Virtually every diet or weight loss program on the planet will warn you away from mindless eating. My weight loss book, due out for publication in August of 2015, is no exception. So what am I talking about here?
Maybe first I should say what I am not talking about: sitting in front of the TV with an open bag of chips on your lap; hovering over Mom’s kitchen island, eating taco dip and Doritos like a robot (engrossed in conversation with your brother about plans for your next marathon); or methodically working your way to the bottom of the cookie jar like it’s your job because, hey, the cookies have to get eaten sometime, so why not now? I’ve been guilty as charged on all accounts before, but recently I’ve found a better way to feed my need to graze.
Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of buying and/or preparing healthy snacks and then leaving them out in a spot where I’m likely to grab a handful whenever I pass by. My personal favorites are cherry tomatoes, bananas, soaked raw almonds, sugar snap peas (the stringless variety are especially convenient) and these roasted chickpeas I found on one of my favorite recipe web sites, OhSheGlows.com.
I’ve found that by having these snacks washed, prepped and out in a place where I see them many times a day, I’m much more likely to snack on these super healthy treats than to go for the remnants of the holiday dregs (cookies, candy, caramel corn, and more). I’ve even taken this a step further, seeking out snacks that meet certain nutritional goals of mine. For example, I do a pretty good job of getting in my daily servings of greens and berries, thanks to my mid-morning smoothie, but I find my diet lacking in other vegetables. I can help boost my intake by selecting snacks that fit the bill. Also, now that I’m back to a strict vegan diet and training for another marathon, protein consumption is a concern. Enter: chickpeas and almonds.
You can do the same thing by examining your typical diet and considering what your goals are. If you’re trying to limit calories for weight loss, then you’ll want to focus mostly on fresh veggies and a few fruits. Cucumber rounds, bell pepper strips, chunks of melon and fresh berries are all great options. If you want to boost protein consumption, then you might consider legumes, peas, nuts and hardboiled eggs (if you’re not vegan).
The beauty of this approach is that you only have to think about it once a day. Pick a time when you have five or ten minutes to do a little prep work (just before you start making dinner is a good time, since you’ll already be getting out cutting boards, colanders, etc.). Once you’ve got your snacks ready to go, you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day (or the next day, if you’re prepping in the evening). You can mindlessly snack to your heart’s content, knowing that you’re doing good for your body.
Give it a try for a few days and see if it doesn’t improve your diet. I’d love to hear how it goes. And please do share any healthy snack recipes you love with me here or on Facebook!