So, you've made your resolutions and promised yourself that this year, unlike all the previous ones, is YOUR year! You've joined a gym or invested in several exercise DVDs and have actually started implementing your workout plan...at least I hope so! You also cleaned out the junk food from your fridge, freezer, and pantry and have swapped out some items with their lower calorie, lower fat counterparts. Like many of us, you probably included swaps for those pre-packaged 100-calorie snack packs to compliment your lunch salad or grilled chicken dinners. It's been a little over a week, since New Year's, and you may be noticing that you're constantly hungry between those meals. A snack pack or handful of diet crackers isn't cutting it. You're starving. You're low on energy, high on irritability. You've arrived...at that dangerous precipice of continuing on with new eating habits or running right back to your old ways, where you at least felt fulfilled and happy!
Don't jump quite yet, my friend! A slight tweak is all you need. It's called relying on the right fuel, not some prefab mix of worthless crap that mother nature did NOT intend for you! Try swapping out those carby snacks for fruits and veggies paired with a small side of protein. For probably the same or less calories, consider baby carrots with hummus, fresh pineapple or grapes with lite cottage cheese, apple slices or mixed berries with a small yogurt, sliced pepper with string cheese, or a banana with a small handful of almonds or walnuts. Each pairing is not only good for you and gets you a step closer to hitting that 5-a-day-in-as-many-colors rule, but each also takes longer to eat than just wolfing down a bag of chocolate covered pretzels, helping your body read that it's satisfied and signaling you to stop eating before you rip open bag number three of some processed, trans-fat laden junk.
Yes, but grab-and-go is just so much easier, right? Right! So, MAKE YOUR OWN!! Make a snack plan, over the weekend, and bulk up on the necessary parts at your next grocery store visit. Upon getting them home, wash and rinse, slice, cut, seed, measure, and bag your fruits and veggies in assembly-line fashion. Spoon, slice, measure, and bag or bowl their protein partners, and viola, you're done! You will get so good at this that you'll be able to manage your supply to avoid waste and to keep your options constantly rotating and endlessly fun and interesting. Better still, you can share your stash with your kids and hubby. The best yet, you are one step closer to maintaining the lifestyle necessary for your continued health and happiness. Happy shopping!