Monday, January 16, 2012

making a meal plan and healthy snack ideas

As I've written before, it's so important to get your eating on a routine.  Eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner is crucial to getting an eating routine and losing weight.  You have to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a few snacks if necessary.  It's important to somewhat have a meal plan set for everyday, especially if you're a working woman or even in school.  Whether you have to pack lunch, or pack snacks.  Maybe your school or job has a vending machine that you always end up giving into around 4 o'clock because your hungry and your blood sugar dropped.  If you have an apple, maybe some nuts, or a bag of carrots- you can avoid those slips in your diet-- then you can treat yourself and enjoy it more later.  I always suggest eating something you love for breakfast, if your in a rush one day-- grab a yogurt and an apple.  Grab anything you can to avoid yourself from starving at work int he morning (something healthy, not a Twinkie!)  Most people have to pack a lunch, if your not into packing a lunch but don't want to eat out, I can't stress how amazing the "cliff bar" is.  They are delicious, fast, and easy.  Dinner is the easier meal of the day (unless you have a family depending on you) You can take the time to cook a quick meal or even a nice, complex meal.  You could also have a lean cuisine or a protein shake.  Just don't forget to eat those meals... even if you have to force yourself, it's so important to keep your metabolism and blood sugar at a good rate, eating regularly helps this.  Once you have this routine for a while, it'll become habit and eating will be that much easier for you. Below are some snacks that i find myself eating when i need a boost of energy throughout the day.  Note: if ate a smoothie for breakfast, i wouldn't eat a banana or a cup of yogurt for a snack, you know?


measure 2 tbsp of peanut butter out and put it on a plate before you start munching to avoid binging on peanut butter.  Although peanut butter is excellent for you, it's important to value portion control.

HUMMUS PLATTER: I love the hummus made at food lion, it says ALL NATURAL.  I believe it's their brand... however, i'm not sure.  I really like it because it tastes like there's more beans then there is oil, which i like.  The flavor is fabulous and it's always only $1.99/ per tub.  I find that i like it so much more then the other common brands i see in stores... I dip everything from baby carrots, cucumbers, low fat deli slices, wheat/whole grain crackers.  Sometimes it's easy to overeat in this situation.  I always suggest putting some crackers, veggies, and portioned amount of hummus on a plate before starting the munching.  

YOGURT WITH PEANUTS: I love "yoplait light fat free yogurt."  I also like Activia light and Dannon's Light and Fit.  There's always nuts at my house, i suggest salted peanuts for this.  I just sprinkle a handful of nuts in the yogurt it's really good.

ANY FRUIT, ANY VEGETABLE.  You can pretty much eat fruit and vegetables unlimited.  The toppings do add up though!

GRANOLA BAR- i absolutely love granola bars.  it's important to pay attention to the nutrition label though. A lot of granola bars tend to be in high in calories and sugar, they're made for a meal replacement rather then a snack.  Eating 3 meals a day with snacks and a meal replacement bar could definitely cause weight gain rather then weight loss.-- If you're looking for a granola bar for a snack, aim for 200 calories or less, 8 calories or less, 20 g of sugar MAXIMUM, and aim for something containing 6 grams of protein at the absolute minimum, i'd really aim for 10 g.

NUTS- don't care what kind, as long as it's in portion control.  I usually grab a small handful, thats always a good estimate.


HALF SANDWICHES- i love, love, love half sandwiches for a quick snack.  A lot of times i take a slice of bread and put some mustard, lettuce and/or any veggies, sweet and sour salad peppers, and a few slices of deli meat. Fold it in half, munnnchh.

OATMEAL- I love the Quaker Weight Control kind, in all flavors (except the cream kind).

POPCORN- I love Orville's 100 calorie bags but I can also scarf down almost a whole "big" bag.  I get the Light butter or the 98% fat free kind. 

SLICED APPLES SPREAD WITH PEANUT BUTTER, OATS, CHOCOLATE CHIPS, AND NUTS, a lot of times i put the spread and toppings inbetween 2 apple slices like a sandwich.

ANTS ON A LOG- Celery with peanut butter and raisins on top.

MANGO FRUIT SMOOTHIE- Mangoes, Mango greek yogurt, and a splash of orange juice.

STRAWBERRIES DIPPED IN SEMI-SWEET MELTED CHOCOLATE  1 cup of strawberries and 1 tablespoon of melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.  DELICIOUS.... and you can even eat double that, or triple.  It's only 100 calories per serving.

If these snacks don't sound that great, it's okay because there are plenty of other healthy choices.  Also know that it's okay to enjoy your favorite "junk-like" snack foods in moderation, as long as you measure out the portions.  I love Cheetoh's and Sour Patch Kids... i indulge in them all the time.... but i lighten up the meals i eat during that day.  It's all about moderation when trying to lose weight. If you like eating hostess cakes for snacks, incorporate more salads and vegetables into your meals and reduce sugar and carbohydrates.

Although individually packaged items or more expensive, I like them because they demonstrate portion control.  If you're not good at measuring items out, then these are the way to go! I used to buy 100 calorie packs all the time to help.... Now, i can buy a huge bag of Doritos and read the back of the package and see that the portion is for 14 chips (just an example, not positive) I can count those out and put them in a bowl or ziploc bag if they're to-go.

More tips:
* Lately, when i've craved sweets, I try and eat sour candy such as sourpatch, skittles, starbursts, etc.  They're fat free.  Chocolate however has a lot of fat.  If I'm just really craving chocolate, i'll just let myself have it... but if i can, i substitute it with the fat free-sour-fruity choice!
* Chewing your food well is an important factor in satisfaction.
* Like I always say, knowledge is key.  The more you know about dieting, weight loss, and exercise-- the more successful you'll be.  The more you know, the more in tune you are with your emotions, feelings, and body signals... if you feel dizzy, someone that's naive may think they need caffeine or sugar... when really they should go for a choice such as a piece of fruit and/or a scoop of peanut butter (known for blood-stabilizing abilities).  Research the benefits in foods, learn about the different vitamins and how they affect you.  Learn about the different food groups also, the more you know about balancing carbs, vegetables, and protein sources... the more you'll know how to do it, the more successful you'll be. 
* working out, again, is so crucial to weight loss.  Not only does exercising help your physical appearance, it also helps you mentally and emotionally.  You release endorphins (a.k.a. runner's high) when you workout and reach a certain point of endurance, endorphins are basically like happy chemicals.  When your a happy person, your less-like to crave fattening and sweet foods that should be as limited as possible.  I feel like working out is underestimated.  Some people think just dieting alone is going to give them huge results, when really it will give results, but not near the amount as working out in addition does.
* Muscle tone is so important.  Although cardio burns a lot of calories in the activity it's own, toning and developing muscle tone is crucial for the "long-run" to some degree.  Every pound of muscle you have burns 14 calories/day at rest... before you even move or do anything to burn calories.  
* Eat your salad or vegetables before you start eating your protein and carb.  The vegetables (in my opinion--and many others) are the most important and healthy part of your meal.  Filling up on the healthiest part is imporant.. it'll leave less room for the "not-as-good-for-you" items in your meal.  Another example is, when i do indulge in a fast food combo, I eat the sandwich before the fries... Although a burger isn't the healthiest thing in the world (I don't get mayonnaise and cheese--which takes away all the bad calories and fat, leaving my hamburger not so bad for me after all).  I fill up on the sandwich so that I don't eat all the fries, which are the really unhealthy part of that meal.
* If you have to have dessert every night, don't freak out... Start out by making sure you stay in portion-control.  If you are in an ice-cream eating phase, that's okay, just start measuring out your amount to the measurement listed in the nutritional facts.  Once you get used to eating one serving, try to minimize by switching to every other day.  
* Although this sounds ridiculous- i swear it works, for me atleast.  Wear your bathing suit/bikini around the house, being in a skimpier outfit will make you think twice before you start eating junk.  You don't want to look fat in your bikini do you?
*Another tip, similar to above, is to wear tight clothing.  If there is a pair of sweatpants that you used to love and you gained weight, wear them.  The reminder of them being on you and being tight will remind you to think twice about over-indulging. 
* Inspirational words and pictures------ call me a dork, it works.  I've used sticky notes saying 
--"Why are you eating" --- this forced me to ask myself and answer if i was eating for emotinal reasons or if im truely hungry.
--"BF, L, D, S" --- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack.
-- SOURCES (i'd leave a sticky note out with c's for the amount of carb choices i hav a day, v for vegetable sources recommended per day, p for protein, etc.  I'd cross them off as i'd eat them throughout the day.  This helped me get a reasonable understanding for what kinds of foods i need to be eating, and which ones i need to be eating more of.
-- Pictures of celebrities/ heroes in an outfit that shows of their "amazing" body.  I've put it on my refridgerator, in the car (to encourage me to go the gym, and not to stop at fast food restaurants), cubicle at work, and/or in my bedroom.  (i'm a huge fan of tearing out swimsuit pics from the victoria's secret catalog!)
* Keeping your gym bag packed and in the car, this way you can't stop by the house after work and procrastinate your workout.  If you workout in the morning that's okay too-- leave your bag in your car so it's ready in the A.M.  Treat yourself to a nice breakfast after your workout so that the workout is exciting.
* Treating yourself is always great and treats are always great, i don't recommend you using food as a reward system though.  When we do this, i feel like it subconsciously tells us that food is for more then survival- it's for fun.  When we eat out of fun, that's when chubbiness occurs.  Use a manicure/pedicure or a facial.. maybe treat yourself to a piece of jewelry or art.  It's okay to use dessert sometimes though.
* If you've ever been at your goal weight-- put that picture in a frame.. It'll be seen by you throughout the day and inspire you.  It will also remind you that you've been there before and can do it again!  Also, if you've been at your goal weight before, always try and remember what your eating/dieting/exercise/movement in general at that time so that you can get an idea of what works for you.
* Get out of the habit of eating at night.  They say not to eat after 7 P.M. but sometimes i eat dinner at that time.  MY TIME to stop eating is 9... I break it all the time.  It's something I need to work on, seriously.  Have a snack/dessert after dinner around 9 and try to call it a night.  Relax and find other ways to soothe yourself besides sweets or fatty snacks.
* Drinking 8 glasses of water a day is serious.  Not only does it keep you hydrated, it keeps you full.  Your cravings will be minimal throughout the day when you take care of drinking enough water.  My promise.
* I'm really not about low-fat and diet foods but if you find that you eat things that aren't healthy multiple times a day and can't seem to control it, this can be the way to go.  If you eat a slice of cheese 3 times a day (example: on a breakfast sandwich, grilled cheese for lunch, a slice for a snack) Then you should consider the low-fat/fat-free alternatives.  Some fat-free alternatives tat aren't horrible for you are:
-Egg Beaters---Fat free/low-fat but still high in protein eggs
-Fat free cheese-- Yep they have it! I always try and stick with cheese made with 2% milk... That's diet enough for me, I don't eat cheese often
-"Turkey" sausage/bacon and/or Light meats.  I usually stick with fish which is very low in fat, very high in protein and white-meat chicken which is extremely low in fat and calories and high in protein as well so I don't generally worry about the fat in porks and in red meat because i so rarely eat them.
- Sugar free candies--- You can try them out, but they don't work for me.  I could eat them mixed in with regular candy probably since i do go over the recommended amount sometimes but i think that i just tend to eat more when i eat sugar free because i'm really just craving the sugar, when i eat sugar-free i'm not getting that so i keep eating in search for that sugar that i'm not getting
- Low fat crackers/chips... I don't really eat many of these either however, a lot of people do.  A lot of times instead of only reducing fat, a lot of times they add sugar or cholesterol to replace the loss of flavor from the removal of fat.  I would recommend checking out the nutritional facts and comparing the 2 (low fat vs. regular) before making your choice at the store.  See if the substitutions are legit or if it's more worth it to just go with the original.  Make sure that the lower-fat don't make you just crave more.

Coming soon to lose weight with L.Jay:::
- Diet's---reviews and information
- Recipes for my favorite healthy smoothies
- Recipes; healthy snacks and meals
- BEWARE; eating disorders
- My favorite toning exercises
- Toning exercises from my room to you (ME doing exercises, i will have picture posts and youtube vids)
- How to incorporate healthy eating into your day to day life

peace,love,let's get in shape!

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