Ah, the daily struggle. You have loads to do today. Deadlines are pending. The last thing on your mind is planning out a whole day of healthy eating, so you just go for your usual not-so-healthy crisps, chocolate, biscuits or snack bar. Before you know it, its 2 weeks until your pending ‘summer body’ is due to make an appearance, and you’ve made no progress. The classic question pops into your head: ‘Maybe next year?’ Well. I am here to tell you, that with that mindset, next year will be exactly the same.
It turns out that whether it’s with work or social lives, we are always busy. There will never be a ‘right time’ to start making diet changes. We have to make time to change our habits long term in order to actually make a difference. Eating healthily seems daunting if it’s unfamiliar to you. What is healthy? With all the different fad foods (shoutout avocados and coconut oil) and thousands of different opinions these days, it can be really difficult to navigate healthy eating. So I’ve put together some great snack ideas and go-to rules for healthy eating.
Let’s start with some rules to live by:
Plan, plan, plan!
I always have a snack in my bag. Whether it’s a piece of fruit or a protein bar. This means that if I suddenly get hungry when I’m out and about, impulsive me won’t pop into pret and buy a gluten-free brownie, I’ll just get my snack out of my bag before considering all the possibilities of other things I could eat.
Don’t buy unhealthy snacks.
This sounds so simple. But if you do not have a jar of biscuits in your house, you are a whole lot less likely to accidentally eat 4 whilst working on your laptop.
Go on a food shop for the week, and fill your basket with fruit, vegetables and healthy snacks that you enjoy. If you buy these foods, then it’s a massive waste not to eat them, so by having them in your kitchen, you’re more likely to grab a banana than go out to the shop to get a bag of crisps. If your kitchen is stocked with healthy snacks then you’ll naturally veer more towards these.
Prep your meals.
Make your lunch for the next day before you go to bed. Not only will you probably end up saving money, but you will also take the possibility of choosing an unhealthy lunch out of the equation, because smart you from yesterday night already prepared your lovely healthy nutritious lunch for you. (To save some time, just make another portion of whatever you’re having for dinner)
Watch out for drinks.
Alcoholic or otherwise, drinks are sneaky little culprits when it comes to sugar and calories. A Frappuccino at Starbucks or a couple of drinks after work could be what’s setting you back without you even realising! I’m not saying don’t enjoy yourself, but be smart and aware of what you’re putting into your body.
A lot of the time we think we are hungry when really, we just haven’t had enough water. I always carry my water bottle around with me and sip on it throughout the day. If you can’t figure out if that hole in your stomach is hunger or thirst, drink some water, wait 10 minutes and see how you feel.
9 out of 10 times, granola bars, breakfast biscuits and anything of that sort is loaded with sugar and often is just the same as eating a chocolate bar. Also, just because it says ‘high protein’ or ‘gluten free’ on it, does not mean it’s healthy!
Find healthy snacks that you enjoy. If you (like me) have a massive sweet tooth, fruit is your friend. Also, a square of dark chocolate is so rich it can completely swerve your cravings.
Stop looking at healthy eating as a punishment.
You are nourishing your body and doing yourself a favour. Look at it in a positive way and you’ll start to reap the benefits of looking and feeling great. Healthy eating is not all about losing weight.
Take it one day at a time.
Don’t punish yourself for having a bad day. Once you get into the habit of roughly planning what you’re going to eat for the day, it becomes second nature. Start by making small changes and work your way up.
And now, for some healthy snack ideas. Here are some of my favourites:
Banana and Peanut Butter Rice Cakes.
My ultimate favourite combo. It’s literally that easy. Put peanut butter and banana on a rice cake. It’s delicious and tastes like dessert. Apples and peanut butter are also a great snack.
If you’re someone who just likes the action of putting food in your mouth (like M&Ms or crisps), grapes are a great alternative. Kind of like how smokers use vapes as a way to stop smoking. The grape is your vape.
Another great one to subconsciously snack on! Just make sure the sugar/salt content isn’t high.
Instead of a classic Frappuccino, switch to an almond milk frap with 1 pump of whichever syrup you usually have. It’s a much healthier alternative with fewer calories if you just can’t resist!
They satisfy your hunger, are a great source of protein and are so easy to carry around on the go.
Carrots and Hummus.
Rice cakes and hummus. Cucumbers and hummus. Really, just hummus with anything is great.
Chickpea puffs are great! Again, this is a healthier alternative. Baked crips, Sunbites, there are so many on the market now.
Greek Yoghurt and Mixed Berries.
A great way to have ‘dessert’ without all the sugar/high calories.
Banana Ice Cream.
This is the most simple yet effective way to satisfy an ice cream craving – blend banana (add whatever you want in there from protein powder to cacao nibs) and freeze it.
In conclusion, I would just say this: Find healthy foods that you enjoy. Keep it simple. Keep it natural.