Before we get to dinner, I want to talk about snacks. I love snacks. I am a grazer. Even if I eat a huge meal, I am hungry again in two hours. So it is best for me to eat smaller meals, and get by between meals with healthy snacks.
Morning snack ideas:
Idea #1: Apple with peanut butter and pretzels
Idea #2: Tortilla with cheese and turkey
Idea #3: Ham with cream cheese and dill pickle
Idea #4: Grapes and cheddar
Idea #5: Hard boiled egg
Idea #6: Tuna with pretzels
Idea #7: Avocado toast
I have dairy for breakfast, so I try to avoid it for snacks, too. But
if your breakfast doesn't include dairy, then plain greek yogurt with
fruit and nuts (which is my breakfast) would be a great morning snack.
I try to avoid sweets (even fruit) and carbs after 2 or 3 pm. Your body just doesn't have time to metabolize them before it starts to slow down before bedtime. I had a girlfriend who didn't change her diet at all, except for to stop eating sugar and carbs after 2 pm. She lost 15 pounds!
Afternoon snacks ideas:
Idea #1: Carrots and hummus
Idea #2: Celery and peanut butter (great if you are craving sweets)
Idea #3: Veggies with guacamole/salsa
Idea #4: Cherry tomatoes with feta or mozzarella
Idea #5: Kale chips (these are easy to make at home, and a great chip sub)
If you are DYING for something sweet, go with fruit. Do NOT grab a candy bar or soda. NO. BACK AWAY. Berries are good.
We are looking at all food groups. Here are good and bad options:
Good fruit options: fresh fruit or frozen fruit. Check the ingredients
to make sure the only thing listed is fruit. If you are concerned
about cost, find out what produce is in season and those will usually be
less expensive than out of season produce.
Bad fruit options: canned fruit of any kind, juice, jelly/jam, dried
fruit (including raisins), candied fruit, fruit snacks, smoothies.
Good veggie options: fresh veggies! The possibilities are endless!
Spinach, zucchini, cucumber, squash, mushrooms, celery, carrots,
tomatoes, avocado, etc. You could make an amazing frittata with tons of
veggies. And frozen veggies, but just like the fruit, check the
ingredients list. This should not include any sauces, butter, or
Avocado (actually a fruit?)
Sweet Potato/Yam (although there is a difference)
Bad veggie options: white potatoes, corn.
Good carb options: corn tortillas, half a slice of whole wheat or
seeded bread, pretzels. You are looking for things that
are as natural as possible, which is difficult to find in carbs. That
is why I like to stay away from them.
Bad carb options: white bread, cereal, cream of wheat, donuts, muffins, oatmeal.
Good protein options: eggs, ham (not deli meat), chicken, salmon,
quinoa, seeds, beans, natural peanut butter or almond butter.
Bad protein options: candied nuts, bacon (I know, boo), sausage.
Good dairy options: plain cottage cheese, sliced cheese (cheddar,
provolone, etc.), eggs, sour cream, cream cheese, butter. I consume
full fat products, not low fat or non fat. But this is a very small
portion of my meal. One serving or less.
Bad dairy options: ice cream, American cheese, any flavored yogurt,
including flavored greek yogurt. These ALL have unnecessary sugar
added, or fake sugar. I don't care what the packaging says. This
includes "vanilla" yogurt. You need plain. PLAIN. Add your own fresh
or frozen fruit for flavor. Then you are in control of what is in your
Good dip options: Hummus, salsa, guacamole, bean dip, yogurt dip, mustard, soy sauce, aioli, sriracha, tzatziki. Ideally, making these yourself so that you can control the ingredients is the best route. If you (understandably) can't do this, then make certain you look at the labels. We want low carb, low sugar, low sodium.
Bad dip options: Ketchup, BBQ sauce, tartar sauce, ranch dressing, horseradish, any dessert dip.
I hope these tips help keep your tummy full with healthy food in between meals!