Sticking to a real food diet has proven to be challenging, but not all too difficult. I enjoy fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts and such, so eating them is not the problem. The problem lies in those moments where I need (or want) food right NOW. I am hungry, I don’t want to cook I just want to eat, but with a refrigerator full of raw food, sometimes I don’t have anything I can just grab and eat. These are the moments when my preparation is pivitol! Fortunately, there isn’t anything at the house that I shouldn’t be eating (except for those boxes of Girl Scout cookies that I am waiting for the cookie fairy to carry away), so I don’t succumb to the temptation of poptarts or cereal, but I still need to eat something. Always having SOMETHING on hand that is healthy and convenient can be difficult, but with a little preparation , you can set yourself up for success.
We are not the only ones in the house who will benefit from having healthy choices on hand, either. Those moments right after the kids come in the door from school, after they’ve peeled off their coats and thrown their bookbags in the middle of the floor, and they’re HUNGRY. They make a b-line to the refrigerator or pantry and pull out the first thing they see. Fortunately, the first thing they see is up to you!
10 Snacks to put at the front of the fridge:
1. Chocolate-Coconut Balls: if you make them with peanut butter, these taste just like no-bake cookies, minus all the sugary chocolate. By using quality ingredients like natural peanut butter, coconut, almonds, honey, and cinnamon, you can have a sweet, HEALTHY treat for you and your kids to enjoy when you get a sweet craving. Allergic to nuts? That’s okay, use coconut oil instead of nut butter and a mixture of pumpkin seeds, flax seed, or sunflower seeds instead of almonds!
2. Smoothie Ingredients: Frozen fruit, fresh fruit, coconut milk, whole milk, cocoa-powder, greek yogurt, quality protein powder, plain yogurt, ice, coffee, and even vegetables! Mix a few of any of these ingredients and get a frosty, quick treat. Serve it in a wine glass with some fruit garnish and pretend you’re somewhere warm…it may sound cheesy but I do it all the time! 🙂 A good recipe guide would be:
- 1 c. fruit or vegetable
- 1/2 c. liquid (milk, yogurt, water)-add more liquid if using frozen fruit or veggies
- 3 or 4 ice cubes
Again, that’s a rough estimate, use your own creativity and come up with some great flavors! Or for a couple recipes click on the link “Smoothie Ingredients!”
3. Protein. It’s easy to get loaded up on carbs if you don’t have any quick sources of protein to pair with them, too many carbs throughout the day leads to excess sugar in the body, which gets stored as fat. Cooked chicken breasts, pork, or beef cut into small pieces can be easily thrown onto a salad. Hard boiled eggs are quick and convenient. Chicken salad, tuna salad, and egg salad taste great served alongside an apple or pear, or wrapped inside romaine lettuce. Dairy sources would include; cheese, plain yogurt sweetened with honey or fruit, and cottage cheese.
4. Leftovers. Sure, it may sound a little heavy for a snack, but that’s only because we’re used to thinking of snacks as crackers, chips, and cookies. A small serving of last night’s dinner will satiate you without leaving you feeling that fake hunger that sets in after eating some processed junk.
5. Fresh veggies. It’s easy to pick up fresh fruit and chomp away, but we’re probably less inclined to pick up a cucumber as an afternoon snack. I struggle with eating more fruit than I need to and not enough vegetables, so I try to make sure my veggies are prepared for the week so I can eat them anytime. Preparing them ahead of time will set you up for success. Some fresh vegetables paired with some dip made from Greek yogurt and you’ll be getting a serving of vegetables, as well as protein!
I really enjoy cooking, so spending an afternoon in the kitchen is not daunting for me, but I understand that we don’t all share the same hobbies. Look at it in another way, by spending some time in the kitchen over the weekend, you can cut down on the amount of time you spend in the kitchen during the week, and in the long run save tons of time by keeping your family healthy and away from the doctor’s office!
Wash and cut your veggies and fruit (45 minutes), make a big container of tuna, chicken, or egg salad (30 minutes), grill a couple steaks and chicken breasts(20 minutes), make some Coconut-Chocolate Balls (15 minutes),stock up on dairy sources of protein and you’re done with snacks for the week. The only side affect is: you might lose some weight and have more energy…I hope you’re ready for that.