Archive for category healthier snacks
Posted by Amy Romero in better food, calories, eat healthier, eating healthy, food choices, Food quality, healthier snacks, how many calories should I eat?, lose a few pounds, lose weight, Nutrition, reach goals, self help, self-talk, stop cravings, stop eating sweets, sweets in moderation, Uncategorized, weight loss on April 2, 2013
Wondering what to eat to lose weight? Or maybe you want to know what to eat just to be as healthy as you can?
It’s no secret, diet is extremely important to weight loss and health and wellness. You can work out every single day, but until your diet is clean, you won’t see the best results possible. Some people will tell you that a calorie is a calorie. If you want to be literal, yes, I suppose it is. If you have a lot of weight to lose, counting and cutting back calories and thinking about little else will definitely help. But there will come a time when you’ll plateau. Not only that, if you’re eating low-calorie junk, you’ll still feel like crap. Not to mention, eating low-calorie junk food will not help your actual HEALTH any. A healthier choice at the SAME calorie count will mean more nutrients, more fiber, more filling, etc.
So, put down the 100 calorie snack packs, the pretzels, and the diet ice cream. It’s worth it. You’re worth it. Your results will be SO noticeable, and you’ll feel SO much better once you clean up your diet.
But I know you’re still asking… “How do I eat clean?” True, 100% clean would be nothing store-bought, really. Maybe bulk grains and of course produce from the store, but anything in a box would be a no-go. I try to work toward this, but I’m not there yet.
Instead, I want to share with you what I believe is some of the most important things to eat (and not eat) that will make a big impact but also be reasonable for those of us who still need a little convenience in our lives…
Here’s my “Rules to eat by”:
- Get rid of enriched wheat products. Replace with items that specifically say “100% whole grain”. Doesn’t have to be wheat as the grain, you can think about rice, barley, oats, etc
- Drink water all day long, every day
- Get rid of sodas, inculding diet sodas.
- Eat at least 3 servings of veggies every day. (1 serving of leafy veggies like raw spinach is equal to 1 cup. Small veggies like chopped carrots & broccoli is 1/2 cup as a serving.)
- Eat 1 serving of fruit every day
- Buy organic as much as possible, especially the types of produce and fruit that were directly exposed to pesticides and all that garbage. Berries, greens, apples, etc are especially important. Things that you peel, like oranges and bananas are less important.
- Eat 1 serving of beans every day
- Combine the ‘must eats’ as much as possible. Try having a big salad for your lunches…include beans, seeds, etc & plenty of veggies, then you get it all in at once!
- Eat every 3 hours or so. Snacks can include small stuff if you’re not super hungry. Think nuts, greek yogurt, fruit, etc
- Try to keep meat to only 2 meals a day to start. Try to work your way to 1 meat a day, then if you’re feeling amazing like I think you will be, you can go from there.
- Get rid of as much packaged food as you can.
- Check product labels, look for stuff with only real ingredients. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.
- Remember to keep your meats lean. Stick to chicken, fish, and turkey as much as possible.
- Treat yourself some, but be reasonable. Have a drink once in a while if it’s important to you. But be real with yourself about how much you’re eating/drinking, measure it out. Stick to dark chocolate (72% cacao or darker), or red wine..or just a couple cookies a week,etc). This shouldn’t be a daily thing, work to kick your sugar habit. YES you can.
A few random *other* tips for well-being & weightless/healthy living success:
- Sleep 7-8 hrs every night. No excuses
- Take time every day to relax. No, sleeping doesn’t count.
- Drink more water (Yes, I know I said that already. Must be important, huh?) 🙂
- Work on speaking to yourself in a positive voice.
- Write out your goals. Not just your fitness goals. Write them all out and revisit often.
- Laugh alot.
- Make new friends.
- Find old friends.
- Help someone in need.
- Be nice to yourself and to others, even if they may not deserve it.
Soooo….what your FIRST step going to be?? Tell us in the comments below!
This is not it.
If you’ve seen the commercials for some of these products, you may believe that they are healthy. Not true. Most of these types of products are marketed as ‘filling’ or ‘healthy’ in some way. But in reality, many have as much sugar as a candy bar. Not to mention all of the other random crap in them. They are devoid of many nutrients. This goes for a LOT more than what I captured in this photo the other day while I was grocery shopping.
Now, if you use things like these (granola bars, snack bars, pop tarts) because you need snacks or quick options, I have good news. You can still eat more healthfully and still quickly with some slightly different choices. Check the health food/organic isle for snack bars. Personally, I find the Lara Bars the most delish. And they’re not made with a bunch of junk, instead it’s got real foods in it. Imagine that. Check that isle for other snacks too. Just remember that things like chips are still chips even if they’re organic. 🙂
Other quick grab & go snacks that are way more healthy than the options in the picture:
* Individual organic chocolate milk
* Greek yogurt (get the real stuff, like Chobani, Fage, or the icelandic versions)
* 1 ounce cheese (cut off the servings when you buy the cheese and individually wrap so they’re easy to grab) with Nut Thins (Crackers made from almonds, not wheat! And SO yummy!)
* Leftovers (When you make a healthy meal for dinners, double the recipes and package up the leftovers into smaller containers so you can take them as snacks or lunches, etc)
I’d love to know, do you buy any of the items in the photo? If so, do you buy them because you thought they were healthy – or at least not ‘unhealthy’?
Recently I’ve been asked many times for thoughts on what exactly ‘healthy snacks’ are. First, we’re talking about snacks because you should be eating something every few hours. They do not have to be fancy. Just healthy. This will help increase your metabolism and keep it humming.
I have my own favorite snacks that I eat every day. I’ve shared those with many of you. They include cheese with whole grain crackers, greek yogurt, fruit, vegetable salad (with homemade dressing), and shakeology. But I realize that’s not much to choose from. Works for me, but I know some of you would like more options. So I asked my fitfluential friends on Twitter for their favorite healthy snacks.
So here you go, from some of my fitness friends:
- Power crunch bars, grapes, whole grain crackers and cheese – @MsPumpnRun
- Almonds, cottage cheese, hummus, apple slices – @clwkerric
- Hummus with veggies, homemade trail mix, protein pancakes, fruit, greek yogurt, unsalted nuts, rice cakes with sugar free jelly – @MissLegallyFit
- Homemade granola, fresh fruit, greek yogurt – @WholeFoodJunkie
- No bake energy bites (Recipe here: http://pipersrun.com/2012/03/02/no-bake-energy-bites/ ) @PipersRun
- Pour Kefir over frozen fruit, it’s like ice cream – @danisandy
- Veggies & peanut butter, almonds & apples, sweet potato pudding (Recipe here: http://makingfithappen.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/sweet-potato-pudding-delicious-nutritious-and-better-than-it-sounds/) @MakingFitHappen
- Grapes, green olives, hummus, walnuts or nut thins – @afoodiestaysfit
- Mix tomatoes, broccoli, basil, olives, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper – @xoAnge74ox
- Fruit with almonds, greek yogurt with blueberries or banana, nut thins, peanut butter in a whole wheat tortilla, cottage cheese and frozen fruit, a good protein shake with almond milk, hummus and carrots, scrambled egg whites, guacamole with grape tomatoes, lara bars (link: ) – @BananaOats
- Banana date oat bars (Recipe here: http://healthyhelperblog.com/2012/02/26/two-winners-two-recipes/) – @Healthy_Helper
So there you have it. I hope this helps you find some new ideas…and I’m sure you can see, there are many common themes here. There’s a reason for that!
Here’s one of my fav salads for either a meal or a snack…fresh spinach, tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese, avocado, EVOO, lemon juice and vinegar. Yuuuummmm!
What are YOUR favorite healthy snacks?
So we all know that one of the ingredients to being healthier is “making better food choices”, right? Until recently, I thought that sort of self-explanatory. Then, I heard a friend telling me about what she’d snacked on that day. Then I remembered several other similar conversations with her. And it hit me. She didn’t really know what “better choices” meant, and she was thinking that eating small amount of stuff equaled “better choices”. And to an extent, that’s true. BUT, at some point you have to also consider the type of foods and the quality of them.
If you’re finding yourself eating frozen dinners several times a week, you may consider some other choices. If you pay attention to what you’re eating, you may see some patterns developing. So maybe you only eat a few chicken tenders. But they are still breaded. And fried. And you eat them, or chicken nuggets or popcorn shrimp, etc several times a week…or maybe even more. Well, that’s where you start to see the pattern. You may keep your serving size small (or so you think), but you’re still eating fat-laden, fried, not-so-good-for-you food. I’m a proponent of indulging sometimes. But you must be honest with yourself. First, figure out what indulging really means. And then be honest with how often you ARE indulging.
A good rule of thumb on what your diet *should* look like is that most of it should be clean foods. And whole foods. And by clean, I mean real. If you got it in a box, it’s probably not clean. Look for FRESH or frozen (not canned) fruits and vegetables. Look for minimally processed meats, and even preferably organic and local. The fresher the better. Whole grains are great. Just make sure they REALLY are whole grain. And organic milk, low fat greek yogurt, etc are wonderful protein choices that are healthful and yummy. So, you see the things I left out are things like chicken nuggets. And lunch meat. And pre-packaged soup. Pre-packaged meal-in-a-box just add beef (you know what I’m talking about). The list goes on. So if you truly can’t live without chicken nuggets. Great, eat them. Once a week. No more. And THAT’S your indulgence. Just because you eat that only once a week doesn’t mean there’s a free pass to then also eat frozen pizza twice a week. And ice cream twice a week. And so on. Before you know it, you’re indulging every day and you have not changed your eating habits.
If you’re trying to make better choices about your diet, make sure you know what you’re looking for. And keep a food journal. Every day for a month, at least. Write down every little thing you eat, including sauces, dressings, dips, etc. You may be surprised at what you find. And you can always find more info here on my blog, just click the ‘diet’ link above to find my older blog posts about calories, meal timing, snack ideas, etc.
Comment below! Would love to hear your food choices, good and bad, obstacles you may have to eating healthier, questions you have….whatever you have for me! I’m always here to help!
~To Your Health~
You know how they always say not to go to the grocery store hungry? Well, that’s still true, but I’d like to put it out there that it’s also not wise to leave home at ALL when you’re hungry. You’re a lot more likely to eat something away from your house that you wouldn’t normally choose. When you’re trying to make healthier diet choices, eating out increases your chances of making poor choices. Have a snack before you leave the house to run errands or even before you go to work. Just make it a healthy snack. It’ll help you eat less calories in the long run and also help prevent making poor quality choices as well. And hey, you’ll probably save some money this way too. Grabbing an apple on the way out the door is a heck of a lot cheaper than a value meal at your nearest fast food restaurant.
Some good options to keep in your kitchen for these last minute snacks are fruit, single serve chocolate milks, greek yogurts, kashi cereal bars, string cheese, shakeology, or small baggies full of raw veggies. Even if you’re not hungry before you head out, it may be a good idea to grab a piece of fruit on the way out the door anyway. If you’re like me, you’ll be hungry in an hour or two, and if you’re still out and about away from the house then, you’ll have that fruit ready.
I’m sure there’s other great options for snacks on the go…what are your favorites?
~To Your Health~