Lunchbox Love

The Sneal

By / Photography By Brooke Allen | March 21, 2016
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My family loves to use the word “mash-up.” We have all heard of “brunch” but what about “dunch” or “linner.” My new favorite mash-up is the “sneal.” It’s a cross between and snack and meal. The concept has been around for a long time, such as the Ploughman’s Lunch in England, or as we called it a, “snacking lunch.” The sneal brings new excitement to this way of eating, especially for my kids, and it could not be easier.

The sneal is a platter filled with all kinds of yummy foods that are easy to eat individually or combined to create tasty mishmashes. There can be a central theme on the platter or you can pull out whatever you have on hand in the fridge or pantry. Sneals are great for lunch but also for after school or a late dinner. They are also convenient for feeding one person, a family, as well as a gathering of friends.

When thinking about the sneal, consider pulling foods from all the food groups i.e., fruits, vegetables, bread, cheese and meat. A well balanced platter has something for every taste and perhaps includes homemade component such as jalapeno pimento cheese, olive tapenade or herb dip.

The sneal teaches my kids about sharing, trying new foods and communal eating. Sometimes people can get territorial about their food so it’s nice to relax and know we will all be full while we take our time to eat. I find that this is a more effective way to get my kids to try new foods such as radishes and various cheeses. This is not just about nutrition but more about the social aspect of sitting at a table, conversing and sharing stories of our day.

Some of my favorite sneals include dried fruit, cheese, salami, crostini, olive tapenade and roasted shrimp. Another combination might include sliced bread, sliced ham, hard boiled eggs, cheese, apples and radishes. My kids love a sneal made up of my version of my mom’s pimento cheese with crackers, sliced pears, carrots and celery with my homemade herb dip and nuts.

The sneal can be made up of anything you love, mix and match, dress it up or down. Bring your family to the table and enjoy a communal meal at any time of day. Encourage your kids to try the new or foreign items that you pick for your platter. Incorporating the majority of food groups can be done in a fun, social and enjoyable way. I love the sneal and I hope you will too!

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