I did my weekly menu planning, prepared my grocery list, hit the gym after work and am now heading into the grocery store. I haven’t eaten since my last snack at work and guess what? I’m starving!
No big deal. I can still stick to my list, right?
Wrong….I end up wandering down the snack aisle and grabbing 4 different items that weren’t on the list. Not only were these foods not on my list but they were also “choose less often” foods that I previously decided I wouldn’t keep in the house. Jeeze, don’t I have enough will power to resist these foods?!
If this has happened to you, you’re not alone – and it is NOT about willpower. Research out of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab has shown that people who grocery shop when they’re hungry have a much higher likelihood to overspend, stray from their list and choose high calorie foods than people who had a snack or meal pre-grocery outing. It is a natural reaction for you to gravitate towards high calorie food when you’re hungry because your body kicks into survival mode and wants quick energy.
Sure, you think, but what about the days when you didn’t plan to be without food for a lengthy period of time and life got in the way of your daily food planning? The answer lies in having a car survival kit for days when you are on the go and didn’t have time to plan your snacks. I would recommend keeping this kit in the trunk so it is not within arm’s reach every time you get into your car.
What kind of foods should you include in your kit?
- Nuts (any kind will do – unsalted are best)
- Protein bars
- Whole grain crackers
- Water – to wash it down!
Sometimes it’s the small changes that can produce great results!
Emily Spencer, RD
This is definitely not blatant health deception, as I believe we all know that flavored seasonal lattes are not healthy. However, the deception may be in the surprise of just how many calories and added sugar these products contain. As well, not treating the drink as you would a slice of pie, but they’re essentially identical.
Here is a sample from lowest calories/sugar to highest in a Pumpkin Spice Latte :
Short non-fat without whip cream
~24 grams Sugar (~12g of it added or 3 tsp)*
Grande 2% milk with whip cream
~49 grams sugar (~24g of it added or 6tsp)*
Venti whole milk with whip cream
~62 grams sugar (~29g of it added or 7.5tsp)*
*the rest of the sugar coming naturally from the lactose in milk.
One average slice of pumpkin pie with whip cream (for reference)
~24 grams of sugar (difficult to estimate added sugar, most likely ~16-18 grams)
~2 grams of fibre
Certainly not a healthy daily ritual
A client of mine showed me these a few days ago and asked me what I thought of them. Here goes: Seeing as I love peanut butter either on its own or mixed with just about anything, I gladly tried a package and guess what – I think they taste very good. They taste exactly how you would expect crackers with peanut butter sandwiched between them would. Nutritionally however, I was far less impressed. With only 3g protein per serving and refined flour as the main cracker ingredient, these will do very little in terms of satisfying you for a prolonged period of time. An ideal amount of protein for a snack is at least 10g with the goal being to keep you feeling full for a couple of hours. The use of refined (white) flour offers no nutritionally benefit and as I’ve blogged about before, can increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A better option would be to spread some peanut butter on whole grain crackers such as Finn Crisps, Ryvita or Dare Grains First. Doing so would only take a few extra seconds compared to grabbing one of these and is a whole lot healthier. Your best bet with Ritz Crackerfuls is to save them as a once-in-a-while treat. I was unable to find them at my local store but would imagine they cost in $3.00-$5.00 range. There are five sandwiches per box.
Per serving (28g or one package)
I’ve been called a part-pooper by some for suggesting that instead of candy why not give out non-food items tomorrow night. I see it two ways: 1) kids will already get enough candy and 2) these items will last longer than the few seconds of joy you’ll get chewing on a bite-sized chocolate bar. This list is also useful for kids who have food allergies.
1) Temporary tattoos
2) Pencils, pens, crayons, erasers
4) Nerf balls, rubber balls, hacky-sacks
5) Deck of playing cards
6) Halloween-themed ink stamps
7) Play Doh
8) Halloween stickers
9) Rubber or plastic bugs
10) Mini flashlights or glow sticks
What are some other non-food treats that could be given out?
Meal planning is essential to healthy eating. Failing to plan can lead to last-minute (usually unhealthy) choices such as take out or frozen pizza. That’s why I’ve created the following to help you plan healthy, balanced meals. Simply pick an item from each list to create a meal that you can feel good about eating and serving to family and friends.
Choose one of: Next add one of: Don’t forget veggies!
salmon sweet potato spinach
trout quinoa kale
haddock brown rice broccoli
cod whole wheat pasta peppers
tilapia whole grain bread cauliflower
tofu potato beets
lentils corn asparagus
chicken barley green beans
turkey whole wheat tortilla snow peas
pork whole wheat pita mushrooms
beef bulgur carrots
For a 300-400 calorie meal, choose 3-4 oz of any protein (left column) and 3-4 oz of any starch (middle column). Then add 4-8 oz of vegetables (right column).
For recipes ideas, I like the following sites: cookinglight.com, eatingwell.com, sparkrecipes.com.
Here are some ideas for those with kids or who are in our Family Reset Program. Of course, adults can have these snacks, too!
1 oz soynuts and 0.5 oz unsweetened raisins
175g unflavoured Greek yogurt and fruit (can add tsp of honey for sweetness instead of fruit, depending on preference)
1-2 oz soy nut butter (e.g. Wowbutter) and whole-grain English muffin
½ cup cottage cheese and ½ cup pineapple
smoothie: ¾ cup unflavoured or sugar-free yogurt, fruit (e.g. banana, berries), ice or water
1 whole-grain pita and hummus
Ants on a log (celery sticks, peanut butter and raisins)
1 cup Kashi cereal (with or without milk)
1 hard boiled egg, salsa, 1 slice whole grain toast
Snap peas and hummus
Bean dip and whole-grain crackers
Apple and 1-2 oz soy nut butter
Fruit kabob (melon, watermelon, banana, cheese (Babybel works great!)
Home made protein bars (recipe).
Whole grain crackers and 1 oz cheddar cheese
¼ cup roasted sesame seeds and ½ cup berries
Note: You can replace soy nuts, Wowbutter with peanuts, almonds, peanut butter, etc… at locations where they are safe/allowed to be consumed (e.g. at home).