(I totally stole that title from Robyn.)
I just read and responded to Kim’s post, Think Before Munching. It got me thinking about snacking.
See, we’re wired as a society to think of a “snack” as something fat-full, sodium enriched, and sinful. A bowl of ice cream. A bag of potato chips. Nachos! (Mmm… naaaaachos…) When we’re trying to watch what we eat, we tend to deprive ourselves of all snacks, because the snacks we WANT (or that we’re wired to want) are the ones that are definitely NOT healthy. Or we think the concept of snacking is not healthy.
In fact, “grazing” is very conducive to weight loss. You spread your caloric intake out over the course of the day, which burns off more effectively than lumping all of your calories into three specific meals. A more consistent “feed” of nutrition actually aids in the proper digestion of foods, too. Less to process at one time equates to a more efficient tummy.
I’ve been trying for YEARS, now, to eat and snack in a healthful way, and I’ve gathered a number of tried and true snack options that help me not to fall into the monotony of celery and carrot sticks. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. A cup of healthy cereal (read, Total or Special K, not Coco Krispies or Lucky Charms) with a half-cup of low or non-fat milk.
2. Vegetable sticks (carrots, celery, bell pepper) or whole grain crackers dipped in hummus.
3. Three or four whole grain crackers topped with a small wedge of cheese (LOVE Laughing Cow/Babybel products for this).
4. A half-cup of lowfat cottage cheese, with veggies or berries if you like that kind of thing (I like mine plain).
5. A half-sandwich on whole wheat bread with lean meat and mustard.
6. A Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich. Because sometimes you just have to have ice cream.
7. Whole grain bread or sprouted bread, toasted, with a TBSP of all natural peanut butter.
8. Celery sticks with the aforementioned peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese.
9. A slice of tomato topped with a thin slice of mozzarella and a few leaves of baby spinach, wilted under a broiler for 30 seconds or so. WICKED good.
10. Frozen grapes. Trust me. Take a bunch of grapes, rinse them, put them in a baggie, and stick them in the freezer for about a half hour. Longer than that and they’re kind of ew, but at the half-hour mark their little frozen bits of heaven. Very refreshing in the summer, too.
11. Fruit salad mixed with low-fat yogurt, or just by itself.
12. A yogurt/granola/berry parfait – 1/2 cup of each layered in an ice cream dish.
13. Red bell pepper “boats” – slice a red bell pepper in to quarters and remove the membranes and seeds. Fill with spreadable lowfat cheese (the aforementioned Laughing Cow) and a tablespoon of hummus. Trust me, these are wicked good. I prefer red bell because of their sweetness, but YMMV.
14. Baked tortilla chips dipped in salsa. Just don’t eat the whole bag/jar. I’ve been known to do that, zoning out in front of the TV. An hour-long show has gone by and I’ve been noshing away the whole time.
I’ll post more options as they come to me, but for now, I hope these help!