healthy choices

Easter is Over… And so is the Candy Binge

So Easter is over, and now my house is left with all kinds of delicious candies and treats. The kind of candies and treats that melt in my mouth and then stick in my thighs for 3 years.

I’m not gonna lie; I love candy. It is yummy and it makes me feel good….. but does it really? I mean. no. It might satisfy some immediate craving, but when all is said and done I’m left with a headache, a sugar-coated mouth and a billion extra calories that only a two hour run in the sand would work off. Now I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a child again and stuffing your face with all the sugar your poor mouth can hold on Easter. But like I said, Easter is over.

I have come up with some great replacements from my very own kitchen that I enjoy snacking on during the day. These are exponentially healthier and ultimately tastier than my bowl of holiday left-overs. And they are all easily accessible!

I feel like some of you may be looking at these skeptically and thinking, “Ummm… nah. Those don’t look tastier than what I’ve got stashed in my underwear drawer hidden away from my husband and children.” Well go wash your mouth out. Drink a few glasses of water and give your tastes buds a re-start.

Sambazon Frozen Acai packs are fantastic alternative to, well pretty much anything. Acai is one of those super foods that are packed with all kinds of life giving and restoring goodies. Throw a pack in the blender with a banana and some yogurt and you have yourself a thick smoothie! Not that hungry but just want something cold to sip on? One pack with a small amount of water, and you have yourself an acai slush. You can find these at Whole Foods. Don’t have a Whole Foods? Neither do I. We travel once a month to Jacksonville to stock up on healthy stuff. Don’t feel like driving far? Go to your local Publix, buy some Acai juice and freeze it in bags.

I like to call these my tiny fat destroyers. I ate these every day for dinner before I got married and lost SOOO much weight. Black beans are a fantastic snack, especially if you are really hungry but don’t want to blow it. They are stacked with fiber and can be a good source of protein if you are trying to stay away from a lot of meat. It has recently been discovered that the little cover of the bean is full of phytonutrients. They also do a great job of supporting your digestive tract. I like to spoon a half of a cup of these in a bowl with some pepper and salt and go at it.If you cook them on the stove-top, add some honey and cayenne pepper. It give it a sweet kick.

Well duh. Eat all of those eggs you colored for Easter! Eggs are a great and healthier choice for protein, choline and vitamin B, especially if they are organic! Their calorie count is low too. Each one only packs about 68-70 calories, which is not bad at all!

I’m sorry, but these are the best dang granola bars I’ve ever had. If you are like me, a typical granola bar is almost insulting to food. It’s like they pretend to be yummy but also have to be healthy, and they end up just making me so angry. But these Clif Crunch bars are my fave! You’ve got your whole grains which hold a surprising amount of fiber. 4 grams of protein, and delicious chocolate chips. One pack of these holds two bars, and is a total of 180 calories. These are great for meals on the go, like when you are driving. ALWAYS have one of these in your purse so that you are not tempted to stop at McDonald’s and order the double quarter pounder with cheese combo. You will most like feel like the worst person in the world for it. These organic lil’ guys will help hold you over for a while until you can sit down and eat a real meal.

And last but most certainly not least, the grapefruit. This fruit brings about a nostalgia every time I eat it. When I was really small, like 2 and 3 years old, my mom would have one of these every day for breakfast. We would sit down in the living room and she would share hers with me. It is a very sweet memory, but also a great lesson in eating healthy. Drenched in vitamin C and the tumor-fighting antioxidant lycopene, one of these in the morning will surely wake you up and get you going. A half of this mouth puckering fruit is only 40 calories. As with all fruits, I would suggest eating this first thing in the morning and then waiting 30 minutes to eat something else. When fruit is mixed with other foods at the same time, they often tend to ferment in the gut, and that is just gross.

 

A Light and Sweet Suprise!

Salads. I’m sure we all have our opinion on them.

My biggest beef with salad has always been the taste and creativity they so often tend to LACK. But the truth is they really can be delicious and exciting if you are willing to shake it up a little and try new flavor combinations. Now I will gladly eat a salad from Texas De Brazil, where there salad bar is like 3 stories of tables adorned with the most delectable salad toppings. There heart of palm is incredible. GAHH.

I have certainly found salads more desirable these days just from coming up with new ways to eat them. Here’s the one I had for lunch today, I call it The Light and Sweet Surprise Salad.

Ingredients

2 handfuls of mixed greens (I used baby spinach and romaine)

1/2 Carrot

1/2 Tomato (or a whole one if you are a tomato lover like me)

2 slices of an apple

1/4 Green Pepper

1/4 Purple Onion

1 Tbsp. Goat Cheese

Olive Oil

Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar

(All of these ingredients can be purchased at your local grocery store and produce market)

Cracked pepper, raspberry balsamic vinegar, & olive oil

Spread out the leafy greens on your plate and set aside. Dice up the carrots, tomatoes, apples, green peppers and onions. Joyfully toss them on top of the greens (it’s about to be so yummy!) Sprinkle the goat cheese on your fruits and veggies, and the drizzle the olive oil and raspberry balsamic vinegar over top of it all. Then add some fresh ground pepper to taste.

Delicious Salad

This took me all of maybe 8 minutes to make, and the tastes and textures really compliment each other. For example a bite of greens with a diced up apple and onion together is a very balanced flavor of light and intense tastes, and the onion opens up the flavors of the apple and really make it pop.

Wanna know what the surprise is? The goat cheese and the raspberry balsamic vinegar create this taste and texture similar to the inside of a cream pastry. HELLO! If you’re wondering why I added goat cheese to this otherwise perfectly vegetarian salad, here’s why. Some fats are good, and goat cheese happens to contain those good fats. When taken in small amounts, these good fats actually help you to absorb some of the nutrients in the fruits and veggies better, and ultimately help you to burn fat faster. You can always substitute blue cheese or feta crumbles if you are not a goat cheese fan.

Are you a salad lover or hater? What are your favorite salad ingredients and recipes? Have you ever been to a restaurant where the salad was better than the main course?

Gimme Them Snacks!

I don’t know about you, but snacks are what get me through the day.

So yesterday I was thinking about what I would post today, and I was thinking about it WHILE i was eating one of my favorite snacks. I thought, “well gee, I’ll just take pictures of these perfectly healthy and nutritional snacks so as to share with others and perhaps get them hooked.”

I also secretly thought about how good it would make me look; how health conscious people would think I am. All while sneaking off to the gas station to buy a bag of cheddar and sour cream chips because I had a headache and I knew they would make me feel better. And not to mention the greasy sausage, egg, bacon and cheese biscuit I had at McDonald’s on Tuesday that I kept a secret from Daniel.

So the truth is I WANT to be healthy. But I struggle. Boy, do I struggle with food and it being my comfort. And I just felt before I went ahead and talked about these wonderful foods I nibble on all day to stay energized and sustained, I needed to confess that I mess up in this area. A LOT.

Well now that that is off my chest, let me tell you about these yummy treats!

Sunflower Seeds are life’s most unassuming snack. These tiny things pack quite a bit of protein and fiber, and a handful of them will leave you feeling satisfied. Along with the protein and fiber comes all of the good fats that actually help us lose weight or maintain where we are now. I like to eat these in between breakfast and lunch because they really do hold me over and they are tasty. You can get them roasted, but keep in mind that through the roasting process much of the nutrients are lost. And usually that process involves salting the seeds, so I like to eat mine plain.  A sure fire way to drop some of those unwanted pounds is eating 3 tbs. of sunflower seeds a day. Make sure you eat them slowly (as with anything) so that your body knows it is satisfied. Whether you eat them like me or go for the roasted ones it will be exponentially better than buying a bag of chips from the gas station!

Oh man. I used to HATE peanut butter with a passion. Can you even imagine that? A kid hating peanut butter? I am so glad that I acquired the taste for it as an adult because this stuff is delish! Organic peanut butter has such a fresh and real taste without all of the added sugar and salt. A spoonful of this at around 3:30 pm gives me that boost I need and makes me feel full. Not only do they provide your body with the protein, fiber, folate and magnesium that you need, but they also carry antioxidants. This is also a really good snack for when you are craving sweets, because it has that thick texture that is so satisfying. Now remember, organic does not mean it is less fattening, so don’t go overboard. Also, keep in mind that you do have to refrigerate organic peanut butter which I realize can be challenging to a lifetime peanut butter lover. But the taste and nutritional value of this stuff is worth it!

Now I know I don’t need to point out the health benefits and tastiness of these tangerines. But citrus in general whether it be an orange, grapefruit or tangerine are all packed full of vitamin c and antioxidants. And I mean, hellooo?? They are so good.

The Publix Deli Jalapeno and Cilantro Hummus is my current favorite snack. Hummus, which is made from chick peas and olive oil, are packed with iron, vitamin c, folate and vitamin b6. What I like about this specific brand and flavor is that it has the taste of a jalapeno without the spice, and I am a cilantro so the combination is perfect. Eat these with carrots and peppered sliced cucumbers or cut up a tomato into wedges and slather a spoonful of this good stuff on top.

What are some healthy snacks that you enjoy?