Snacks can serve several useful purposes such as increasing important nutrient intakes, providing needed energy for active children or for those who need to gain weight and enhancing sociability among friends.
light and nutritious foods at snack time can satisfy hunger in between meals particularly if a meal has been missed. If, on the other hand, snacks consist of a succession of tidbits, they usually contribute little except calories.
Having snacks together always helps family members feel relaxed, friendly, happy and contented with their lives.
Factors in Planning Snacks
The planning and preparing of snacks is just as important as the planning and preparing of the regular meals. The way snacks is prepared affects its desirability. In planning the snacks to be served for guests or the family, the following factors should be taken into consideration:
1. Nutritional value
Snacks should be planned in relation to the other meals of the day. Be sure that the nutrients which might be lacking in the meals served be provided in the snacks.
2. Available resources, both human and non-human
Human resources include:
a. Available time and energy of the homemaker
Some snacks require so much time in the preparation. The cook must know how much time will be spent in the preparation of the snack chosen. A simple snack that requires less of the cook's time and energy in the preparation is preferable.
b. Knowledge, skills and capabilities of the cook must be taken into account. It will be more time consuming if you plan snacks with recipes which you will be trying for the first time. It is better to plan on using tested and standardized recipes rather than new and untried ones.
Non-human resources include:
a. Amount of money available. Find out how much money is budgeted for the snack.
Here are some suggestions that will help minimize the cost of your snack
1. Include locally available foods. Locally produced ingredients are definitely cheaper than the imported ones.
2. Consider proper substitutes. There are food substitutes available in the market which are much cheaper than the original ingredients.
3. Plan to utilize left-overs. Left-overs need not be wasted. You can serve them in another form by using flavorings, garnishings, seasonings and dressings.
b. Consider facilities and equipment available. You need not plan fancy snacks when your kitchen has only the basic tools and equipment for preparation and cooking food. How can you make a puree from fibrous fruit without a food processor or blender?
c. Use foods in season. Foods in season are of better quality nutritionally. They are fresh and cheaper, too.
3. Values of family
In planning snacks, likes and dislikes vary among families. Some may give more importance to nutritionally adequate snacks regardless of the cost and amount of time and energy required in preparing and serving the food. Some foods are liked or disliked because of culture, traditions, religious affiliation and supertitious beliefs. The weather conditions also dictate what the family prefers to eat.
The snack planner must avoid repetition of shapes, color, texture and flavor. Here are some factors in adding variety to snacks:
a) Plan a variety shapes and forms to make the snacks pleasing to the eyes. When the eyes see something that looks delicious, the appetite is stimulated and digestion is enhanced.
b) Consider the texture of the food. The feel of the food inside the mouth adds excitement while eating. Some prefer crunchy, chewy, and crispy snacks while others prefer soft or smooth in texture.
c) Plan flavor combination. There are snacks combined well not only for variety in texture and mode of preparation but because of the blending of flavors.
d) Provide attractive color combinations. As much as possible, plan snacks according to the natural color of the food.
5. Type of Occasion
Different snacks are suited for different occasions. Also, some types of snacks are considered as traditional for an occasion.