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Snack time

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Trail mix: A satisfying and easy snack.

Trail mix: A satisfying and easy snack. by Sarah Henning

In the month of January, I’ve discussed several of the finer points of cleaning up your eating in the new year: shopping and dining strategies, the freezer as your friend and letting yourself eat chocolate.

Now, it’s snack time.

Acknowledging that, yes, chances are you’ll eat between meals goes a long way in the world of eat healthy strategy.

Because here’s the thing: When making healthy changes, a lot of us don’t plan on snacking. I’ve had many a moment over the years where I pack my lunch for work and don’t bring anything else because if I bring it I know I’ll eat it. And I figured that if I didn’t bring a morning snack and an afternoon snack, I would save myself the calories and cost associated with both.

The gaping hole in this logic: If you don’t bring something to snack on and you get hungry — and you know you will — you’re left with few choices:

  1. You could rush home to get the snack you didn’t bring, but chances are you won’t have time.
  2. You could just sit there with a hole in your stomach waiting until it’s a socially acceptable time to devour your lunch (Come on, 11 o’clock!).
  3. Cop for something decidedly unhealthy in the work vending machine/snack trough/nearest coffee shop.

We all know which answer is most likely to happen during a busy work day and it’s not good if you’re trying to make wholesale changes.

Thus, it’s a good idea to just go ahead and assume you’re going to need snacks to go right along with your newly healthy lunch and dinner. If you don’t eat it, fine. If you do: Don’t beat yourself up about it. You were hungry. You needed to eat. Eat.

My strategy for this during the workweek is simple: Fruit and nuts.

As I mentioned in my first “pep talk” post this month, I have a bowl on my desk that I fill up at the beginning of each workweek with fruit. Apples, tangerines, pears and bananas. Each piece has under 100 calories and is packed with fiber and various vitamins, which means one or two make a great snack.

For times when I need more than just a piece of fruit, I keep a mixture of raw almonds and walnuts in my desk drawer. Throw in a few chocolate chips and goji berries (or raisins), and you’ve got a homemade trail mix that’s both a great snack and a great little dessert.

Start there, and see if you can not only train yourself into accepting that you’re going to snack, but also teach yourself to do it in a healthy way.

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