happy times, and shared stories bring us hope, laughter, and joy. A family meal fosters love, and isn’t that just what we all need?

I am no Martha Steward, no culinary genius, no master chef. But I can whip up a mean grilled cheese sandwhich, simmer soups from scratch, and I know how to delight my little ones with Goldfish crakers, pretzels, veggies, and plenty of dip. I readily accepted ketchup as vegetable since my small people have forever devoured it on any number of side dishes like green beans, apples, and even, gag, strawberries. But then Baby number 5 came along and opened my eyes to the potential of ketchup as an entree. He can make a meal out of a plate of ketchup and a spoon. And again I say, gag.

Food doesn’t have to be fancy to fill up the soul. A hot meal, a cold meal, a simple dinner or a fancy fare, Jesus gave us the right idea – share it together among loved ones, remember Him, ask for His blessing.  My busy, big family doesn’t have it all together often, we’re too busy running here and there, cleaning up, picking up, dropping off, and taking naps. But if we do nothing else right, we eat together and often. It nourishes the soul and grows the family stronger with every bite.

This morning, while my kids snacked on Goldfish crackers and milk, I tested an idea that I had been dreaming up. And surprisingly, it actually worked! This might make a yummy, easy snack, a quick desert, or even a steaming hot breakfast for a cold day. Try this out…

Apple cobbler in a cup. Serves 1.

Cut up one apple, any kind will do, into bite size pieces in a microwave safe mug.

Cover with a layer of brown sugar (you can substitute maple syrup if you prefer).

Top with four small chunks of butter (a tablespoon or two will do)

In a small bowl, mix equal parts of instant oatmeal and whole wheat flour – just a couple of spoonfuls is plenty. Add a drizzle of olive oil and mix until crumbs form -you may need to add a bit more olive oil until you find that just right consistency. Dump your crumbs on top and microwave for 2 minutes.

The results? Delicious!  Just becareful, because the apples in the bottom are very hot!

Make one mug per person and enjoy!