Packing in Nutrition with Pre-Dinner Snacks

Thank you to Sabra for sponsoring this post!

When I was little, I remember hovering around my mom when she was making dinner, hungry and being a bother. Her response? She’d feed us veggies. I especially remember eating a lot of fresh bell peppers pre-dinner – she’d toss slices of them back at me and my brother like we were wild animals being held off from making an attack. (Which perhaps we kind of were.)

eat your veggies before dinner

Now that I’m off on my own, I still use this approach of snacking on veggies before and while making dinner, usually with some sort of delicious dip addition like hummus. It’s something I recommend to my AnneTheRD nutrition clients, too, because it’s a great way to sneak in some extra veggies and nutrition while everyone is hungry.

veggie plate before dinner

It’s also the perfect way to use up the random veggies your fridge that don’t work with whatever recipe you’re making!

Sometimes we make this a formal affair with a full on veggie plate and various hummus options to dip in (Classic Sabra Hummus is always a winner, but Matt’s fave is the Roasted Garlic Hummus and I’m loving their new Lemon Twist Hummus lately):

snack on hummus and veggies before dinner

And sometimes we keep it more casual and just grab veggies right out of the fridge and eat while standing/prepping our dinner. :) Mmmm… real carrots – you are so much more delicious and flavorful than baby carrots.

hummus and carrot pre dinner snack

Official meals are all well and good, but the pre-dinner Unofficial Meal is sometimes just as delicious, am I right?! It’s one of my favorite times of day – Matt and I graze while prepping dinner, listening to music, and catching up on our days. Also: how beautiful is this orange cauliflower? Apparently it contains about 25% more vitamin A than white cauliflower – nice!


What’s your favorite #UnofficialMeal snack? Anyone else use the opportunity to pack in some extra veggie power and hummus deliciousness? The chickpeas in hummus are packed with plant protein, fiber, iron, and B vitamins, and the oil and tahini (made from roasted sesame seeds) also add some healthy poly- and monounsaturated fats into the mix – nice!

p.s. Try my Spicy Hummus Queso Dip – great with chips or veggies!


  1. 1

    I have never heard of orange cauliflower! Crazy!

  2. 3
    Roadrunner says

    Great advice on snacking while hungry and preparing dinner! I’ve often used apple slices, in addition to cut-up bell peppers, carrots, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, etc.

  3. 5
    Lorna Clark says

    Could you elaborate on the real carrots are so much more flavorful than baby carrots comment?

    • 6

      I just think whole carrots taste better – more earthy and I think the carrot flavor comes out more. I like baby carrots, too, but I think they taste a lot more watery! Just meant to be a light-handed observation – nothing scientific. :)

      • 7

        I just fell down a rather large internet rabbit-hole (…no pun intended since we’re discussing carrots!) around the baby carrot thing. Apparently they’re designed to be sweeter, but I agree with you, Anne, I always find the regular carrots to be more flavourful. We try to remember to lay out a big mix of sliced carrots, peppers, and cucumbers before supper, and our two boys demolish them.

        • 8

          That’s interesting they are designed to be sweeter! Guess we like earthier flavors. :) Love that you do a veggie tray before dinner, too!

    • 9

      I agree! Baby carrots rarely have the flavour of the full size. Maybe it’s the processing? Do the baby ones get soaked in water or something?

  4. 11
    Lorna Clark says

    Interesting to follow this up with the difference between a carrot and a baby ‘cut’ carrot. Cut carrots have been cut, formed and washed. Nice food for thought, thanks!

  5. 13

    oh man i havent tried or seen that lemon twist hummus looks so good! :) I love the Mediterranean style one–so delicious! Ill have to look out for that orange cauliflower too!

  6. 15

    I love the veggies and humus while prepping dinner thing- keeps me from snacking on unhealthy stuff if I’m too hungry to wait for dinner!

  7. 16

    FINALLY someone else has the same thoughts about the carrots! i never liked raw carrots growing up (was only given baby carrots, usually at events that had veggies and dip, because we had cauliflower, cucumbers and peppers at home).
    then i finally once bought whole carrots and tried them- a HUGE difference. my parents think i’m crazy! haha. i think its the fact that they’re cleaned and washed- the water takes away from the taste in my opinion; they’re too bland. i like the multicolored carrots especially :)

    also about the cauliflower- the purple cauliflower is really good roasted! it gets a bit more caramelized than regular, and faster, so be careful not to burn it :)

    • 17

      Totally bland! And I agree on the multicolored fun. That’s cool about purple cauliflower — I’ll give roasting it a shot! :)


  1. […] you guys know, hummus is one of my favorite snacks – I especially love it as a vehicle for packing in veggies pre-dinner as an #UnofficialMeal! It also makes a great dip addition, like with my Spicy Hummus Queso […]

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