Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Favorite Snacks

It's Day 21 of not eating sugar, and I have to say that I feel so great, both physically and mentally, having eliminated sugar from my diet.  It has been surprisingly easy to do.  My energy is high and consistent.  My digestive system is flowing more smoothly.  I seem to roll with the punches more easily, too, from an emotional standpoint.  It is truly amazing!  I will say that stevia has been my saving grace.  It's the only additive that I have used in my plain greek yogurt and plain kefir.  Because it is not sugar and it does not impact my blood sugar, I am okay with using it.  That's the only natural "sweetener" I will use though.  I even made it through a Fourth of July cookout eating just a hamburger in a whole wheat bun, salad, and fruit.  I avoided the baked beans, potato salad and dessert.  I thought it would be difficult to do, but it was actually pretty easy.

To still enjoy sweetness in my diet, however, I have been eating a lot of fruit, perfectly timed because summer offers so many delicious varieties - cherries, red grapes, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, nectarines, plums, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi fruit, and, of course, I always have apples, bananas, and oranges on hand.  In fact, just today I picked a huge bag of blueberries from our backyard and last week I picked raspberries growing right outside our house as well.  Fruit makes a great snack, but it is important to pair it with protein and/or a healthy fat so that the glycemic load is reduced.  Eating carbs is fine, but it is best to eat them with protein or healthy fat so your body is provided with more sustained energy, and it won't increase your blood sugar too much.  It also keeps you more full.  Here are some of my favorite snacks, all of which are under 200 calories:

If I want something SWEET:
Pineappple (1 cup fresh)
Whole natural, raw almonds (14)

If I want something CREAMY:
Plain Greek yogurt (1 cup)
Blueberries (1 cup)
Stevia packet (1/2)

If I want something CRUNCHY:
Air-popped plain popcorn (6 cups)
Olive-oil spritzer/spray (10 pumps)  (I use my own spritzer filled with EVOO)
Sea salt (pinch)

If I want something HEARTY:
Black cherries (14)
Cottage cheese (made with 2% milk)(small individual size)

If I want something CRISP:
Braeburn Apple (small)
Cheddar cheese (reduced-fat if possible)(1 slice)

If I want something COLD:
Frozen red grapes (1 cup) (so refreshing in the summer!  Just wash & freeze.)
Frozen peas (1/2 cup) (with no sauce - you can eat them right out of the bag)

Just thinking about all of these healthy, yummy snacks makes me hungry!