15 Healthy Snack Options

Going long periods of time without eating, let’s say 5-6 hours, increases the odds that you will overeat. Why? Because you are starving. The fix for this is to start having 3 small meals and 2-3 small snacks a day. This schedule of eating keeps the metabolism rolling and keeps you from getting too hungry. If you are one of these people who doesn’t get hungry or has been accustomed to eating 2 meals a day, this can take some getting used to and I would suggest starting small by adding 1 extra meal and 1 snack per day until you build the tolerance. The habit can be formed with great practice and patience as your body adjusts.

The question then becomes, what to eat for a healthy snack. Eating more often means you can eat less. The portion sizes don’t have to be large. Below is a list of healthy snack ideas and the ideal portion sizes for each. Nothing new or revolutionary here but I’m hoping that the repetition will allow this information to sink in so that you begin making smart choices on a daily basis.

15 Healthy Snack Options

2 hardboiled eggs

1 oz of nuts (can have with a small piece of fruit)

1 or 1-1/2 tbsp nut butter with small apple, 2 stalks of celery or 2 rice cakes (try adding a little cinnamon if choosing the nut butter and rice cake option)

1 scoop whey protein shake mixed with water or 8 oz unsweetened almond milk

1 cup grapes

1 small orange

1 Quest Protein Bar

1 small side salad

1 medium banana

3 oz chicken breast

1 cup raw veggies with 2 tbsp of hummus (actual hummus…not things labeled hummus dip)

1/4 cup guacamole and 1 cup raw veggie slices

½ cup roasted sweet potatoes

2 oz. beef or turkey jerky (homemade in a dehydrator is the best option)

Banana ice cream (blend one frozen banana. May add a splash of almond milk to play with consistency

The Misnaming Of The Tubers

sweet-potato-vs-yam

We’ve had it drilled into our heads by now that when it comes to the foods that we eat, “white” is to be avoided. This pertains to bread, flour, rice and potatoes. This information has led us to encourage others and to also consume for ourselves alternatives like sprouted bread, coconut and almond flours, brown rice, quinoa, couscous and sweet potatoes. Or is it yams. Wait? What’s the difference between a sweet potato and a yam anyway??

Let’s first address that what we think we are buying for Thanksgiving and candying up are not even yams at all. The confusion can be dated back to colonial times. The USDA has continued with the misnaming. People began labeling the orange fleshed sweet potatoes as yams as a way to distinguish between sweet potatoes and yams. “Yam” is the English version of the African word “Nyami”. You see, true yams are indigenous to Africa, Asia and other tropical regions. Yams come in many different varieties and the flesh color ranges from white, orange, and even red and purple.

Sweet potatoes are grown in the States and come in a white flesh as well as orange which is the one that gets labeled as a yam.

The truth is that most of us have never tasted a true yam. If you should be so lucky, the standout nutritional differences are that sweet potatoes contain Vitamin A in large amounts, where yams beat out the sweet potatoes in Vitamin C. Yams also have more carbohydrates and slightly higher in calories.

These tuberous vegetables both contain a wealth of nutrients and are a great addition to a healthy nutrition plan, as long as you don’t go buttering and candying them up. Baking them in the oven and then adding a little cinnamon and nutmeg will do the trick and offer a powerful punch to your balanced clean eating.

Bitter Sweet: A Look into Artificial Sweeteners

I’m not a meat and potatoes kinda girl. I’m a brownies, cookies, cobbler, sweet bread and cake kinda girl. I would gladly skip dinner if I could indulge in a dense piece of cake. But the way my abs are setup, I can’t do this as often as I think I’d want to in my mind without the obvious ramifications.

In trying to tame a wild sweet tooth, the idea of using artificial sweeteners without the worry of calories, fat and sugar grams being added to our nutrition tracker diaries, indeed intrigues us.

There are more than a handful of artificial sweeteners on the market. Below you will find the most popular ones out today and what effects they have and what the FDA has to say about them. I will preface the breakdown by saying that whenever possible, natural sweeteners like raw honey, agave, our molasses and pure maple syrup should be used in our foods both on the table and in baking. All things should be in moderation. If you are going to consume artificial sweeteners, digest the information below and make the best decision for yourself.

Splenda (sucralose) Sucralose is the sweetener that is the most fashioned like table sugar. It breaks down in your body the same way and has no adverse effects. It is good baking substitute. The great news here is that after hundreds of studies over the last 20 years, the FDA has concluded that it is not toxic and has no carcinogenic effects.

Stevia– Stevia is derived from the stevia plant and is 15 times sweeter than sugar. It is heat-stable making is good for baking. It is considered a dietary supplement, not regulated by FDA. While it is deemed safe for usage, in 1991 Stevia was banned in the United States after it was studied to have carcinogenic effects.

Sacchrain (sweet n low)- This additive is 300-400 times sweeter than table sugar. It is used in baking and can be found in a lot of cookies, cakes and drinks. Pregnant women are advised not to use it as it has been shown to cross into the placenta and stays in the fetal tissue. May cause irritability and muscular disfunction.

Aspartame (Nutrasweet Equal) – Aspartame is the ugly step sister of the artificial sweetener world. Much debate has come from the effects of it and whether or not it has carcinogenic effects. Numerous studies have been done and the FDA says that it is safe for human consumption. Health enthusiasts do not agree with or believe these claims and say that Aspartame is not safe and should be avoided. It is not good for baking and has been known to cause headaches, dizziness, skin reactions and mood changes.

Clean Eating Chicken and Shrimp Fried Rice

I don’t eat rice of any kind on a regular but my family and I had all been craving this. For me it’s a cheat but for some it’s perfectly fine when made in this healthy way. Enjoy!

20150823_171223

Ingredients

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup cooked and chopped chicken breast

1 cup shrimp

1 cup carrot shreds or matchstick carrots

½ cup chopped green onions

2 chopped garlic cloves

¾ cup chopped white onion

2 whole eggs or 4 egg whites, scrambled, cooked and rough chopped

¼ cup Braggs Liquid Aminos (Soy Sauce alternative)

Directions: Spray large sauce pan with cooking spray to coat evenly. Once hot, add white onions and garlic. Once they are cooked down add shrimp. Allow shrimp to cook until translucent. Add all other ingredients to the large sauce pan and mix well. Adding the liquid aminos last. Stir until all ingredients are evenly coated. Let dish cook until warm and serve.

Personal Relationship

Starting a new routine of consistent exercise sounds like a better idea if the process is to begin with a workout buddy. Whether it be a spouse, a sibling or your crew of BFF’S, the new task won’t seem quite as unnerving if you’ll have a familiar face joining you. Having a workout buddy also proves to be a valuable idea because this gives you accountability. If your buddy is serious, you’re more than likely not going to flake on a workout session because you don’t want to leave them hanging at the gym, studio, park etc.

What happens though, when your buddy is the offending habitual flaker? What happens when your husband wants that extra 3 beers at the Saturday night get-together with friends? What happens when your wife wants you to join her in eating the whole chocolate cake because her cycle is starting? What happens when no one wants to do the 5am workout with you or when they would rather meet for drinks after a long work week than to hit the sand dunes? You is what happens. You and you alone. Your discipline. Your dedication. Your consistency. Your healthy habits. You. Just you.

You see, a healthy lifestyle has to be about a personal relationship.  I thought about that this morning as I thought about my personal relationship with exercise. It made me consider another relationship that I have that has to remain personal in order for it to remain genuine, consistent and intimate. That’s my personal relationship with God. No matter what my Mother, grandparents, aunts and uncles passed on to me by means of religion, it was ultimately my personal want for a relationship with God that got me to establish it and to remain true to it.

Such is true for a healthy lifestyle.  While starting or staying in this life because of your commitment to stick it through with someone else may have been the anchor at some point, what you want must be at the forefront. Living a healthy lifestyle because someone else wants you to is not the answer. Your feelings and agendas may differ at some point and it is then that the importance of your commitment to yourself and your lifestyle matters more than ever. Be certain that you are doing it for yourself and that you are ready for the right reasons. Sometimes we all need a good kick in the pants to get the party started but if your heart isn’t in it long-term, you owe it to yourself and the person you’ve stood up yet again at the gym to reevaluate your personal relationship and your goals.

The conflict of help and happiness

“As a leader, my goal should have been to help people, not to make them happy.” John C. Maxwell

Clients in the majority don’t like being told to avoid certain foods as they try to get healthy and fit. They also generally cringe at the notion of increasing reps,sets and the amount of weight lifted. The frequency of workouts suggested gets side eyed. They don’t like to admit that evening hikes are more conducive to their goals than happy hour.

With all of the resistance and at times flat-out flippant attitudes, my advice is there to indeed help. The advice given is received in a manner similar to children whom often do not initially like or understand their parents requirements. In time as they grow and as they are kept out of harms way and as their lives show positive rewards they begin to receive it better and so do health and fitness clients. As they grow (given that they stick to the process long enough,fully putting forth the effort) and begin to see results and their lives change, they will appreciate it in the long run. They will often be grateful for your once seemingly tyrannical behavior.

If I am ever to choose between pleasing people or being pleased knowing that I am helping them, I will always choose the latter.  My duty is to get them past the walls of their own minds. Not everyone will be happy in the beginning and hardly ever will you see genuine smiling faces when you’re barking orders to go one more rep. In the end, the help will be appreciated and happiness will ensue.

Vitamin A Smoothie

Vitamin A smoothie

This smoothie had a berry taste with hint of tomato. It doesn’t take much tomato to have the smoothie overpowered. My suggestion would be to start with one grape tomato and add more to your liking. Below are the health benefits of the smoothie, some of which you have seen before. In order to maximize your purchases and not let produce go bad, wash, cut and freeze what you won’t use right away if you want to vary your selections more often. I tend to get “stuck” on flavors so I am fine using the produce in different arrangements while they are fresh.

Carrots – high in Vitamin A which is excellent for your skin, cancer prevention & anti-aging

Oranges – Full of soluble fiber, Vitamin C and potassium. Oranges prevent many types of cancer, kidney and liver diseases, lowers cholesterol, relieves constipation

Cucumber – is great for hydration because it is more than half water by volume. It also lends a hand by being a good anti-inflammatory, and high in Vitamin K which is good for bone health

Blackberry – These gems contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants amongst all fruits. Packed with fiber and vitamin C, blackberries are great for heart health and motor skills.

Grape Tomatoes – High in Vitamin C, folate and Vitamin A and its compound called lycopene which is a great phytochemical that has antioxidant properties. Look for grape tomatoes to help your body heal from wounds, repair damaged cells and tissues and help prevent cancer.

Cucumber Lime Smoothie

I am committed to using my Nutri Bullet daily now to increase my fresh and raw produce intake. Using the Nutri Bullet works ideally because it breaks done your produce into a smooth pulp that is palatable and most importantly, easy for the body to digest. It is necessary to increase water consumption when the fiber intake rises. High amounts of soluble fiber can cause constipation if insoluble fiber and water are not adequate.

Today’s green smoothie was refreshing and bright thanks to the lime! Check out the health benefits below!

Cucumber Lime Smoothie

1 leaf red chard

1 stalk celery

½ cucumber

½ lime

1 small handful of cilantro

Blended in Nutri Bullet with 4 ice cubes.

 

 

Chard is an excellent source of Vitamins K, A and C and good sources of magnesium, potassium, iron and fiber. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Regulates blood sugar

Celery is a good anti-inflammatory, regulates the body’s natural alkaline balance, aids in digestion, lowers blood pressure and because it’s rich in magnesium, it helps reduce stress.

Cucumber is great for hydration because it is more than half water by volume. It also lends a hand by being a good anti-inflammatory, and high in Vitamin K which is good for bone health.

Lime is high in Vitamin C so it works well to rejuvenate the skin. Aids in primary digestion, is a good defense against diabetes, cancer and arthritis. Lime helps to ease constipation by washing and cleansing the digestive tract.

Cilantro is a perfect detoxifying agent. Also good in decreasing risk of diabetes and heart disease. Great for healthy skin and hair and is a natural energy source.

Carrot & Strawberry Smoothie

carrot and strawberry smoothie

1 carrot

1 cup strawberries

½ navel orange

1 leaf of Red Chard

Quick Smoothie I had this morning. I only added a few ice cubes and no additional water because I wanted a thicker consistency. Feel free to add water to yours. Yield 10 oz serving

Some of the other benefits include:

Carrots: high in Vitamin A which is excellent for your skin, cancer prevention & anti-aging

Strawberries: high in antioxidant properties and Vitamin C. Boosts immune system health,promotes great skin, cancer prevention, regulates blood pressure

Oranges: Full of soluble fiber, Vitamin C and potassium. Oranges prevent many types of cancer, kidney and liver diseases, lowers cholesterol, relieves constipation

Swiss Chard: excellent source of Vitamins K, A and C and good sources of magnesium, potassium, iron and fiber. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Regulates blood sugar

I AM GRATEFUL….

source-of-happiness

I have an apology to make and it needs to be done publicly. I have complained and have been ungrateful because I chose not to have an open heart and mind about something that was indeed a blessing.

My husbands career requires him to travel. A lot. We have two children with busy schedules. Very busy. I am the parent who drops the kids off at school, picks them up and attends any daytime meetings concerning them and their activities. It is on the rare occasion that my husband is able to help with any of that due to his demanding career duties. We moved to a city last year where we had no help. Not even so much as anyone to borrow a slice of bread from if it were needed. Thankfully, it was never needed, lol.

I, being self-employed, I had to completely rebuild my business after we moved because I left an entire personal training client base that I was just getting into a good groove with. Working from home for myself isn’t often looked upon as having a job at all and all of the duties of a housewife still fall on me. In addition to being the kids chauffeur, dinner needs to be cooked, laundry done and house clean because after all, I am at home all day. Doing nothing as some would think with all the free time in the world. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I am getting content together for social media and blogs, speaking with potential clients, brainstorming on business ideas and once business did pick up again, I’ve been full steam making online client plans and supporting my clients. I also find time to do 1-2 decent workouts everyday.

That schedule has been rough and annoying at times and I went right ahead and complained and had a big ol’ pity party. I was left here to do it all by myself when I thought that the reason we were moving closer to his job was so that he would be here to help me do these things. He wasn’t and I was salty but I wasn’t thinking outside of the box of gratitude and opportunity.

What a huge blessing this is for me and my family. There is nothing like being independent and making a way out of no way. Of course that isn’t my doing. God always shows up and makes sure things get taken care of. Yes….God. How awesome is it that I am in a position to be self-employed, be here for my children before and after school, most if not all school events, meetings, library runs, homework duties, projects, hurt feelings and pep talks. Seriously? I get to do this everyday? I never thought of myself as being a Mother serving in this capacity. Never wanted to be a “stay at home Mom” but thank God for this opportunity.

My husband has a wife who sees him off to work in the mornings (unless I am still at the gym), checks on him while he is away, holds the fort down and shows up as his partner.

My husband and children have witnessed me fight for something I believe in on more than one occasion. First they saw it with me starting my own business. They saw it again with me resigning from a steady, stable and comfortable job of 13 years to pursue my business full-time. And then again when we moved and I had to start over from nothing. They saw me fight for me. For us. They had a part in it as well because they’ve all put in early morning hours and late nights helping with this dream. My husband sees a wife pursuing a passion of her own. How beautiful is it that my 16-year-old daughter has seen this example of what a wife, mother and entrepreneur is right from her own kitchen table? My 5-year-old son won’t ever remember me in any other way. He sees what a woman can be and he will seek that in his adult life.

My husband needs me to be his wife and support also and I work hard to do that. The kids need their freedom and need to explore a little without me each day and I give them that, within reason. I’ve taken for granted nearly 2 years of this awesome situation I have been placed in because I didn’t see the full beauty of it and I complained about being exhausted and alone more than I would like to be. I am grateful for this opportunity to push through while my family looks on and sometimes has to step in and help with every now and again. I am grateful that my family knows that exhausted and all, things get done around here. That laundry might look at me for a few days longer than it should but nobody is being left without lessons that will last a lifetime.

God, I apologize for being ungrateful. Things didn’t go the way I thought they should but they have gone exactly as you saw fit. Thank you for this opportunity. I get it. I appreciate it. I will live in it wholeheartedly. Thank you.