Tag Archives: snacks

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Ever wonder why it’s so easy to pack on the pounds in the wintertime?

There are actually a few good reasons. First, the cold weather makes warm, hearty comfort foods so appealing. There’s no way you could even think about eating that much mac ‘n’ cheese in the middle of a hot July day.

Second, we naturally get less exercise as the days run shorter, the weather can get colder and it becomes less inviting for walks or jogs around the neighborhood.

Another biggie? Seasonal eating takes a nosedive in the wintertime, since fresh fruits and veggies are scarce. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a warm climate, there are probably fewer (or no) farmer’s markets open until the spring, making it hard to eat fresh, local produce.

While it’s pretty tempting to dig into your favorite carb-laden food this time of year, it’s important to avoid foods that spike your blood sugar. You might love that productive hour as a burst of energy kicks in, but it’s not worth the inevitable afternoon slump that will leave you feeling even more sluggish and sleepy than before.

 

The 8 Snacks You Might Think are Healthy (But Aren’t!)

You probably know that the Snickers bar calling your name from the vending machine is a bad idea, but there are plenty of other snacks that you might have been tricked into believing were healthy. Try to avoid these sneaky – and in many cases non-Paleo – snacks that can spike insulin and pack more sugar than you’d expect:

  • Whole wheat bagel. Yes, whole wheat bagels have more fiber and protein than a normal bagel, but even putting aside the fact that bread is not Paleo, the carb count in a whole wheat bagel is still high. If you’re eating a regular-sized (not mini) bagel, chances are you’re eating more carbs than a donut. All those carbs turn into glucose in your body and will make your blood sugar levels spike. Bagels are right near the top of the glycemic index.
  • Avocado toast. The avocado is all good here. The toast, not so much. Even if the toasted bread is whole wheat, just like the bagel above, chances are that there are just as many carbs and calories. Plus, when you order this at a restaurant, chances are there’s a lot more butter or oil than you would have used at home. Try smearing avocado on a slice of sweet potato instead.
  • Flavored yogurt. All dairy-based yogurt is a no-go on the Paleo Diet. But vanilla or fruity yogurt is even worse. Some brands even contain more sugar than ice cream. If you’re going to have yogurt, stick with the low-sugar brands made from nuts or coconut instead of milk.
  • Cereal. Of course, our Paleo ancestors did not consume any processed grains. While you might be tempted to snack on them because of their convenience, most cereals, even those targeted at kids, are filled with sugar. The ‘healthy’ whole grain options are still a low-nutrient density grain-based food and just as problematic. Take a look at the label on Multigrain Cheerios. You’ll find a whole lot of corn and sugar in here. It’s best to completely avoid all cereals.
  • Store-bought energy bars. Making a batch of your own energy snacks is one thing, but the kind you find in the middle of the grocery store are filled with preservatives, not to mention the added doses of unnecessary sugar.
  • Trail mix. While a handful of nuts makes for a great snack, the dried fruit in most trail mixes sends it into unhealthy territory. Yes, even raisins and dried figs are higher in sugar (and calories) than you’d expect. Pack up a mix of nuts and fresh berries for your hike instead.
  • Bananas. The occasional banana is okay, especially if you’re a runner and need your strength right now. But as an everyday snack, it might not be the best choice. That’s because bananas are one of the sugariest fruits that exist. In fact, the humble banana is about 25 percent sugar. You’re better off with low-carb options like berries.
  • Fruit smoothies. Depending on what’s in it, the fruit smoothie can be quite the sugar bomb. Consider that many smoothies already have a banana and flavored yogurt mixed in, and you’ll find yourself drinking down more calories than you’d expect. Try adding a tablespoon of healthy nut butter, chia seeds, vegetables such as spinach and/or other natural protein add-ins to your smoothie instead of a banana to keep it on the healthier side.

 

Healthy Winter Snacks (That You’ll Actually Look Forward to Noshing on)

You don’t have to give your winter snacking lifestyle a full makeover—just a few simple swaps will do the trick for keeping your health goals in check.

Easy Winter Snacks You Can Prep the Night Before

Got a few spare minutes in the evening? Make these snacks for your commute, your hike, or whatever you have planned for the next day:

  • Hard-boiled eggs. It’s always a great idea to fill up on protein, which will keep you feeling full longer than carbs. The humble hard-boiled egg has only one gram of carbs each, but they are packed with nutrients. Hard boil a dozen at a time to keep on hand in the fridge, and turn them into avocado-filled deviled eggs if you’re feeling fancy.
  • Almond butter on celery. Remember ants on a log? Well, take out the sugary raisin “ants”, swap peanut butter for almond butter, and you’ve got a crunchy, creamy, satisfying snack that will literally take you 30 seconds to make. Just be careful of the almond butters packed with sugar. Some stores let you grind your own.
  • Homemade salt-free nut mix. There’s really no reason to buy trail mix when you can just shake up your own homemade blend of your favorite nuts. Skip the dried fruit (or add just a few craisins if you must). Feeling adventurous? Try this seaweed trail mix made with wakame, walnuts, and spices.
  • Veggie smoothie. It doesn’t sound as appetizing as a fruit smoothie but trust me — it can be! Start with this kale cucumber smoothie filled with hearty veggies like yellow bell peppers and celery, then sweetened with a green apple, ginger, and cilantro. It’s like a tasty salad in a glass.
  • Homemade dips. It’s not hard to whip up a healthy dip to accompany a sad baggie of raw veggies, like carrots. Mash up a creamy veggie-laden guacamole with red bell peppers or tomatoes, or if you have a blender, try your hand at a bean-free Paleo hummus by using raw soaked cashews instead of chickpeas.

Zero Prep Necessary

No time for prepping your healthy winter snacks? Just grab these items on your next grocery run so you aren’t tempted to dig into those office bagels.

  • Fresh berries (Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are all great choices.)
  • Grapefruit (let’s face it, you’re never going too wrong grabbing fresh seasonal fruit)
  • Plain coconut yogurt (You can even add your own berries on top.)
  • Can of tuna or sardines
  • Low-sodium beef jerky (Even better: get turkey jerky.)

I know it’s hard to stay healthy in the wintertime, and that birthday cake in the break room might be calling your name extra loud this time of year. Just stay armed with your favorite satiating, protein-filled healthy winter snacks, and you’ll find that staying on track becomes second nature.

 

 

Apple and a Donut

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There is a natural energy cycle to a normal working day. Everyone has a morning routine that ends when they get to work. Then they pick up speed into late morning and by lunchtime, they are ready to recharge on some hopefully tasty food before finishing a few projects. But by mid-afternoon, everyone starts to feel a little tired. Their eyes droop and it gets harder to focus. In order to continue working efficiently, most people reach for a coffee, that candy bar in their desk, or head for the vending machine for a packaged pick-me-up.

But as you probably know from experience, some snacks are more effective at perking you up than others. The problem is that most people get their afternoon pick-me-up from the vending machine or an indulgent stash of desk snacks. Let’s dive into the three most tempting but least helpful snacks in the vending machine that will leave you tired all afternoon. More importantly, let’s talk about how to choose more energizing Paleo alternatives that are equally satisfying and will energize you for your day.

1) Snack Cakes

Snack cakes are by far the most tempting item in the vending machine. They look like a great option for people who are hungry again after lunch. Snack cakes seem like more food per package than other options and the sugar provides a temporary energy (and motivational) kick on a hard day. However, that energy doesn’t stick with you for long.

Alternative: Instead of refined sugary carbs, sate your sweet tooth and get that energy boost the Paleo natural way with energy balls, usually made of blended nuts, shaved coconut, raw cocoa powder, and fresh fruit. These will satisfy your sweet craving while actually filling you with energizing proteins that will help you make it to closing time.

 

2) Potato Chips

For many of us, feeling sluggish is easily answered with the taste of salt. Potato chips are a common afternoon solution when it’s hard to focus because salt granules on your tongue can effectively perk up your brain. However, chips are made of refined, pressed, and oil-fried starch and just like the snack cakes, the energy provided is only temporary. Worse, potatoes are very high on the glycemic index and have the same effect as consuming straight sugar with all the usual implications.

Alternative: If you crave a savory snack, there are tons of great Paleo alternatives. Try a small handful of salt-free mixed nuts instead.

 

3) Candy Bars

The candy bar is one of the least healthy vending machine options for your 2pm pick-me-up. But boy is it satisfying. Candy bars often have several tempting elements from the caffeine-laced chocolate to the protein-rich nuts inside. But a candy bar is also packed with unnecessary calories in sugar and fat. Not to mention the predictable sugar crash an hour later.

Don’t set yourself up for negative consequences by grabbing a candy bar from the vending machine or keeping a stash in your desk. You’ll only find yourself hungry and tired no matter how satisfying the chocolate was at first.

Alternative: A candy bar craving often signifies a need for calories and nutrient variety. Especially if you crave nuts in your chocolate. Instead of heading to the vending machine, try packing yourself a healthy trail mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and dark chocolate. That will definitely hit the spot without the diet-guilt of munching on a candy bar full of empty calories. It’s not perfectly Paleo, but a far better alternative to candy bars.

Many professionals make the wrong choice when looking for snacks that will keep them energized and efficient at work. And the vending machine options aren’t doing them any favors. If you want your team to face the usual afternoon drowsiness head-on, consider providing healthy snacks that are long-term sources of energy like nuts, some trail mixes, and of course fresh fruit and vegetables.

 

Pre-packed Airport SnackOur traveling ancestors had it easy. Sure, they had to hunt and gather all day long to get enough calories. But they also didn’t have to grapple with the TSA or find natural meal options in the modern airport skymall every time they went to visit relatives either.  Staying Paleo when traveling by air is one of the most challenging aspects of the Paleo lifestyle.

Airports are full of unhealthy meal options ranging from fast food and donuts to salads laden with cheese and dairy-based dressings. Even the mixed nuts are suspect, as they are usually coated in dried syrup and sugar. Fortunately, you’re used to packing your own Paleo-compliant snacks for work and know how to forage in a more complex environment than your ancestors ever imagined.

Today, we’re here to share a few smart packing, snacking, and foraging tips for hunter-gatherers in flight.

TSA-Approved Pointers

Getting through the TSA with a special pack of diet-adherent foods can be challenging. Unless you know the tricks:

  • Freezable Lunch Bag – The TSA will toss any ice-pack unless it is frozen solid, but a bag lined with ice-pack-medium is allowable. Freeze one of these special lunch bags overnight and pack in your carry-on for a TSA-approved way to keep your meats cold during your flight and airport adventures.
  • Travel-Sized Liquid Containers – You can actually bring your own dressings, dips, and nut-butters as long as they’re in travel-sized 3.4oz containers and packed in a clear quart-sized baggie according to the 311 TSA rule. Everyone else is packing travel shampoos, but you’re packing paleo-guac, pesto, and almond butter.
  • Permissible Flatware – The safest choice for TSA-approved flatware is to grab a handful of picnic-packs. The kind with the napkin and salt-pepper packets. The TSA can get picky about individual knives (yes, even plastic ones that are “too sharp) but picnic packs almost always get through.
  • Produce Precautions – If you’re crossing state or national borders, you might have to finish all your fresh produce before getting off the plane. Just a word of warning.

Packing Paleo In-Flight Snacks

There are tons of guides for Paleo snacks in flight, but most of them are not strict-Paleo. These guides tend to include store-bought packaged snacks that are mostly-Paleo but may include things like bacon and preservatives that are not strictly adherent to the Paleo philosophy. However, the following snacks are both TSA and strict-Paleo approved

  • Hard-Boiled Eggs – Peel before packing
  • Canned Meat – Pop-tops only
  • Fresh Fruit Whole or Cut – Great thing to keep an eye open for
  • Nut-Butter Cups – Travel-sized cups
  • Pre-Tossed Salads &  Dressings – Try your dressing in a travel-sized squeezable shampoo bottle
  • Chopped Veggie Sticks & Dip – Keep dip in a travel-sized bottle
  • Whole Packed Paleo Meals – Yes, you can pack a Tupperware of an entire Paleo meal as long as it’s not mostly liquid/cream/gel
  • Hot Soup Dried Mixes – Get hot water for tea/coffee from a stewardess to turn Paleo soup-mixes into hot soup

Foraging for Paleo Foods in the Skymall

Finally, you may need to find foods in the skymall that can go on the plane or be quickly scarfed when you’re really hungry and didn’t have time to pack. Or when you’re on your way back and couldn’t prep-Paleo in the hotel. Here’s how to hunt-and-gather your way through a skymall:

  • Find a Salad Bar to Forage – If you can find a restaurant with a salad bar, this is the best way to be 100% certain you’re eating only what you intend to eat by building your own plate. These restaurants often also have options to buy grilled chicken, steak, or shrimp for your meat portions.
  • Tossed Salads with Label-Printed Ingredients – Airports usually sell boxes of tossed salad with cups of dressing on the side. Don’t trust your eyes, but do trust the label. If you can read that the ingredients don’t include cheese (or the cheese/bacon/candied nuts are in separate packages), it’s Paleo safe. Ask for vinegar dressing.
  • Pieces and Patties of Grilled Chicken – If you’re really desperate for protein and don’t want to blow your travel budget on a skymall steak house, you can usually find a place that serves pieces or patties of grilled chicken. Most fast food places have a grilled chicken sandwich you can take the bun off of in a pinch.
  • Whole Fresh Fruit – Snack stops and breakfast places in the skymall often have a few pieces of fresh whole fruit.

 

Traveling Paleo is not always easy, but your lineage has been hunting, gathering, and foraging for thousands of years. With these techniques and your own natural know-how, you can make it through even the most harrowing layover-ridden airplane journey while still keeping to strict-Paleo protocols. For more Paleo lifestyle tips and helpful recipes, contact us today!

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