By Katie Petroka BS – Nutrition Student
We should see Monday as a chance for a fresh start, but too many of us often wake up to a day of regret. After a weekend of indulging on takeout and perhaps, a bit too much wine, you may be practicing the common art of self-loathing. Well, snap out of it (and read the previous post)! Instead of feeling food guilt, leave that negative energy behind and focus on eating whole foods that make you feel good inside and out.
As you move forward and start your week on the right foot, your lapses in nutrition judgement may become a distant memory. Instead of beating yourself up, realize that a single meal or even an entire weekend of indulging isn’t enough to make your healthy goals completely derail or gain weight. Kick off your Monday with smart snacking choices, and you can quickly get back on track. By replacing an over-processed snack with a more nutritious whole food option you will give your body the fuel it needs while easily shaving calories. Your body will thank you by giving you more energy!
Haven’t had your daily serving of fruit yet? Swap out that sugary preservative laden granola bar for an apple with natural peanut butter. The apple provides fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants while the peanut butter contains protein and a healthy source of fat.
Had any veggies yet today? Replace simple carbohydrate snacks such as pretzels with crunchy carrot sticks dipped in hummus. By providing fiber and a dose of vitamin A, carrots are a nutritious alternative to pretzels. Hummus, made from chickpeas, provides protein keeping you full and satisfied. It is a great protein fiber combo!
Craving chocolate? Instead of eating a processed candy bar that can spike your blood sugar, opt for a piece of dark chocolate instead. Dark chocolate has a low glycemic index and is an antioxidant powerhouse.
Considering a bowl of cereal for an easy snack? Replace sugary cereal, that has a low amount of nutrition, with 100% rolled oats. Whole grains provide natural energy and will keep you feeling full longer.
Need a caffeine boost? Instead of grabbing a sugar laden soda containing too much artificial stuff to list, choose tea. Some teas may help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, encourage weight loss, lower cholesterol, and bring about mental alertness. No soda can make those claims!
Have a sweet tooth? Drop the licorice and pick up dried fruit such as dried mango which is high in fiber and antioxidants. Raisins are great too! They are an excellent source of iron and a convenient snack when you’re on the go.
Found yourself in a salty mood? A great alternative to greasy potato chips is popcorn with olive oil and sea salt. You still get that salty crunch you are craving but with the benefits of a whole grain. Yes, popcorn is a whole grain!
While abstaining from eating certain foods entirely may cause you to ultimately overeat and possibly binge, neither do I suggest you eat whatever you want whenever you want without intention. As with most things in life, it’s best to choose the middle path and find moderation and balance within ourselves.
By replacing a processed snack with a healthier option, we can practice smart eating throughout the week. One change a day will go a long way!
What are your favorite healthy swaps?