Clearly one of the reasons that I had to begin this journey to healthy living is because I love food, and not always the healthiest kinds. So when I fully invested myself into this change, it called for the traditional pantry overhaul.
I think where a lot of people eventually fail with this (speaking from experience of having done this many, many times), is that you stock up on things that you don’t necessarily want to eat because they’re healthy, but when the unhealthy cravings come on, you eventually just start filling the pantry/fridge/freezer with all of the things that you ate previously. And most importantly, you then eat those things in mass quantities… the bag of chips that has 12 servings… well if I sit at that bag and eat straight from it, I could easily consume 4 or 5 servings without even realizing it. Or, let’s be honest, realizing it and not really caring.
So, what I’ve found is that by pre-portioning snacks that are easy to graze on, or getting individual serving sizes and a variety of options – something for a sweet tooth craving, or something salty for my afternoon snack, etc – I am able to give myself an opportunity to think twice before I grab the giant bag of chips or cookies. Instead, I can grab a pre-portioned snack bag, or granola bar. I have a row of various bins in my pantry and two alone are for our snacks (the kids have their own). But when I’m heading out or just needing a snack, I can open the pantry door, grab, and go.
Some of my favorite snacks are:
- Quaker Oats Granola Bars. They’re SO easy to just grab on the way out the door, especially if you’re running errands and have a fear of suddenly getting hangry in between meals.
- KIND bars. I love their almond and coconut bar. It’s my sweet fix but is still a nice, healthy alternative to a straight-up chocolate bar. But their other flavors like caramel almond sea salt or peanut butter and dark chocolate are others that I regularly keep in rotation.
- Luna bars. I like the lemon bar when I have a long run in the morning. It’s not too sweet but will keep me satisfied for a couple of hours. Their nuts over chocolate is a nice afternoon snack option.
Some of my favorite sweets are:
- Girl Scout cookies! As you can see, I have boxes upon boxes… I think I purchased about 30 this year? (Ok, I’m embarrassed by my true number and probably rounded down a little… maybe). So a friend recommended portioning them out into snack bags. I bought a giant box of snack bags from Costco and put 2-3 cookies per bag. Just over 100 calories and when doing two assorted flavors, it can really be a nice sweet tooth fix. The shortbread cookies are 4 to a serving so I usually put at least two in with another cookie, just because they’re already low in calories so I get a little bit more out of those bags.
- Chuao 50 calorie chocopods. I’m from California and these were one of the sweets I was sad to move across the country from. But thankfully, they ship! You can get their chocopods in bulk cases and I was gifted the orange and honeycomb packs for Christmas. I put them in a little tupperware and when I need my chocolate fix I can grab one or two.
- Trader Joe’s chocolate batons. TJs has both a 150 cal chocolate baton and a 100 calorie milk or dark chocolate bar set. The baton is a hefty serving and comes in a few different flavors (I think it’s plain dark, raspberry, and espresso). All are delicious and are treats when I really need that extra sweet or I have a lot of calories to spare and want to treat myself. The 100 calorie bars are another great grab and go item when you need your chocolate fix.
Those are just a few things in my pantry arsenal. I’ve been using this system for months now and it really helps me to feel like I still get the treats that I want, without the deprivation. I also like to take bags of chips and sort them into snack bags so that I not only have a quick side item to go if I’m packing a bag for work, or so that I’m not tempted to grab a bag and sit on the couch munching until regret settles in.
What tricks do you have? What are some of your favorite snacks?