April 3, 2011

Junk Food Menu Snack #2

Again, I am posting another snack option for those trying to make some healthy diet changes but can't overcome the siren song coming from the cupboard at 9pm at night. Usually it's from some seductive package of cookies or chips (or both) that we just can't resist. First of all, I strongly suggest, if you are wanting to change your diet, get rid of the temptation. Toss the cookies in the trash being very careful to pour dish washing liquid on them so not to reach into the garbage and grab just one more cookie.....(not that I've been there or anything....).

If you are looking for something sweet (and maybe even salty) that is healthy why not try oatmeal? Yes, oatmeal at night....it's crazy talk! I sometimes have it for lunch, for a night time snack, and of course, never start the day off without it. You can put anything you can think of in it. From peanut butter and jam to shaved dark chocolate and almonds, you can dress it up anyway you want. For today's post, I did it the following way.....

I highly recommend to start with Quaker Oats. It's just oats without the other processed crap. You can purchase ready-to-go packs like the above, or in a large bag. The single servings are great because you can take it with you to work if you are in a rush. I sometimes pack one for lunch (coupled with a small container of whatever I want to add to it). If you add fruit and nuts to it, you have your carbohydrate, protein, and fruit serving in one meal.

The first thing you should look at is the serving size. After that, it's whatever it is you are focused on (fat, calories, etc.). However, the most important part of any label is the ingredients list. The food could be very low in calories but full of processed chemicals. As you can see here, the ingredients list is simple and whole.

You start with this simple base, add water, heat in microwave for about 2 minutes and then add what you please.

I have added frozen blueberries, frozen raspberries, walnuts (the best nut for you), raisins, and yes...brown sugar (just enough to sweeten). I cannot do it without brown sugar.  You could always replace the sugar with Stevia or Splenda as these substitutes have not been linked to cancer. Aspartame has (in rats of course and in large doses, but I'm just sayin').

After sticking back in the micro for about 1 minute to heat up the frozen berries, I stir in Cinnamon.  There's nothing like it. I use it in my coffee as well. If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend!

Give it all a good stir and you are good to go! From start to finish, this will take you 3 - 5 minutes. You have the goodness of oats, fruit, nuts, and the fun of brown sugar and Cinnamon. A great snack for anytime of day!

I realize for some reading this, you may think it is overly simplified. But for the folks I have worked with over the years, the challenge is always around healthy snack options that don't suck (like grabbing a plain rice cake and pretending it is a bowl of ice cream).  Time and simplicity are two of the variables that can lead to successful weight loss and lifestyle change.  The simplicity of oatmeal and all the ways you can switch it up offer the snacker options but keep it very healthy and relatively low in calories.

The next time you go grocery shopping, grab yourself a box or bag of plain oats and put them on your Junk Food Menu for those times when you are desperate for "junk food" break.  I promise, you can make it healthy and satisfy that junk food urge.

Have a good Sunday.

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