I've been pretty busy lately, and so I haven't been able to prepare food as well as I usually do. We all know that eating healthier is mostly about the preparation! If you haven't gone shopping for healthy foods, and/or don't have time to cook at home, you will be more likely to fall into bad habits. Here is a list of some "anytime" foods that are just good to have around the house for snacks or as part of meals. If you are at the store and don't have a list, don't go for the chips, crackers, cookies, and soda - go for these items!
1) Non-fat, Plain Greek Yogurt (example: Chobani brand)
Almost double the protein of regular yogurt, no added sugar (just sugar from skim milk) or artificial sweeteners, plus that great creamy texture! Plain Yogurt is a little bitter by itself, so add fresh fruit, granola, or Go Lean cereal to add a little sweetness!
2) Ground Flaxseed
The more and more people learn about flaxseed, the more and more reasons there are to sprinkle it on everything! (well not literally, but pretty much :) ). Full of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber, it's truly a super food!
3) Natural Peanut Butter (example: Teddie brand)
Yes, it's a little annoying to stir it up every time you serve it, but if you want to avoid hydrogenated oils in your peanut butter, go natural! Look at the label: if it says "peanuts, salt" you are good to go. Teddie makes a variety WITH flaxseed, and also if you want to be really good there is an unsalted version! Spread it on a banana or a celery stalk for a great snack.
4) Fresh Fruit
Seriously - be simple. I am an apple and pear guy (not in body shape anymore fortunately!) - they are both low glycemic fruits and easy to eat. Don't you love pears? You buy them and they take a while to get soft, but when they are ready they are so worth it! Bananas have less fiber than some fruits, but they contain high amounts of Resistant Starch, which like fiber can keep you full. Grapefruit is one of the lowest glycemic fruits, great for breakfast!
5) Spinach and/or Arugula, lemon juice, cracked pepper
The simplest salad - but SO delicious. If you are hungry mid-afternoon, whip up this salad in 1 minute. Spinach is so full of vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients that some nutritionists suggest it can help improve eyesight, brain function, improve cardiovascular health, and even help prevent cancer. Squeeze half a lemon and throw some freshly ground pepper on it and it's a tangy salad with no oil, but lots of flavor! A little parmesan cheese sprinkled on top doesn't hurt either.
6) Raw Almonds
Raw, unsalted nuts like almonds basically aren't given a glycemic index because it's so low. However don't be fooled, don't grab more than a handful or so at a time because they are high calorie, albeit mostly from healthy fats and protein which will keep you full.
7) Green Tea
Hey, I know that's cheating, this is a drink. But if you are craving coffee at 2:30 in the afternoon, make a cup of green tea instead. Usually no, or little caffeine, and full of antioxidants. Sometimes a warm drink is enough to curb coffee cravings.
Oats are a staple of my breakfast almost every day. Get either Steel Cut oats, or "Old-fasioned Oats." The more instant you get, the more pre-cooked the oats are and the faster they will digest. Oatmeal is better than cold cereals because there are no additives, it is always 100% whole grain, and it is high in fiber so they digest slowly and keep you full a long time. Avoid instant oats which have added sugar. I just throw some ground cinnamon on my oats and am fine, but it's ok to put in a touch of honey or brown sugar to make it a little sweeter.
Just imagine, if you had these 8 items in your house every week and got rid of the Fig Newtons, Goldfish, and Doritos - wouldn't you be a happier person? Would you feel like you were missing out, or do you think snacking on any or all of these items would keep your taste buds happy and keep your stomach full?