Did we snack when we were young? There were no 100 calorie “snack packs” to buy. Most snack (ie. junk) foods only came in the larger size (think, chips). Heck, even pop wasn’t easy back then as you had to open it with a can opener (remind me to tell you of the time at the hunting camp that my cousins and I tried to open cans of pop with screwdrivers while dad and the other uncles slept).
(I was hoping not to show my age with this post, but think I might have blown that!)
I don’t remember “snacking”. Some days, mom would have fresh baked chocolate chip cookies made when we got home from school. But it wasn’t part of our culture as it is today. Convenience is king.
I do remember eating proper meals – a great breakfast that got you off to a great start, a hearty lunch and dinner. Of course our lifestyles have changed since then – we’re busier, on the go and as a result, time starved. Not only does that mean that we look for convenience in our food, but it also means that we don’t have time (or don’t MAKE time) to prepare and eat proper meals.
So we snack.
I have realized over the past week that in having the time to make all 3 meals (have I made anyone jealous yet??), I have done a lot less snacking. Even in the afternoon.
I started off the first few days with snacks, but not so much lately. I didn’t even eat lunch yesterday.
I attribute that to 3 things:
1) As I mentioned, eating a larger breakfast and lunch than I’m used to (but definitely healthy)
2) NOT EATING GRAINS! I don’t feel hungry after eating, and rarely even feel full. Just feel satisfied.
3) No caffeine, so I don’t have the afternoon dip, meaning I don’t go reaching for a sugary snack to lift me up.
And one bonus…..
4) I am at home so if I am a little tired, I nap instead of eat! Although I have to admit that I’ve only done this 2 or 3 times in the past 6 weeks. But at least it’s an option.
There are lots of diet plans that recommend you eat 6 small meals a day, and honestly, that’s never really worked for me over the long term. But I have often been guilty of not eating enough for breakfast and lunch, which hasn’t helped my cause. And god help me if I ever missed a meal – I got MEAN!
I truly believe that by trying to better regulate my insulin levels by eating mostly protein, fruits, veggies and nuts has helped me reduce my snacking. Let’s see if it continues – I know, one week isn’t enough to say this is long term success!
But since the title of my post is “and some ideas” there is a convenience factor, and often time people are on the run so there is longer time between meals, or just don’t have the time for a hearty meal. So here is the idea part…
Keep in mind that all of my snack ideas will be gluten, sugar and dairy free! I also like to have protein where possible with my snack.
- Hardboiled egg with veggies (carrots, red pepper)
- Hummus with carrots
- Black bean dip with veggies. For black bean dip, mash a cup of black beans, add tomato, lime juice, cilantro, cumin and chile powder. Delicious!
- Apple with almond butter
- Tuna (with a bit of mayo, lime juice and cilantro), and put in a lettuce leaf for a wrap
- Chicken, salsa, cumin and chile powder in a lettuce leaf wrap
- Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews – with a little dried fruit (make sure nuts are raw and unsweetened. And as my friend Laurie pointed out, with no oil)
Here is a fantastic recipe for Energy Balls that I got from Mark’s Daily Apple. I made them today, and they’re great. Not sweet. But a bit chocolate-y (don’t worry, I added unsweetened cocoa powder – it’s allowed!).
Here’s the recipe:
“Energy Balls” from Mark’s Daily Apple
1/2 cup each:
- Pecan nuts
- Hazel nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- 3-6 dates
- 2-4 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Freshly ground coffee
- Shredded coconut
Run the nuts and pumpkin seeds in a food processor until ground into a fine flour.
Remove the nut flour and grind the dates and shredded coconut in the food processor until smooth.
Mix these ingredients together with coffee and cocoa powder according to taste.
Finally, add the coconut oil and mix it all together by hand. Roll the paste into small nibbly balls and sprinkle them in shredded coconut.
Here’s another bonus recipe which was also great. They have melted chocolate, which as long as it’s over 70% cocoa is fine…but I’m saving that for after the first 4 weeks.
Gluten Free Almond Power Bars – Elana’s Pantry
2 cups almonds (raw)
½ cup flax meal (flax seeds ground in a vita-mix)
½ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
½ cup unsalted creamy roasted almond butter
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ cup coconut oil
4 drops stevia
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate 73% (optional)
- Place almonds, flax meal, shredded coconut, almond butter and salt in a food processor
- Pulse briefly, about 10 seconds
- In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil over very low heat
- Remove coconut oil from stove, stir stevia, agave and vanilla into oil
- Add coconut oil mixture to food processor and pulse until ingredients form a coarse paste
- Press mixture into an 8 x 8 glass baking dish
- Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour, until mixture hardens
- In a small saucepan, melt chocolate over very low heat, stirring continuously
- Spread melted chocolate over bars; return to refrigerator for 30 minutes, until chocolate hardens
- Remove from refrigerator, cut into bars and serve
Would love any more snack ideas you have! Leave them in the comments!