With kids out of school and adults working from home all day, like most people we are eating three full meals a day at home. Add to that the non-stop toddler snack requests, and my own time spent in the kitchen working on recipes for this site and my clients, I’m constantly looking for ways to make mealtime a little bit easier. It’s true, even food bloggers can use a break from all of this home cooking! One thing I’ve been doing for my own lunches lately is making a quick little snack plate to fill me up when I only have a few minutes to eat between juggling work and mom-life. It’s a choose your adventure sort of lunch, with a boost of protein from Hood Cottage Cheese, and whatever else you can find in your fridge and pantry.I’ve been borrowing this idea from my #DomestiKateGrazingBoards series. There is nothing I love more than to graze away on snacks all day (which is exactly why a healthy, filling lunch is so important – to keep me from snacking non-stop while we’re at home!). Often times when I’m making these large, elaborate snack boards for parties, I’ll dig around the fridge and pantry and fill it with extra ingredients I have on hand, like extra veggies from our weeknight dinners or dried fruit and nuts from the pantry. It helps me reduce food waste and makes for a really beautiful display full of variety and flavor. I scale this idea down for a quick lunch by shopping my fridge and pantry, and building my plate with a few key elements: Something with protein. Of all of my current grocery store challenges, sources of protein has been what I’ve had to rethink the most. I’ve been making one or two meat-centric dishes at the beginning of the week to use those ingredients up first, and then getting creative with adding protein to our diet with vegetarian options like chickpeas, eggs, and cottage cheese.

Hood Cottage Cheese is an awesome option for these lunch snack plates, being low in calories and sugar but high in protein. Plus, Hood Cottage Cheese comes in lots of flavors and are perfectly blended using the high-quality ingredients, so I feel good about adding it to my plate! I usually go with the Hood Country Style Cottage Cheese for its versatility; you can always add on things like everything bagel seasoning or a drizzle of honey to mix up the classic flavor.
Something fresh. I try to add something fresh to my plate, like veggies or fruits, to balance out my lunch. This is a really good opportunity to use up leftovers from the fridge! Half an avocado leftover from last night’s tacos or slices of carrots, celery, or peppers from the veggie bin. And more often than not, it’s a few leftover berries or pieces of fruit from a snack I made for Jane that have been abandoned – toddlers just don’t seem to be as into reducing food waste as I am!Something crunchy. I’m a salty-savory gal and need a little crunch on my plate to be truly satisfied with lunch. A few crispy pita chips, a nutty whole grain cracker, or some gluten free crackers do the trick to fulfil my snacking needs and balance out all of the healthier elements on the plate. This is a clean out the fridge kind of meal, so sometimes there might be a few bites from last night’s dinner or any other leftover ingredients I might have on hand. And don’t forget to give your pantry a peruse for some add-ins like nuts, dried fruit, and crackers. It’s fast, easy, healthy, and reduces food waste. And best of all, it sort of feels like I’m having my own little festive grazing board, even if I’m just eating lunch at home.

Please note: This post was created in partnership with Hood Cottage Cheese. All opinions, image and content are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this site.