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BODY WATCH : Snack Attacks : For between-meal meals, do you go for healthy or not-so-healthy? Or maybe you reach for nothing at all. : Confessions of a Munchy Misfit

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

As soon as she arrives at my house, the search begins. Chips, crackers, cookies, “just a little something to nibble on,” my mom says. Finding meager munchables, we make the compulsory trip to the grocery store snack aisle.

Mom is a world-class snacker, and she knows that if munchies were water, my house would be the Sahara.

As the daughter of a snacker, the wife of a snacker and mother of two little snackers, how did I become so snacking-impaired? When people talk about their favorite snacks, I’m at a loss for words because I don’t have any. Even our dog sits patiently with pleading eyes whenever a crunchy carbohydrate comes through the door.

Have I taken the idea of spoiling my supper too seriously? It’s not that I don’t have a good appetite. I truly love desserts. I’ve just never cared much for filling up on fillers--especially when I know that breakfast, lunch or dinner is less than a few hours away.

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Besides, have you checked out some of those snack names? If you’re having a good day, do you pick the “Sociables” and on the day you suffer from PMS choose “Screaming Yellow Zonkers”?

It’s not easy being a munchy misfit. We’re often misunderstood--like my friend and fellow non-snacker Jane, a successful career woman whose father wonders if she’s having financial difficulties because she never has any Do-Dads or Cheese Tid-Bits on hand.

“He thinks if I don’t have snacks in the cupboard, I’m having trouble buying food,” she says. “I try to tell him, ‘I don’t like Do-Dads,’ but he doesn’t get it.”

Neither does my family. They’d snack all day if I let them.

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The first words my 2-year-old put together were “Beer-Nuts.” My husband maintains that he’s not responsible for that one, but he is responsible for the disappearance of a bag of chocolate chips in the freezer. He claims it was the only thing fit to munch on in the house.

The kids are inventive too. From about 2 p.m. on, while I’m urging them to eat fruit, they insist on Dixie cups filled with miniature marshmallows and sugar-sweetened breakfast cereal--at least until they hear the ice cream truck coming down the street.

Although I’m known for my snack-free ways, not everyone appreciates it.

When it was my week to provide snacks for my son’s kindergarten class, I tried to do the right thing. I baked whole grain muffins and cookies made with peanut butter, oatmeal and raisins. For my efforts, I received a note from the teacher chastising me for not sending prepackaged items. The lesson learned here: If it’s dated for spoilage in the year 2000, it’s OK for the kiddies.

Snack if you must, but I’ll take broccoli over pork rinds any day.


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