Meal and Snack Ideas!
In this month’s article we’re going to cover some simple, easy meal and snack ideas to help you achieve inner body balance and outer body beauty. Although I love to cook a fancy meal for my family or guests at times, if you’re like me, you probably don’t have a lot of time to spend shopping, planning, and preparing meals. So in this article we’ll focus on meal and snack ideas that you can easily make part of your everyday routine.
Eating OutDepending on how many meals you eat away from home each week, this category can be a really important one to tackle! But if you eat even one meal a week away from home, it can easily sabotage your weight loss plans if the meal is too rich or extravagant.But don’t worry—this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself when you eat out!
Just follow these simple guidelines/suggestions:
- The salad bar is a great place to look for a healthy meal away from home. Load on the fresh veggies—not only are vegetables slimming, they add a variety of taste and are loaded with health benefits. Olives contain antioxidants and good fats that won’t make you fat. Feta cheese and shredded mozzarella (in moderation) add lots of flavor and just a moderate amount of fat. Nuts and seeds at the salad bar are probably roasted in hydrogenated fats, so you may want to skip those (or take a moment to ask). Avoid oily and creamy salad dressings, which will definitely put on weight and also aren’t very healthy. Try splashing some balsamic vinegar on your salad, or a light vinaigrette.
- Soup has been found to help reduce overall calorie consumption—probably because it’s so nourishing and filling. Look for vegetarian soups; cheese or milk in your soup is fine.
- Sandwiches can be tasty, healthy, and slimming if you know how to order. For example, many restaurants now offer wholegrain breads, which you can top with cheese, veggies, and your favorite condiments. Even regular white bread is fine on occasion. But it’s best to skip the chips!
- If you have a yen for pizza, have a big tossed salad with a light dressing first. The salad will refresh your taste buds and help satisfy your appetite. Choose a pizza without the oily crust. Remember to pile on the veggies—they add the flavor and nutrients that help fill you up without making you fat!
- Don’t forget to skip the diet soda. Researchers have found that artificial sweeteners actually cause you to consume more calories by the end of the day. The best choice is water, either plain or with a splash of lemon or fruit juice. Sparkling water with a little fruit juice makes a refreshing natural soda.
- The best dessert is fresh fruit. If you want something a little more decadent, try some frozen yogurt. However, other than fresh fruit, it’s best to get out of the habit of always finishing a meal with something sweet. I often read articles that say “anything is fine on a diet in moderation,” but many desserts are so loaded in calories (and the kind of calories that really make you gain weight) that it’s just not realistic to eat them on any kind of regular basis and expect to lose weight! If giving up sweets seems like an insurmountable task, just remember that what tastes so good right now will taste too sweet and too rich after a month or two of balanced, healthy eating. Oftentimes you may desire sweets when really you’re just hungry—try satisfying your appetite with fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt or some other healthy snack.
Snacking can be either a great habit that can help you lose weight, or it can really sabotage your weight loss goals. It all depends on how you approach it! Here are some specific suggestions:
- Low-fat yogurt has both the protein and the carbohydrates that help stave off a snack attack. It also tastes delicious. Researchers have found that eating three servings of low-fat dairy can help you to lose weight (and fat).
- Whole wheat crackers or toast can be accompanied by a little avocado, nut butter, fruit, or yogurt. You may want to become acquainted with your local health food store in order to try some new brands of wholesome wholegrain crackers and breads.
- Fresh fruit, of course!
- Low-fat cottage cheese is a satisfying snack, especially with some fresh fruit, crackers, or toast.
- A small handful of dry-roasted nuts provides heart-healthy fats and, ironically, is a very good choice for weight loss. Although nuts are high in fat, research has found that a diet that includes a small serving of nuts each day is associated with a lower body weight.
- Sometimes even a little fruit juice diluted in water will be enough to hold you over to the next meal.
- Freshly prepared juices and smoothies are loaded with nutrition and taste and will really invigorate your desire to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle.Check out Wai Lana’s Favorite Juices for mouthwatering suggestions.
- Now comes the obvious: avoid hydrogenated fats, excess sweeteners, etc! Work with Mother Nature by eating wholesome natural foods to achieve the body balance and beauty you’re looking for.
All of the suggestions in the “Eating Out” section can also apply to making meals at home. Remember, the most important place to start in making your meals balanced and healthy is with your shopping. You’re going to prepare what you have in the house, so making wise shopping choices is the easiest way to eliminate the bad stuff! Think of the five S’s: stir-fries, salads, soups, smoothies, and sandwiches. These are all very easy to prepare and are naturally full of slimming ingredients! Ultimately, your meal choices are unlimited once you get a handle on using wholesome, nourishing ingredients.