Friday, 4 September 2015

To snack or not to snack

To snack or not to snackI've never really been one for snacks between meals, I might very occasionally have a little treat, or if someone's offering me some chocolate, I'm never going to turn that down, but I don't tend to regularly eat between meals. I've also never been really one for offering my kids snacks outside of meal times. I don't know if it's a British thing, or a me thing, but since living in New Zealand, I've certainly noticed that most people here do tend to feed their kids between meals.

Most children, small children in particular, are grazers. Rather than eating three fairly substantial meals a day, they are happier with a lot of smaller meals, or opportunities to eat throughout the day. I have read that even adults might be better off eating like this, rather than the three main meals in the course of the day too. For some reason though, I struggle with the idea of eating between meals, and as a result, tend not to bother or offer the kids extra food.

When we first came over here, I was really quite surprised to find that most kiwi parents will take a stocked lunch box out and about with them for their children, even when it's only a couple of hours and not over a meal time. It's not something that has ever occurred to me, and I don't remember people doing it back home. 

For most New Zealand children and adults, morning and afternoon tea, a break time with food, is a part of every day. (Slight side issue here, morning tea? How can you have morning tea, tea is by definition in the afternoon, but that's a debate for another day.) A mid-morning snack was not something that I ever had at school and the idea of eating as soon as I got in from school would have immediately have been questioned by my Mum, as I'd probably not eat all of my tea that evening.

It's true that we do have a term for  mid-morning snack, elevenses, and that high tea is generally a small meal in the late afternoon in Britain, but I'd always dismiss these as something that maybe the rich do. I wonder if there's more to it than that though? 

Certainly historically speaking, the poorer end of society might not have been able to afford snacks between meals, but perhaps there's a bit more to it than that. I wonder if the impact of the second world war and rationing has had more of an impact on modern life than we realise. If you look at some pre-war books, the likes of Enid Blyton's famous five for example, they do nothing but snack and eat. 

When the war arrived, rationing meant that food was hard to come by, there wasn't this huge amount available anymore. Rationing lasted until nine years after the war, food rationing was lifted in 1954, which in the scheme of things isn't that long ago. I can't help but wonder if that has altered the way that we think about food in Britain? It would definitely have impacted on my parents experience, which they would have passed onto me. 

Maybe that's not the reason at all, maybe I just don't do snacks, I might try to embrace the idea of snacks, I doubt I'll find it too hard.