Hunger is not just about filling your stomach. You can eat enough, but still feel a need for “something more.” That “something” you need to feel satisfied may be a texture or a flavor. Often it is a desire to bite down on something crunchy.
I recently cooked a root vegetable stew. It was healthy, and tasty, but it needed “something more.” I lightly toasted some peanuts to add. My husband refused the peanut addition on his first serving. He agreed to try it on his second. It was an “aha!” moment for him. The crunchy peanuts were just what it needed, he said.
Crunch is a lot of the reason nuts and seeds are popular, and mainly healthy, as well as popcorn, and trail mix. Raw vegetables such as carrots and celery sticks succeed largely because of their crunch. They can often be satisfying and even keep you from stuffing yourself with less healthy snacks. Crackers, rice cakes, and toast have helped many people eat snacks that give them satisfying “crunch” without a lot of fat and calories.
Here’s the danger: Crunch is so appealing that it is used to sell a lot of packaged snacks that are high in fat and in calories. They are not healthy. Also, it is very hard to eat them in moderation. As the sellers of chips have advertised, “You can’t eat just one.” Sadly, most Americans eat far too many of them.
The remedy? Supply yourself with good “crunch.” Make sure you have healthy crunchy foods on hand.
Now to address the “what ifs” you may be asking, like “What if I pair those crunchy vegetables or crackers or taco chips with a creamy dip? What if I like nuts covered in chocolate? “
You can keep the crunch and lessen the worry about calories and saturated fats by using dips like Italian salad dressing or salsa. In my book of healthy snacks for children to make (look at it by pressing the “BOOKS” tab on this site,) there are recipes for several dips, and for nuts, seed, and/or dried fruit in chocolate drops. There are also instructions for making trail mix with your own choices of crunchy stuff, as well as dried fruit, seeds and nuts.
Wishing you enough crunch, and happy, healthy eating.