Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Lifestyle Changes Day 10 – How to Snack on the Cheap

on January 20, 2012

It is my biggest downfall. Snacking. Some days, the snack monster is following me around from dawn til dusk, forcing me to eat those cookies, or crackers. Really, it is. Others, not so much. I have no idea why the difference, but it’s there. Maybe on the days the monster’s not with me, my secret ninja skills scare it away! Right.

Anyway, snacking in and of itself, it not necessarily a bad thing. What you eat matters almost as much as how much. My issue,well, I love to cook. Tell me, what do cooks do? Yep, they sample the food. Ever heard the phrase ‘never trust a skinny chef’? I mean really, who wants to serve something that tastes bad? Nevermind the fact that sometimes I’m sampling the pretzel from the pantry, or a cookie from the box as I’m making the salad and grilled chicken. Bottom line, every bite you take adds up to your daily calorie allotment and when you’re ahem, sampling as you’re cooking, especially if it’s something you really love, you could’ve already had a portion by the time you get to the table and not even realize it. No, maybe not the protein, it’d be hard to eat half a chicken breast and not know it. But mashed potatoes? Oh yeah, they go down so easily! Yummm.

My solution? To not do it. Period. To not sample the food as I’m cooking. We are all friends here, I have no secrets from you (that you know! wink wink), but that’s my bad habit I have to change. I have to tell you though, I really do believe that snacking a bit during the day will help you not be so hungry you’re ready to chew the finish off the table at dinner, therefore help you stay on course with your portion control. What happens when you skip a meal, like breakfast or lunch? The next time you eat, let me guess, anything that’s not nailed down is fair game, right? I thought so. Me too. In order to prevent this from happening, a well planned and thought out snack is a great solution.

Something for you to chew on (pun totally intended), the next time you think you’re feeling a bit snackish, drink a full glass of water first. A fun physiology fact. Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you are actually thirsty, but your body’s sending the signals, but they’re really not very clear. Have you ever had a pet hamster or gerbil? Many animals like those get much of their daily water through their food: lettuce, carrots, etc. But for some reason, our brains get all discombobulated and think it’s a hunger signal when it’s really a thirst signal. Before you grab that bag of whatever, down that glass of water, and wait 10 minutes or so, and do something else. If you still feel hungry, I mean really feel hungry, not just think you’re hungry, then have a snack. Not just eating because you’re bored and there’s nothing else going on. Only eat when your body tells you it’s hungry. If you’re like most people, you have not really listened to your body’s cues in a while, you get on a clock or in a habit of doing something.

Now, my suggestion for snacking on the cheap? Oh, that’s easy. Super easy, in fact. You’ve seen the 100 calorie packs all over the grocery store shelves and commercials. Can I let you in on a secret? That stuff is crazy expensive for the quantity you get. It may be 8 packages that are maybe 1.2 oz  for a grand total of  9.6 oz (I’m totally winging this part), but a regular box of those cheese its/pretzels/whatever is going to be more in the neighborhood of 15 to 16 oz and cost pretty close to the same amount. Maybe a bit more, but you’re getting more. This is what you need to do: Spend a couple of hours on the weekend making your own 100 calorie packs. Get a box of snack bags. Then buy your favorite snack, goldfish, cheese its, whatever and read the label. It will tell you 23 crackers = 130 calories, or whatever, you can do higher math, right? Or at least own a calculator? See, you break it down and see how many of those whatever-it-is-you-love add up to 100 calories, put them in the plastic snack bags. Make enough to have them handy to grab on your way out the door during the week. Heck, get the kids involved, help them learn healthy portions too. I mean they are watching what you do and learning how they are supposed to behave, the earlier we start teaching them healthy eating habits the better. Do the same thing with baby carrots, celery or whatever else you like to snack on, apples, bananas (well, obviously you don’t want to put them in baggies, but keep them handy and where you ‘ll see them), etc. Buy some small containers and put a single serving of cottage cheese in it, or hummus, other great healthy snacks. The best snacks are the ones that include protein and fiber, which digest slower and keep you feeling fuller longer. Cottage cheese w/a sprinkling of garlic pepper and baby carrots (my fave light lunch), nut butter and an apple or celery, hummus and veggies, pretzels, string cheese, reduced fat yogurt.

I can’t believe I nearly forgot, when I”m home, my absolute fave munchy crunchy snack: air popped popcorn. Straight outta the popper, bare, naked. It’s really yum and incredibly low in calories for the volume you can eat. Oh? Do I have your attention now? Three cups, yes, you read that correctly THREE CUPS popped is less than 100 calories! If you want to add some taste, you can get some flavor sprinkles (our fave is white cheddar) I use an oil mister with olive oil, squirting a really fine mist of olive oil on it, sprinkle the cheddar and shake it all around. You get the good flavor, but way fewer calories than the regular kind. Oh, one more thing, it’s cheaper too! The 100 calorie packs of microwave popcorn, they’re about $4 for a box of 6. But a bottle of Orville (the best I’ve found so far) popcorn kernels that makes a TON, is about $5. I mean really? I’m a tightwad by nature so it’s a no-brainer for me, on both sides, calorie-wise and cost effectiveness.

Of course fruit is a great grab and go snack and you have different selections during the year. Like right now, clementines are in season and I love love love them! They are so cute and tiny and easy to peel, they just like a really fresh burst of summer. You know why fruit is great, so I”m not even going to tell you how low cal it is and how you can eat two apples or three clementines or a large banana for your 100-120 calorie snack. Or that the fiber in them helps you ‘go’ more often like you’re supposed to. Or that the fiber in fruit can help lower cholesterol.

If you have purged your kitchen (like I hope you have), keep these healthy options at hand and in view, so when you get the munchy-crunchies, you’ll see those clementines and go, ‘hmm. you know those are sweet and juicy and I think I’ll have a couple’. If it’s handy, you don’t have to think twice about it, thereby increasing the likelihood that you’ll be able to stay on target for your daily calorie count which will help you stay on track for your -3500 calories over the week.

As you are planning out your day, be sure to keep the calories for your snacks on your count. Alright friends, I think I’ve given you enough to think about today. Is your brain hurting yet? 😀

2 responses to “Lifestyle Changes Day 10 – How to Snack on the Cheap

  1. […] Simple Change: Eat Healthy Fats and OilsPumped up protein {pizza}Top 5 Heart Healthy FoodsLifestyle Changes Day 10 – How to Snack on the Cheap .recentcomments a{display:inline !important;padding:0 !important;margin:0 […]

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