I’ve been on a diet forever it seems, probably since I was 14. Some 30 years later, I’m still on a diet, but now I call it a lifestyle. It’s a habit to think healthy first, but it is still hard to resist things like pastries, pizza, cookies, and really good bread.
I do pretty well, honestly, but I still have a hard time with willpower. Give me one bite and you might as well give me 100, because somehow they awaken this little hungry beast in me that loses all sense of reason and eats until the food is gone.
What I’ve found is that my beast is not starving for junk—quite the opposite, really. She was starving for nutrition and, ironically, fat. If I eat something healthy like an apple and some nut butter, I’m just as satisfied as I would have been by eating a piece of apple pie.
Slowly, as I started to replace my bad choices with better choices, my little beast mellowed out. Instead of feeding her empty calories, she gets protein, vitamins, and good fats. Now, instead of chips and dip, she craves cucumbers and guacamole, or Greek yogurt parfaits and frozen grapes for dessert instead of pies and pastries.
Ideally, snacks should be a combination of protein and slow carbs with a little fat thrown in. Slow carbs, such as most vegetables and fruits and some whole grains, digest slower and keep your insulin in check. Fast carbs, like sugars, starches, white potatoes, and processed foods cause insulin to spike and ultimately fat to be stored.
Here are some healthy snack alternatives:
•A sweet honeydew wrapped in prosciutto. A good combination of vitamin C, protein, and healthy fat.
•Almond nut butter and celery.
•Greek yogurt parfait, top with blackberries and walnuts. Add cinnamon for a tasty treat.
•Cucumbers used as crackers. Add ½ ounce cheese and a slice or two of meat. Or dip in guacamole and veggie salsa. A whole cuke is only 35 calories.
•Kabobs. Try strawberries, Swiss cheese, and jícama. Or a Caprese salad kabob with cherry tomatoes, a basil leaf, and a cube of mozzarella.
•A scoop of cottage cheese topped with two tablespoons no-sugar-added salsa. Try it on cukes or celery.
•Mash ¼ cup blueberries with two tablespoons mascarpone cheese, and top with flaxseed meal.
•Cut a cheese stick in half lengthwise. Roll about one ounce of sliced roasted turkey breast around half a mozzarella cheese stick. Repeat with the remaining cheese and turkey for two roll-ups.
•Apple and nut butter. Slice, dip, repeat.
•Caffè latte with skim milk, stevia, and cinnamon.
•A couple hard-boiled eggs are a great protein pick-me-up or quick breakfast. Pair with fresh melon, berries, or a pear to keep you satisfied till lunch.
Creamy Egg Salad
-8 hardboiled eggs, peeled
-½ avocado, peeled and pitted
-1 t. prepared yellow mustard
-¼ c. chopped green onions (or jalapeño)
-1 stalk celery, chopped
-¼ t. paprika
-Salt and pepper to taste
Chop the eggs and add to a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mash the avocado with a fork. Mix the avocado, mustard, and paprika, then fold into the eggs until thoroughly combined.
Season with salt and pepper. Serve on a bed of crunchy romaine lettuce topped with chopped celery for added crunch.
Teach your little beast to eat smart and soon you won’t fall victim to those crazy binges.