Staying fit is about much more than signing up for a class at the gym, completing a 30-day squat challenge or making it to the leader board in your Fitbit group. Believe it or not, it’s even about more than successfully completing your first unassisted pull-up or 20 burpees with good form. Staying fit is about resisting the urge to pull into Krispy Creme just because the “Hot Now” sign is on. It’s about not getting a big gulp soda since you were already outside pumping gas. It’s about not getting a second slice of cake just because someone said it is made from scratch. Staying fit is about the choices we make after we leave the gym and are no longer under the watchful eye of our personal trainer or accountability partners. Although I sometimes fall short, I have developed many strategies to help me along the way.
Here are 5 Ways to choose healthy snacks
- Keep them visible – I keep a clear bowl of fruit sitting on my kitchen counter. Having the fruit visible serves as a reminder when I am feeling hungry that I have something handy to eat. It also serves as a reminder for when fruit is getting low. I am more apt to grab an apple before looking into to the pantry. Inside my pantry, I keep healthy snacks sitting on shelves that are eye-level. This keeps me from having to spend too much time in the pantry with a wandering eye for something to snack on. *One of my favorite snacks is a sliced apple with peanut butter.
- Limited junk buying – I don’t believe in deprivation. I think it is unrealistic to say I’m never buying junk food again. Therefore, when shopping, I allow myself to get one or two small snacks that are not the healthiest, but I know my family will enjoy them. If I buy a bag of chips, I look for those that have reduced sodium or a smaller box of cookies and not the jumbo box. When enjoying these snacks we set parameters. I read the labels and eat less than the serving size per container. I also tend to place these items on very low or high shelves.
- Keep them with you – I don’t leave home without at least one or two snacks in tow. Fruit is always a staple for me. I love cuties and tangelos. Not only are they so sweet and tangy, but the are small enough to fit just about anywhere. I often keep one or two in my gym bag because they replenish energy after a hard workout. They are also the perfect snack size and I can buy them by the bag at just about any grocery store. If I am out longer than planned or happened to run out of snacks, don’t fear, I just head into just about any convenient store and buy an individual snack pack of Planters trail mix. If you look around and skip the endless candy aisles and look all the way toward the end of the aisle or at the very bottom of the shelf, sometimes you are able to find the somewhat healthy fare.
- Pick lighter fare appetizers – When dining at restaurants quickly find the lighter fare items or appetizers on the menu which are usually highlighted to show lower calories. Also, consider asking for a side salad instead of traditional side offerings. Most restaurants carry them even if they are not listed on the menu.
- Look for new snack ideas – Stay on the lookout when browsing magazines or looking online. Snack ideas are often posted in magazines that you may already find yourself perusing while at a hair salon, traveling or at the doctor’s office. There are many great snack ideas listed about how to make a batch of homemade granola bars which could last for a few days.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle does require work, but the results are worth all the times you said no to the second slice of pie. It’s even worth all the pep talks you give yourself before entering the grocery store and even the strength it took to look the waiter in the eye and muster up a “no” when asked, “Are you ready for dessert?” Remember, this is a lifestyle change, not a diet, so there is room for creativity and healthy living. Happy snacking!