Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cleaning Out Your Closet

So, you've made a commitment to leading a healthier lifestyle.  You're working out more, eating smaller portions, adding salads, and preparing meals with more color.  There's only one problem: every few hours you find yourself rummaging through your cabinets only to catch yourself sucking down Doritos, pretzels, cookies, Gushers, and every other terrible sugar/high-fructose corn syrup/blue dye/processed filled foods you can think of.

My biggest downfall when I dieted when I was younger were my snack foods.  I was a very active teenager who needed something to keep me going through the long days of school, games, and meetings, so snacks were my best option and yet, they left me feeling terrible afterward. I was bloated, tired, and literally crashing from the sugar overload.

When I revamped my eating habits in February, my first concern was "What am I going to bring to work to munch on between breakfast & lunch?" I knew how to prepare healthy meals but didn't know the first thing about healthy snacking.

Step 1- Cleaning out your closet. This means removing every item that you know will be a temptation toward unhealthy eating.  The most difficult part is knowing it's there, available, and willing to contribute chemicals and nasty sugars into your system.  If it's not there, it's not an option. GET RID OF IT! Donate what you can if it's unopened. If that's not an option, this is one of the few times I advocate wasting food. Just chuck it. No one on this planet should have to be fed those terrible food items. Throw. It. OUT.

Step 2- Replace your old snacks with better ones: If it's in the snack aisle and is in a box, chances are it's not good for you.  There are plenty of great things you can make yourself that will fill you with more nutrients and therefore provide you with more energy than any bag of chips.  Snack foods, like chips, are also known to have addictive properties in them, causing you to crave more food than actually fill you up, like you intended. Here are some homemade/healthier options:
  • Very Berry Granola Bars- there are plenty variations of this bar you could make, like apples & cinnamon, peanut butter and banana, strawberries, etc.  There are very few brands in store I would advocate for.  Stay away from these: Quaker Chewy Granola Bars. I know they taste good, but just read the ingredients and you'll understand why they're not a good option.  I'm also considering selling my own granola bars.  Leave a comment if you want to buy some. 
  • Dried fruit- you could purchase bags of these, but be very careful as to how much you pay what the company adds to it.  There are products out there that offer true dried fruit with absolutely no additives.  For us, it's cheaper to buy the fruit from the farmer's market and throw it in the dehydrator. Honey bananas & apple chips are great!
  • Nuts- almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds...they're all wonderful and super energizing.  Just be cautious of the store's mixed nuts. They are often loaded with salt.  Buy the individually packaged nuts/seeds sans salt yourself and mix them together for a great trail mix.
  • Fruit- If you have the option of refrigeration at work, a mixed fruit salad is a great pick-me-up.  You get the sweetness you originally wanted from the candy bars without all the bad sugar.  Grab some strawberries, grapes, pineapple, apples, watermelon and so on, cut it all up and toss it in a big bowl.  When you go to leave in the morning, scoop it into a small container for a mid-day snack.  Don't forget to drizzle lemon juice on the salad to keep it from going bad.
Step 3- Plan ahead:  Rushing off to work without a packed lunch or your morning snack will only leave you with two options: eating out & vending machines.  The best way to stay away from unhealthy snacking is to eat all three complete meals, make sure you're full, and then pack a small snack to take with you.  Now, snacking in and of itself isn't the most healthy option (your body actually needs those hours between meals to process all the food you ate. If you eat between meals it confuses the digestive process.)  But, if you are going to snack because you have a long day ahead of you, do it right. By packing something ahead of time, it leaves you less room to search for that evil vending machine.

Now remember, the less snacking, the better. Eat hearty & healthy meals that will keep you satisfied until the next meal, and if you eat a lot of raw/natural foods, trust me, all of those nutrient dense items will give you all the energy you need.  Because of my raw diet, I rarely snack myself, but if you're going to, do so properly with items that are going to give you sustenance, energy, and subdue those sugar cravings.  Let snacking be purposeful and not just to give into cravings.

Here's to healthy snacking!


  1. This is awesome! Snick snacks were my biggest concern when I switched to full time healthy eating. But the healthier I eat, the less I crave junk food. These days, honey drizzled over fruit is my favorite treat!
    But the key is to definitely clean out that snack cupboard! Don't tempt yourself!
    I'll post some pictures and ideas for delicious things to do with fruit as snacks that we can all use at home and at work.
    Frozen grapes are my favorite snack at work, it's like eating mini popsicles! :)
    - Stephanie

  2. I would sooooo be your first customer for your granola bars! With my busy schedule up at 5:15a.m. for Boot Camp (which I ride my bike there and back) followed by a college class (Prob. and Stats, I know, ick) then to the gym on campus, followed by homework and studying, back home around 4:00p.m. and then off to Zumba, I have no time to make these, but would love to purchase them! They look delish!!!

  3. Momma- I'll make a couple batches to bring with me when I come to visit in a couple weeks.