Will The REAL Healthy Snack List Please Stand Up??

If you’re like me you may often find yourself digging through your desk drawer in the afternoon or aimlessly wandering around your kitchen opening and closing cabinets in the evening. What is it I am in search of?? Oh, right, a snack! Of course there are differing opinions on snacking – some say it’s bad and will keep your body from using existing energy stores (fat!), some say it will rev up your metabolism to help you burn more fat.

There are 2 realities we must face:

1. Each person has their own unique biology and metabolism that will or will not function ideally with snacks. Some people function best on 3 meals per day, period. Others will do better with 3 smaller meals and 2 or 3 snacks. We all have to find what works best for our body.

2. Sometimes we just get the urge to snack! When this urge strikes, it is best to address it head on with a good quality nutritious snack rather than try to squash this urge and berate yourself resulting in feelings of guilt and shame! Associate snacking with negativity and we’re likely to ride that shame spiral full speed into a bag or neon orange cheesy corn chips (you know the ones I mean!) or a box of those cookies you bought from the neighbor kid!

So what’s the solution?

The best place to start is with a Pantry Clean-out!! Go through your pantry, cupboards, drawers, and refrigerator. Throw away all the tempting garbage – your go-to treats and snacks that you know are bad for you but you simply can’t resist! You won’t have to resist them if they don’t exist!

Next, re-stock with healthy options so you have a selection of easy quick nutritious snacks on hand. Having options readily available will give you an immediate snack solution – you can feel good about what you are eating and avoid any negative snack guilt.

So now the big question – what are some healthy snacks I can stock up on? I actually did a search online for “Healthy Snack Options” and as I browsed through the results I was appalled at what some very well known sites were recommending as healthy options. One site listed a whole selection of packaged items without a single simple produce item among the options (umm, apple anyone??). I was so disturbed by what I found that I decided to start my own list.

Now this list is by no means a comprehensive list and some of the items may be deemed more or less healthy depending on your own nutritional beliefs, but this is a list of a lot of my go-to healthy snacks and other options that I would feel good about putting in my body and recommending to others.

And BTW – I don’t believe in low-fat or fat-free options. Good fats are essential for optimal health and generally when fats are stripped from foods they are replaced with the ultimate evil, SUGAR!

My Top 25 Healthy Snacks:
1. Apple slices with Peanut Butter
2. Grapes – fresh or frozen!
3. Banana – fresh or frozen!
4. Clementine, Orange, Tangerine
5. Any kind of berries!
6. Plain Yogurt – add your own fruit instead of getting the kind with syrup-y “fruit”
7. Celery sticks with Peanut Butter and Raw Honey
8. Cucumber slices with Guacamole
9. Cherry Tomatoes
10. Sugar Snap Peas
11. Raw veggies with Hummus (Carrots, Cucumber, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Bell Pepper!)
12. Almonds, Pecans, Cashews, Pistachios – go for raw unsalted
13. Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds – go for raw unsalted
14. Hard Boiled Egg
15. Cottage Cheese with Peaches or Berries
16. Sliced Melon (Honeydew, Cantaloupe, Watermelon)
17. Raisins, Prunes, other dried fruits – go for unsulfured
18. Fruit Smoothie – Banana / Mango is my favorite quick fix!
19. Pickles or Olives
20. Whole Wheat Pita with hummus
21. Whole Wheat Crackers with Sardines or Tuna
22. Whole Grain porridge – Brown Rice, Quinoa or Oats with Almond milk and fruit!
23. Homemade Trail Mix (I make mine with Cashew pieces, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Raisins, and a few Dark Chocolate chips!)
24. Date Balls (check out my recipe for Death by Fudgy Date Balls!)
25. Any other Whole Food or Whole Food recipe!!

Bag the guilt and enjoy a healthy snack!!

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Living Low Carb: Controlled-Carbohydrate Eating for Long-Term Weight Loss

Best selling author Jonny Bowden provides detailed info on the history of low carb eating (it didn’t start with Atkins!), how your body processes carbs and why carbs cause some people to gain more weight than others, and addresses some of the myths about low carb eating. Also included are reviews of 38 of the most well known low carb plans with an overview of the plan, the general rules of what you can and cannot eat on the plan, and who may and may not benefit from the plan. Other topics include supplements and diet drugs and how to incorporate low carb eating into your life. Very informative book with a lot of information for anyone eating low carb or interested in eating low carb.

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Forks Over Knives

Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn have focused their research in the area of nutrition and have come to the conclusion that humans are not meant consume meat. Campbell (author of “The China Study”) worked with leading scientists in China to compile health and diet data across 65 locations in China and finds that as some areas transitioned to a Western diet incidences of heart disease and cancer rose drastically. This film also follows patients with chronic diseases and shows how their health improves as they adopt a plant based diet.

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Hungry for Change

Another terrific informative offering by the creators of Food Matters. This film focuses on the diet, weight loss and food industries and how they keep people locked in a vicious cycle trying one diet after another. Includes discussion about the addictive nature of processed products and the guaranteed failure of the products offered by the diet industry. Featuring Joe Cross (Fat Sick and Nearly Dead), Alejandro Junger (author of “Clean”), Jamie Oliver (Food Revolution), and many other well known authors, experts, and wellness advocates.

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Food Rules

Michael Pollan’s compact guide is full of common sense reminders such as “Eat only foods that will eventually rot” and “Eat your colors”. With the constant barrage of diet books causing so much confusion over what’s good and what’s bad, this quick read brings it back to the basics. Great resource for anyone lost in the next-best-thing diet cycle, or anyone looking for simple guidance to improve their health through nutrition.

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Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It

Jeff O’Connell shares his personal journey as he discovers that despite his fit, healthy appearance, he has been unknowingly following in his father’s footsteps on the path to type 2 diabetes. He discusses the risk to all, fit or sedentary, fat or thin, young or old, and provides easy to understand explanations of how different foods impact our blood sugar levels and how the standard tests may not tell the whole story. He reveals the truth about how dangerous processed carbs are to our health and discusses the misinformation perpetuated by health care, pharmaceutical, and food industries around the definition of a “healthy” diet. Great read!

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Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

Joe Cross embarks on a 60 day juice fast as he travels across the US. As he meets people along the way he spreads the word about the health benefits of juicing and the positive effects he is seeing both in his body and general wellbeing. He accomplishes his ultimate goals of reaching a healthy weight and curing the rare skin condition he had developed, eliminating his dependence on prescriptions for high doses of Predinazone. He is now off all meds and has had no recurrence of his skin condition.

Just as you think this story is over Joe is called upon to help someone in need. As he supports this man through his life transformation you see how the positivity shared by one man can ripple though to impact many. Truly, truly inspiring!

You can view the trailer at Joe’s website: http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/

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