Friday, March 29, 2013

The Lara Project - Good Snacks

The annoying thing about getting into shape is that, if you're like me, it usually means taking good long look at your food intake, not just how much (like making sure you don't skip meals) but the quality of that food. Busting your butt at the gym can only do so much.

When I say this, I have to stress, do not go to the extreme. I love food. Food is seriously a great joy in life, from the amazing tastes out there to the way it brings people together. So when I talk about shifting your diet, I in no way am telling you to deprive yourself. Food is meant to be enjoyed.

But you can try to eat smarter and know your body a bit more when it comes to what you're craving. It's okay to give into those cravings now and then, just be careful about going into a binge.

Sweets/Fruity (ex. Starburst, sour patch kids, fruit roll ups):This one feels like kinda a no-brainer: Fruit is awesome. It really is. I love sour/tart so for me snacking on fresh raspberries, strawberries, even lemon wedges is awesome. I have a bizarre love for fruit roll ups, which frankly aren't that terrible for you but they do have a lot of sugar. However a lot of them are flavored with pear juice and I've found those little fruit cups (in fruit juice, avoid syrup if you can) frankly do the trick.

Sweets/Baked Goods (ex. Cupcakes, cookies):
Baked goods are my Kryptonite in more ways than one. For one thing, I love the smell of a good cupcake and frosted cookies are almost impossible to say no to--so I end up eating way more than I intend to. For another, I'm also gluten intolerant so this craving comes with some serious intestinal stabbity downsides. However I have found that baked sweet potatoes with just a tiny bit of butter (substitute for me), satisfies that craving fantastically. Some people will even add a little brown sugar for some extra sweetness.  Just make sure you keep the skins on--that's where a lot of the good stuff is. 
Salty Goodness (ex Potato chips, french fries):
I've found lightly salted air-popped popcorn (sans the butter of course) actually helps this out a lot. I have a hard time having something like chips in the house because, especially when sitting down for a movie, I will end up eating the whole bag without realizing it. Eep. Pretzels are also a better alternative and still give you that great crunch.

Snacks that I've found I enjoy:

  • Rice cakes and applesauce: Yep, it sounds really weird but bear with me. You take a lightly salted rice cake (Believe their about 35 calories) and spread a layer of applesauce (no sugar added, preferably "organic", no preservatives etc) and just nom away. The carby crunch of the rice cakes and the smooth applesauce has weirdly replaced my cookie cravings. You can also dip the cakes into a small bowl of applesauce or spread some good no sugar added peanut butter on the top instead of applesauce. (Side note, the apple cinnamon rice cakes, are only 50 cal and are delicious on their own.)
  • Fresh Snap Peas: My mother is jumping for joy somewhere. I used to hate peas when I was growing up, but there's something about a crisp fresh pod that is really fun to munch on during your favorite show. 
  • Grapes: They're mostly water but they've got a great tart (or sweet, depending if you have green or red grapes) kick that you can fill up on rather than something that is going to make you feel overly stuffed after consuming.
  • Dried Apricots: These are high in potassium (which, along with protein are awesome for helping ease muscle soreness) and make a great candy-esque snack.
  • Raw, Unsalted Almonds: Because seriously, we don't get enough protein during the day.

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