One of the easiest tips on sticking to a change of eating plan is planning your meals ahead. If you can plan and prepare about a week in advance, it is much easier to stick to an eating program. A lot of people stick to this concept and do very well for their three daily staple meals, but when it comes to snacking spontaneity and temptation will often take over. Snacks are were most unintentional calories are consumed, it will start with a bit of something and end 150 or more calories later.
Here are a few grown up snacks that work great during the workday, all day sporting event or even to help avoid the food court during a day of intense shopping.
Apples are high in fiber, low in calories and easy to grab and go. Try sliced apple and peanut butter or hummus for added protein. Replace your salty, fattening crackers with a slice of apple, they taste great with cheeses and spreads of all kinds.
Edemame is a great treat that can be bought pre-cooked and pre-packaged. These tasty little legumes are just as easy to pick up and pop in your mouth as French fries and so much better for you. Dip them in low sodium soy sauce or rice wine vinegar.
A small cup of vegetable soup is very filling and low in calories. Home made is preferred so that you can monitor all of the ingredients but if we are talking about quick snacks even a can of veggie soup will work but watch the sodium.
Low fat ricotta cheese is very versatile, it adds flavor and texture to many dishes. Try spreading low fat ricotta on a slice of whole wheat toast and sprinkle with cinnamon and a generous teaspoon of honey. This quick and tasty treat provides calcium, fiber, antioxidants and can calm a wicked sweet tooth.
We all know that lean protein is essential for weight loss. Hard-boiled egg whites are a filling option and there are so many options you will never get bored with this treat. Chop up the egg whites into an egg salad, season with your favorite herbs like chives, lemon thyme or cilantro and wrap it up in a lettuce leaf. Make a quick & low fat tuna salad with chopped red bell peppers and fill boiled egg whites, deviled egg style.
Greek style yogurt is great with nothing more than mixed fruit and a spoon but it is also a great base for dipping sauces. Get your carrot sticks, sliced bell peppers and celery or mixed veggies of choice ready to plunge into a great mixture of yogurt, minced basil & garlic. This faux pesto dip will satisfy your stomach in the middle of the day and curb your cravings for salty snacks.
Make a salad kabob – mix up the mundane by making it look different. Alternate cucumber, one ounce total of fresh mozzarella cheese, cherry tomato and basil on skewers or toothpicks. Dip in balsamic vinaigrette. Try the same thing with fruit, pineapples grapes, mandarin oranges all make great fruit kabobs. Chill and squeeze a little lemon on them for a refreshing summer treat.
Next time you are at the grocery store, stock up on healthy items that fit in your hand. Almonds, carrot sticks, kiwi, peaches, baked banana chips, dried fruit and nut based trail mix and low fat cheeses all make for excellent snacks that you won’t regret later.