Friday, January 14, 2011

The Journey: Making a plan ("Plan-of-a-snack")

One thing that was terrific for me in learning how to manage my weight and eating habits was to PLAN out ahead of time the snacks that would fit into my daily calorie budget.
Let me tell ya, I was almost always ready for a little something half-way between breakfast and lunch, and between lunch and dinner.
Those were my two "tricky" times.
Especially after lunch.....about 3 pm!!
If I wasn't careful, I would start vacuuming up whatever I saw laying around the house.
And those aren't "free" calories!!

So it made sense to me to make a list of snacks that I knew I loved that had a label on it so I knew exactly how many calories were in it.
Here are some of my favorites:

A mini bag of microwave popcorn (100 calories each)
with a diet 7-up
This is super satisfying and fills you up!!

A tube of "go-gurt" yogurt....frozen!!!
Yummy and only like 70 calories
(I did stop buying these though when I realized they are LACED with high fructose corn syrup.
In their defense though, I do believe they have begun marketing these gogurt tubes without the HFCS under the name of "Gogurt Simple".  Check them out!)

Remember that a serving of fruit is always a great way to boost your vitamin and mineral intake,
as well as fluid and fiber.
A cold crispy apple is delicious, as well as one banana (already pre-packaged for you!),
or those cutie little clementine oranges.
If I was starving though, these weren't the best at satisfying and could even make you want to eat more...
like a teaser somehow!!
A bowl of fresh strawberries with a dollop of whipped topping is fabulous though!!
Very satisfying and packed with vitamin C and fiber.
The prettier I made it look, the more satisfying it was to me.
Who doesn't want to try something like this:

I learned that protein is a GREAT hunger buster, so I tried to add more protein into my mealtimes to curb that hunger longer.
Some yummy protein snacks are:

Cheese sticks and a few crackers.
(Beware though:  Cheese and peanut butter are calorie DENSE!!
They have a LOT of calories in just a mouthful.
Self-control is key here!  That's why I liked the pre-packaged cheese sticks because one serving is one's all figured out for you.  Stop with one.)

My new favorite secret weapon is a little treat I discovered when looking for a higher protein snack.
These protein bars are delicious, easy to toss in your purse for those morning or afternoon shopping trips,
and always satisfied my craving for chocolate.  They became a staple snack item for me.
They are a little pricey though at about $1 a bar.
I bought mine at Costco in a 3-box package, but I also found them at Wal-Mart in single boxes.
They come in different flavors with the Chocolate Peanut Butter being my favorite with the
 Chewy Chocolate Chip coming in a close second!!
These bars are packed with 20 grams of protein and very little carbs, so they really curb your appetite!

Another great protein snack is a simple hard-boiled egg.
This is a great snack for my diabetic daughter too, because it has no carbs in it, she doesn't have to take insulin to eat it!!
One large hard boiled egg has only 70 calories!!
You don't want to be poppin' five of these babies in your mouth the cholesterol!!
Again....moderation and self-control!!

Finally, another thing I learned about myself that was an "a-HA" moment
was that sometimes when I felt body was trying to tell me that I was just thirsty.
So I learned to use that hungry feeling as a cue for a drink.
I started trying some water (which I HATE),
or a diet 7-up or sprite, 
or a cup of hot tea or decaf coffee.
When I learned to slow down for a minute and incorporate a "coffee" break into my day,
it gave me a definite stopping point where I could catch my breath,
and then go on with a little more energy.

Making time for a little refreshment in my afternoon was another lovely
routine that I've learned to love about a healthier lifestyle.


Laura said...

Keep talking to me, Brenda. You are on my track. Or the track where I need to be! I know you are on a budget like us. Do you buy a lot of this stuff at Sam's? We let our membership expire. Maybe I should check it out again. I would like to hear how you handled supper. Did you have set menus and you knew how many calories were in them? Does that make sense?

Brenda said...

Hi Laura!!
Thank you so much for your lovely, thoughtful comments!! We do have a membership with Costco, but because of our budget, I wasn't always able to buy the larger packages of things there. Almost all of the products I mentioned can be purchased in smaller quantities at Wal-Mart. If you can work them into your budget though, it does save money usually. I absolutely couldn't afford different snacks for my children plus my own, so it did help to buy in the larger quantities and share with my children. They love those kind of things as well!!

Absolutely I know what you mean about set menus, and the answer is yes.....sometimes. Over time, I did learn how many calories were in certain menu items, so it was easier to budget my calories that way. But I didn't want what I was learning and enforcing on myself to be a burden to my family. So I just learned how many calories were in some of their favorite entrées and taught myself what the right portion size was for me. Keep checking back because I will be doing a post on menu planning and how I worked my calorie budget around our dinners!!! Thank you again for your encouragement!! Have a lovely day!!!