healthy-snacks

Snacks & Drinks

SNACKS
Snacks should be fruits, vegetables, 3/5 Rule carbs, or protein. Be careful of too much fruit as they are very high in calories due to the natural sugar content. Lean meat, like turkey is another snacking alternative.

If you have children, the best way to get them to eat fruit is to prepare it for them. Peel an orange or slice an apple and place it on a plate for them to eat. Keep fruit out on the counter in a bowl in the kitchen to encourage children to snack on fruit.

I noticed that as I was making the transition to a healthy diet, I was getting hungry before lunch. I’d bring some clementines or bananas to work and eat one as a late morning snack. After a month or so, I no longer felt hungry prior to lunch, so I subsequently eliminated this late morning snack.

Another good technique is to drink water when you feel hungry. Many of us have confused the thirst signal from the brain as a hunger signal. You need about 2 quarts of water a day so keep a bottle of water with you.

Try snacks like kale chips or a handful of nuts to satisfy a salty craving. Dried fruits are a good alternative for those with a sweet tooth.

Crackers, cookies, and popcorn
Crackers and cookies have way too much fat and sugar. Snack bars and granola bars are in the same boat. Pretzels and chips also contain far too much sugar and fat.

Popcorn is also just empty calories – the grease that is used for the butter flavoring in microwave popcorn is also nothing but fat (rip open a package of microwave popcorn and be prepared to gag).

Air popped popcorn is also an option but is relatively tasteless. I’ve tried every conceivable way to make it taste halfway decent and failed. Let me know if you have a good method for seasoning air popped popcorn.

DRINKS
There are really only 2 drinks that are vital to your health: water and milk.

Milk
Choose 1% or skim milk and drink 2 to 3 cups per day. 1% milk gives the same nutritional benefits as whole milk but with fewer fat and calories. If you already drink skim milk, stick with it – it’s the lowest calorie option.

Here’s the skinny on milk. Every little bit helps. The difference between a Lean & Sexy diet and a Fatty McNasty diet is not huge. Little changes create powerful results.

Type Calories Fat grams
Whole milk (3.25% fat) 148 8
2% milk 124 5
1% milk 100 2.4
Buttermilk 99 2.2
Skim milk (no fat) 83 0.2

 

Water
Try to drink 2 quarts per day. Yes, that is a lot. This water flushes out toxins and keeps the skin smooth, elastic, and wrinkle free. I really don’t think it’s possible to drink too much water. Water also helps to keep you feeling full which is a great benefit. You do get some hydration from the water in the foods that you eat.

Most of us have retrained our minds to think that hunger pangs means we’re hungry. In many cases, pangs of hunger are actually signals from the body that it wants more water. The next time you experience “hunger pangs”, drink some water instead of eating something and see what happens.

Sodas & flavored water
Diet sodas and low or zero calorie flavored waters are an acceptable alternative to water. However. Be advised that many studies have indicated that artificial sweeteners have a tendency to induce hunger.

Also note that sodas are highly acidic and can strip the paint right off a vehicle. It’s a good idea to minimize the intake of this highly acidic drink.

Did you know that the pH of soda is below 3.0? Battery acid is 1.0, lemon juice is 2.0, and water is 7.0. Each point difference of 1.0 means that the acid is 10X different. For example, battery acid is 10 times more acidic than lemon juice.

Fruit juices
Fruit juices contain horrendous amounts of sugar and generally have very little nutritional value other than a little Vitamin C. The calories from the added sugar is a high price to pay for that little amount of Vitamin C.

Eat the fruit instead of buying a fruit juice. Your body retains much more of the vitamins and the water if you eat the fruit versus drinking a fruit juice. And no added sugar.

Sweet tea
Sweet tea is loaded with sugar – I’ve known many Southerners that drink at least a half gallon of it per day. Talk about addiction!

A half gallon of sweet tea has about 600 calories in it – about 75 calories per 8 ounce serving. 600 calories is the equivalent of eating an extra meal.

This drinking habit alone will prevent you from ever getting the body you want. If you absolutely must have sweet tea, use an artificial sweetener instead of sugar in it. If you want a great body a few little sacrifices must be made. Sorry.

Coffee and Tea
What would you do without that fragrant cup of magic mojo in the morning? Probably stumble about blindly until lunch. As long as you use artificial sweeteners and nonfat creamers, have at it.

Caffeine does increase the blood pressure and is a powerful stimulant. Some of the Starbucks varieties are so powerful they give even give me, a veteran coffee junkie, the jitters.

Coffee and tea have zero calories until the sweeteners and creams are dumped in. Choose what you put in your mojo wisely.

Energy drinks
Energy drinks are loaded with salt and sugar and the energy drinks are also loaded with caffeine and other stimulants. Best to eliminate these drinks.

A morbidly obese woman often walks on the treadmill next to me. She always brings a quart size energy drink with her. The poor woman is trying hard to lose weight but the energy drink she is drinking contains more calories than she is burning during her walk. If she simply switched to water, she’d start to lose weight instead of continuing to gain.

Alcohol
Research has indicated that 2 servings per day is the maximum healthy quantity and is best if consumed during a meal. Red wine has no particular health benefits – it’s about the same for any type of alcohol – alcohol has been proven to increase the levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol.

If you’re a beer drinker, opt for the light beer – it has 1/3 less calories. Note that alcohol is fairly high in calories due to the alcohol sugars – about 7 calories per gram, almost as energy dense as fat.

Overindulging in alcohol = extra calories. 4 or 5 light beers is the equivalent of an extra meal.