Most nights when my roommate comes home, usually around 8 p.m., she doesn’t cook. Instead, she flips on Project Runway and nibbles on what she calls “adult Lunchables”: cheese, crackers, fresh cherry tomatoes, hummus. Sometimes after really long days, it’s actual Lunchables (which, let's be real, are delicious). Maybe it helps that she's a fitness inspiration who just completed an Olympic triathlon last weekend. I only bring this up because it turns out that her tendency to eat "snack meals" is actually the norm for others, as well.
According to a recent survey of 2,000 subjects by OnePoll and FarmRich (admittedly, a frozen snack company), nearly 86 percent of Americans don’t eat three square meals a day. Instead, 49 percent of respondents said they skip lunch in favor of three smaller snacks throughout the day.
Many of the foods that subjects reported snacking on mirror my roommate's habits: cheese, crackers, chips, nuts, deli meat slices, fresh fruit and vegetables. Respondents also shared a preference for frozen snacks, like nuggets and sliders, which can be prepared in the microwave. Which makes sense, because 49 percent of respondents said they turn to "snack dinners" due to the lack of time they have to plan, prepare, and sit down to a meal.
There’s a lot of debate over how many times we should actually be eating in a day. And it's unclear whether or not the trend toward snacking is necessarily good or bad. But one thing that struck me, as I read the report, was that a lack of time in one's day doesn’t necessarily mean microwavable processed food and doesn't need to be the deterrent for eating something homemade.
So in case you're like me and need to hit the ground running, I’ve gathered up six dishes that only demand 15 minutes of you time. That still leaves plenty of time to watch Project Runway.
Do you eat "meal snacks"? What's a meal you'd never give up (breakfast, lunch, or dinner)? Shout in the comments below!