Winter break is officially over, school is back in session, and where I live, winter is unfortunately upon us. Unofficially, what this means is it’s time to settle back into the regular routine with school, work, and activities with less sunlight and colder temperatures to endure.
As a mom, I do not like this time of year. There are less opportunities for my two EXTREMELY active boys to get outside and burn off steam, which means an even greater effort on my part to add fitness into their day. And that’s on top of planning healthy dinners, supervising homework, and making sure we get to activities on time.
Oh yeah, winter definitely involves more planning.
In between basketball practices and drum lessons and spelling, reading and math, I usually suggest short little dog walks, indoor swimming or a go round with the punching bag that we have hanging in the basement. These all help break up the restless energy that builds in the winter time with a few boys hanging around. And I am thankful every day for my slow cooker which is where most of my healthy dinners are prepared during this time of year, as throwing something on the grill is not really an option on a cold, dark, snowy night.
Another challenge during this time of year is having healthy, yet appealing snacks on hand. Unlike the summer, when the boys can grab juice pops, a wide selection of juicy and fresh fruit, veggies and dip, and cold and creamy frozen yogurt, winter snacks are as bleak as the weather.
A combination of cabin fever and a lack of satisfying options often leads to excessive snacking on junk, which just fuels the overall cycle of lethargy, not feeling healthy and eating more junk. And with two sons and often a bunch of friends hanging around the house, I’ve had to get creative when it comes to snack food.
Here is my small list of healthy snacks that satisfy winter cravings and fuel energy:
1. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread. Toast the bread lightly before making and the peanut butter gets even creamier and richer. Not a peanut butter lover? Try sun butter or almond butter.
2. Yogurt and Granola Parfait. Layer Greek style yogurt, granola and sweet dried fruit just like a trifle for a snack that feels more like dessert.
3. Hot Cocoa. Warm 8 ounces of nonfat milk and make a mug of cocoa. A fabulous way to get calcium, soothe cold hands and still feel satisfied.
4. Banana Loaf. I always end up with an overwhelming amount overripe bananas this time of year. There are some incredible banana loaf recipes that let you sub applesauce for oil and make a hearty snack.
5. Faux Nachos. Whenever I make a batch of five bean chili, I freeze a small portion that can be defrosted and layered with baked blue corn tortilla chips and lowfat cheese for a quick game day fix.
I don’t know what it is, but there is something about cozy-ing up to a dessert-like snack in winter that just can’t be beat! Can you add to my list??