Happy New Year!
No matter what time of year you stumble upon this blog, this advice is so relevant. Who among us isn’t trying to improve their health and snack a little smarter? As someone who has inflammation and autoimmune issues, I'm always looking for smart ways to narrow the distance between peaks and valleys. I'd rather not crash too hard if I can help it.
When the afternoon slumps or mindless Netflix binge nights hit, what do you reach for for nourishment? Have you ever considered that the little pick-me-up could be the cause of your fatigue, bellyache, or joint pain? This snacking go-to list doesn't have to be a 100% rule but if you make healthier choices 80% of the time, imagine the difference it will make to your concentration and your well-being.
The Smartest Snacking Swaps
1. Swap Cheese and crackers... for RAW NUTS.
You're craving fat + crunch, but nuts are a better way to get nutrition and brain power into your body.
Smart snacking tip: Check out your grocery stores bulk food bins, or the specialty section near the produce for RAW nuts. Mix healthful options such as Cashews, Brazil nuts, Almonds, Walnuts with Raisins (and Goji berries if you're feeling exotic!).
Healthy snack size: 1/3 cup.
2. Swap Potato chips... for CARROTS & HUMMUS.
I love potato chips so much that they even have honorable mention in my bio! Unfortunately while the snack is delicious and oh-so-satisfying, the staying power is not great. You have to eat a lot of chips to achieve the fullness you can get with some fresh veggies.
Smart snacking tip: Skip the individual sized hummus containers to save money, but DO buy baby carrots to save yourself from peeling/chipping. Immediately upon returning from the grocery store, portion out hummus into small plastic containers for a quick grab-and-go.
Healthy snack size: 1/2 cup of carrots and 1/4 cup of hummus.
3. Swap Candy bar... for DATES.
If chewy and sweet are your jam, you could do much better than a Snickers bar! Dates can be found in the packaged produce section of your market, or in the bulk section of most health food stores. They're delicious, sweet, and you only need a few to achieve maximum satisfaction.
Smart snacking tip: You can add dates to your smoothie (be sure to remove the pit first!) to achieve yummy sweetness, so don't be afraid to buy a container. Store them in the fridge for a quick snack.
Healthy snack size: 2-3 dates.
4. Swap Sour Patch Kids for... GRAPEFRUIT
You heard me! This one may sound weird, but if you're in love with a tart bite in your snack, grapefruit is your saving grace.
Smart snacking tip: Segmenting a grapefruit takes a lot more time than opening a bag of candy, so use that time while you carefully carve your snack to focus on your breathing! To segment a grapefruit: Roll it so that the top and bottom point left and right. Slice it in half and then with a sharp paring knife, gently separate each triangle at the edge of the membrane, then separate it at the rind.
Healthy snack size: 1/2 a grapefruit.
Bonus tip: Sprinkle with cinnamon instead of sugar. I learned this trick years ago when I was doing a Body for Life workout program. I actually prefer cinnamon to sugar on my grapefruit. It's a fantastic substitution.
5. Swap *one cup* of Coffee for... GREEN TEA
Yes, I know. Stop shooting lasers at me.
And hey, that says JUST one cup! I'm not asking you to go off coffee forever. That'd be inhumane. Of all the food and drink options I take a break from in my diet, coffee is by far the one I simply can't kick. Or maybe I don't want to. Inevitably, when I start my Crazy Sexy You program every year, it takes just three days coffee-free before I'm missing my cup of joe. The solution? Do your best. Progress matters way more than perfection anyway! Swap just ONE of your cups of coffee (I start with green tea in the morning to help recover from dehydrating sleep) with a cup of hot green tea.
Smart snacking tip: Black tea is a caffeine knock-out, so opt for green or white tea. If you're used to swigging coffee throughout the day, you may want to step down the amount so that you don't suffer from headaches. HOW? Lower the amount of coffee you drink by 4 oz. until you reach the desired amount to have each day. I'm down to one or two cups of half-caffeinated coffee, which gives me the punch I need to get going but doesn't make me hangry or shaky.
Brand preferences: I love TAZO Zen which has lemongrass and spearmint to offset the grassy-green flavor. For decaf coffee, no other brand beats Bulletproof! They don't use chemicals to remove the decaf so it tastes great too.
Lightning Fast Tips
Avoid processed foods like cereal, crackers or any package out of a vending machine. The simpler the better.
Reach for a piece of fruit or vegetable slices. Something "alive" is always better for you than processed food.
Drink an 8 oz. glass of water before your snack to help you feel full.
*Comments welcome and encouraged!
WHICH OF THESE 5 SNACK OPTIONS CAN YOU SEE AS A SIMPLE SWAP TO MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER?
Pick one, try it out, and let me know how it goes!
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