I want to preface this post by stating that I don’t really cook. When left to my own devices, I opt for easy. I’m a very lucky girl because my husband cooks and he is seriously excellent at it. He doesn’t really follow recipes, rather he just throws food together and it always end up delicious. Both of us have been eating healthier for the past year or so (this matters so much when everyone in the household is on the same page).
One of the fundamental rules we have learned to set yourself up for success is to keep the crap foods out of the house. It keeps the temptation for trigger foods at a minimum. What to keep on hand when you get those cravings for a snack?
1. Ready to eat fresh veggies. We wash and cut the veggies right away and put them in baggies or Tupperware type of containers so they are ready for a snack (or to throw in a salad, or to cook). My favorites are sugar snap peas (I just rinse, I like them whole), cut up bell peppers (red, orange or yellow are better nutritionally than green), and radishes (love the peppery taste). I also love seedless cucumbers, great for a snack but I love to add slices to my drinking water.
2. Get an air popper for popcorn. No oils to cook the popcorn and no gross chemicals from the microwave versions. Season with powdered seasonings. I like cayenne pepper and garlic powder. Or simply drizzle apple cider vinegar over the popcorn for a tart treat. As a side note, buy apple cider vinegar with the Mother. It will say Mother on the label, it’s the good stuff that makes this type of vinegar so good for your body.
3. Protein bars. You really need to read the nutritional labels for these. Check for the amounts of sugar, carbs, fiber and protein. Keep the fiber/protein high and the sugar/carbs low. My current favorite are Atkins bars (e.g., peanut butter granola bars).
4. Avocados. I try to eat one a day whenever possible. They are filling and contain good fats and other nutrients. I just eat it plain with a spoon.
5. Canned sardines. So filling with lots of protein and healthy fish oils. For such a little fish, it packs a huge nutritional punch. I’ve been loving the Season Brand sardines in olive oil (skinless & boneless). They sell them in 5-packs in Costco.
6. Beef jerky. I try to limit my consumption because of the high sodium levels (I’m watching my salt intake), but I will have a little snack size bag whenever I need to increase my protein. Jack Link’s have snack size bags or you can buy a big bag and divide them into your own snack-sized portions.
7. Raw, unsalted almonds. A small handful is a great easy and packable snack. Don’t go overboard though, the calories and fat add up fast. Blue Diamond makes 100-calorie packs that you can throw in your purse, it takes the portion control guessing game out of the equation.
8. Nonfat plain Greek yogurt. Eat it plain or you can add fresh fruits. My favorite fruits are berries since they are relatively higher in fiber and lower in sugar as compared to other fruits. Plus, they are so naturally sweet when in season. My husband likes to mix in a teaspoon or so of peanut butter into his Greek yogurt. The related note here is that you need to read the peanut butter’s nutritional label. Check the sugar levels, look to keep it under 3 grams of sugar per serving.
9. Cottage cheese. We like 2% fat cottage cheese because it strikes the right balance between taste and low-fat numbers. We couldn’t do fat-free, it tasted like paste. Fresh cubed pineapple is a tasty add-on to the cottage cheese. Substitute cream cheese (we said buh-bye since there’s no redeeming nutritional value to cream cheese) with your smoked salmon for a powerful protein packed breakfast or snack.
10. Sunflower seeds. Seeds are very nutritious and these take awhile to eat since you have to remove the shells. These are great while watching TV at night or for watching a game of sports.
I also wanted to mention the documentary, Fed Up, since it’s about the American food industry and the deadly or disease-causing effects. You learn about the evils of added sugars in our foods. You should check it out on Netflix. Here’s the trailer:
Enjoy your holiday weekend!