Updated: Mar 5
Have you ever gone through the line at the fast food pizza, taco, or sub restaurant pointing to “toppings” for your food? Have you thought “Wow! All these choices! So much easier and maybe better than we have at home!” I have. Have you ever grabbed a package of chips, popcorn, or cookies from the supermarket shelves, and maybe felt a little guilty about using such processed food, but then justifying it by the convenience? I have.
I admit I like shopping in the supermarket and looking at the food offerings both local and from exotic places. However, a lot of the commercial and packaged foods are not really “convenient.” If you add up the time you spend travelling to and back from the store where you purchase them, stacking them in your closet and refrigerator, unwrapping them, storing remainders, and disposing of packaging, they don’t seem so convenient.
By contrast, foods like apples and bananas come in their own biodegradable wrappers. Most of us buy them at the store, but you can use them without wrestling with shrink wrap or sealed packages. The same goes for potatoes, both sweet or white. And corn. Just wash the potatoes, poke a few holes in them, and if you use a microwave they’ll be ready in a few minutes. This whole food is more satisfying than most commercial snack foods. And yes, you can easily add toppings of your choice. It is simple to top them with salsa, beans, sour cream (I use vegan), avocado, or other things you like. The truth about the impressive array of toppings at the restaurant is that it’s there to suit the tastes of many different people. You are very likely to only select the few that you want. You need just a few on hand at home to satisfy you and your family.
One of the barriers that keep us from using “dinner foods” like potatoes, beans, and corn for snacks is that we assume they are strictly for dinner. Free yourself. Use them for snacks, and involve the children. Keep some containers of sunflower seeds, cereal, dried fruit, and nuts (if they can safely eat nuts,) and encourage them to make their own snack. Use the same approach by offering them a “topping” for whole grain bread or a “filling” for flat bread like pita, such as a seed or nut butter spread. Easy and satisfying. A sectioned container of seeds and dried fruit “toppings” is also great for breakfast oatmeal.
I appreciate the “convenience” that some prepared foods offer. That said, I think the goal is to enhance “convenience” at home through using simple whole foods that are easy to prepare (and/or actually fun for the kids.)
Speaking of kids, you can increase their creativity and good food choices by making a “toppings” menu for them to use to “create” snacks. List items you have or are willing and able to buy, such as berries, nut or seed butter, hummus (bean dip), a spice like cinnamon, shelled seeds or nuts, salad dressing or other dip, and salsa. Make another list of food to put the topping on, like cooked potato, sliced fruit or vegetable, whole grain bread, etc. Have them circle their choices. Help them to get the ingredients and put together their choice. Compliment the little chef.
Enjoy convenience at home! Wishing you happy, healthy eating.