4 Tips for Snacks that Stand in for Supper

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

We all know the feeling. You come home from the craziest, weirdest day and before you know it you’re glued to the sofa. Feet are up on the coffee table while one hand ferries chips straight from the bag to your mouth.

Even though you know it would take practically zero time to toss together a quick salad, stir fry up a few veggies, or heck, even call for takeout, it feels like an insurmountable task. Why? Because snacking is just so gratifying. So why fight it? Here are a few ways to turn snacks into a full meal.

The convenience, the instant gratification, the…salt? The snack cabinet is practically calling your name. Living alone or cooking for one? Forget it!

In an effort to combat the snacking temptation, I’ve decided to give in to it with a new game: How can I turn snacking into an actual meal? No, I don’t mean convincing myself that three pickles and a bag of microwave popcorn constitutes dinner. Rather, I’ve started anticipating the desire by shopping to make interesting meal-worthy snacks a possibility all through the week.

Here are a few tips:

1. Give in to convenience. Capitalize on the same convenience of busting open a bag of chips by stashing a stack of versatile side dishes in the fridge. Find a day of the week you love to be in the kitchen cooking, (Me: Sunday afternoon) and whip up 3 to 4 great sides that will last all week. Think about those fabulous little overpriced salads at the gourmet grocery for inspiration. Pull out that funky quinoa salad recipe you’ve been meaning to try, or go classic with a tray of roasted seasonal vegetables.

2. Keep it simple. Anticipate your midweek laziness. Slicing up veggies sounds idiotically simple today, but by Wednesday evening it might be a tall order. Make your fridge lazy-proof. Cook up a pot of grains or hard boil a few eggs to complement those sides.

3. Brush up on your international small plates. What really is the difference between snacking and tapas? Look to international snacking traditions like mezze or Britain’s ploughman’s lunch for inspiration and lists of complementary ingredients to get started.

4. It’s all about the presentation. Even if you’re noshing on store bought hummus, arrange a portion alongside your other fixings. Swirl it up, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a bit of paprika. The extra step of a beautiful presentation goes a long way towards making a $3 tub of hummus feel more legit.

What are your best tricks for transforming snacks into something meal-worthy?

(Image: Emma Christensen)