Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wellness Wednesday

Tip of the Day: Don't keep it in the house. 

In my opinion, it is a lot easier to eat healthy at home than it is when we're out and about. Even when restaurants do provide a few healthy options, the unhealthy ones always look and sound so much better.

That's why I think it's so important to eat most meals at home and to guard with bulldog-ish ferocity what foods are allowed passageway into our homes.

What not to buy:

  • Highly processed boxes/cans of food found on the aisles of every grocery store. Only a few items on your grocery list should be found in the aisles. Most should be from the perimeter of the store where the fresh produce, dairy products, meats, and bread are kept. A few exceptions are pasta (whole wheat), beans, oatmeal, nut butter, whole grains (quinoa, whole wheat flour), and baking essentials. 
  • Desserts. If there are desserts in our house, we will eat them. That's why we don't keep them. "But what about those times that you are just really craving some _______?" Exactly! If you don't have access to it, you can't eat it even (especially) when the cravings set in. If we have guests over and there is leftover dessert, I always send it home with them or send it to the office with Andy the next day. And, although it hurts my heart a little, I have been known to throw desserts away. Because I would much rather the trash can eat half of a dessert than for ME to end up eating half of the dessert! There are plenty of opportunities for sweets and desserts throughout the normal course of life without stockpiling them at home.
  • Chips / crackers. In my mind, chips and crackers are just wasted calories. They don't fill you up (unless you eat an obscene amount), and they provide virtually no nutritional value. There are some whole grain, simply made crackers available. My favorite are Triscuits.

What to buy instead:
  • Fruit! I love, love, love fruit. Pretty much any variety. We almost always have apples and bananas, but I also love peaches, pears, plums, mangos, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, oranges, etc... You name it! A yummy and sweet snack.
  • Raw nuts. Nuts get a bad wrap because they're high in calorie. But raw nuts (almonds in particular) are really good for you and are stocked full of protein. It's a crunchy, somewhat salty snack that leaves you satisfied longer because of the protein. Just avoid all of those snack mixes loaded down with tons of oil and salt.
  • Yogurt. One of my favorite snacks is a bowl of plain (unflavored, unsweetened) yogurt with some honey and frozen berries. The honey and fruit provide the sweetness and the yogurt has lots of protein and other healthy things.
  • Raw veggies with homemade hummus. I know, I know. Carrots and cucumbers don't entice you the same way some good ol' junk food does. But hummus makes it more tasty and you feel a heck of a lot better after downing a bowl full of carrots than you do a bowl full of Pringles!
  • Popcorn! Did you know popcorn is a whole food? Not the movie theatre kind drenched in butter. But the yummy healthy kind you can make at home. Andy & I often have popcorn for an evening snack. 
  • Cheese & Crackers. Cheese has to be eaten in moderation, but a little (like 1 ounce) with a few Triscuits provides a yummy snack and energy boost.
  • All natural one-ingredient peanut butter. It tastes so much better than Jif or Skippy! A tablespoon of peanut butter with an apple, pear, celery, or a piece of whole wheat toast is the perfect snack.
With all of these healthy and yummy options to supplement your lunch and snacks, why waste your calories on foods that are bad for you and leave you feeling gross? True, you may miss the foods that you are so accustomed to buying right now. But it won't be long before you form new habits and even begin to prefer the healthier options. 

If you are the one in your family who grocery shops (like I am) than you are the Gatekeeper of what kind of food is allowed to enter your home. Unhealthy options abound whenever you go outside your house. But while you're at home, make sure what is available is whole, real, healthy food!

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