Spring is upon us, and along with checking items off of our spring cleaning to-do lists, it’s the perfect time to make some healthy lifestyle and diet changes. And we’re not talking about dedicating yourself to a marathon-training regimen or a broccoli-only diet here. Just making some simple adjustments to your daily routines and eating habits can go a long way in helping you get fit for the summer.
We’ve enlisted the help of Registered Dietitian and Spring Into Balance Spokesperson Sharon Richter to offer some quick and easy-to-implement nutritious lifestyle tips. First, we’ll stage a showdown between some common snack options, and tackle the question: which is better to stock up on?
- Balance Bar Dark Chocolate vs. Trail Mix With Candy - The Winner? Balance Bar because it’s portion controlled. Also, beware that trail mixes that are more candy than substance hide a lot of calories and fat you don’t need!
- Peanut Butter On Toast vs. Single Serve Peanut Butter Pack And An Apple - The Winner? Single serve is a great way to make sure you don’t overindulge. There’s good fat and protein in peanut butter, but lathering on too much is a recipe for disaster. Skip the toast or cracker, and spread the peanut butter on an apple, celery sticks or a banana.
- Soda vs. Coconut Water - The Winner? Coconut water. While plain water is always the best choice, if you’re craving some flavor, opt to have coconut water instead of soda or juice. Coconut water generally has fewer calories, plus it contains potassium. Check the labels to ensure you choose plain coconut water and avoid those with added sugar or juices.
- Chips vs. Jerky - The Winner? Jerky. It’s low fat and high protein making it a really satisfying snack. Plus, its texture makes it a harder chew, which will slow down your eating and give you time to register feelings of fullness.
- Candy Bar vs. Balance Bar - The Winner? Of course, we’d go with the nutritious Balance Bar. It gives you that satisfaction of something sweet, but unlike a candy bar, Balance Bar offers a balanced 40-30-30 ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fat designed to provide you with the lasting energy you need to keep going any time of day.
Having the right foods on hand and easily accessible is one of the best ways to avoid indulging in unhealthy snacking that you might regret later. Just a little strategic planning can really pay off when it comes to satisfying your hunger throughout the day. Check out these simple snacking tips from Sharon:
- Hide the higher calorie desserts, such as ice cream, far back in the freezer. Keep better choices in the front, such as an all-fruit ice pop or frozen yogurt dessert. And for a delicious treat, freeze a Dark Chocolate Balance Bar then cut it up and sprinkle on top of your frozen yogurt.
- Keep a stash of healthy on-the-go snacks - We have all had those insanely busy days when it seems there is just no time to eat. Instead of reaching for something quick that is non-nutritious, keep a stash of protein-rich foods so you don't end up at the drive through or vending machine. Some ideas are Balance Bars, nuts and even beef jerky. All of these items are great for traveling and can be portion controlled.
- Have plenty of water on hand…and drink it! We often confuse hunger with thirst, so before you reach for a snack, drink a glass of water. This will give you the extra time to determine if you’re really hungry and will also help you make a better decision on what you ultimately eat. You’ll be much more likely to make a healthy choice!
For more advice on making nutritious lifestyle choices from Sharon, check out her recent blog post on spring cleaning your pantry.