I love carbs. Absolutely love them all: bread, crackers, chips, graham crackers, buns, cupcakes. You name it, I love it.
When I was home-home, I was complaining to my sister (who is a registered dietician) that I feel as though I need to workout twice a day in order to maintain my weight—due to the fact I sit at my job all day long. (I do try to get up and move as much as possible or stand as my desk, but it still isn’t much movement.) We got to talking about my diet and what I eat on a daily basis. I told her my breakfast is usually comprised of a Green Balance Juice along with a toasted English muffin topped with natural peanut butter. I said I usually have a carb-based mid-morning snack because I crave carbs so much due to my running. Lunch varies from a sandwich to various leftovers. I usually have another carb-based snack in the afternoon and then a light dinner of possibly cereal or random things from the fridge. I also shamefully admitted I usually eat at least one protein bar a day—sometimes two. They vary from Luna bars to Clif Builder protein bars. I don’t eat a lot of meat, so I often substituted protein bars.
She said, “Do you want to know my advice?” Uh oh. Never a good sign because something “bad” is coming. I said yes because she is the dietician, and I am constantly trying to refine and improve my diet.
She said, “cut the carbs!”
“But I crave them all the time though,” I rebutted.
“I crave ice cream all the time, that doesn’t mean I should eat it all the time,” my sister said.
This is very true. People have cravings all the time, but that doesn’t mean we should always act upon them because it may not be what our body needs. She also said to get rid of the protein bars. But, but what would I eat?
She gave me a lot of good ideas, so I have been trying to incorporate more of the following into my diet:
One serving of almonds (23 nuts or 1/4 cup) contains 160 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 6 grams of protein. The fat content is on the high side, but we all know this is a good source of fat. Plus, I know the fat combined with the protein is definitely going to fill me up. I used to make a carb-based trail mix with Cheerios, almonds, walnuts, Craisins, and raisins, but I never felt full after eating this because there are a lot of empty calories. Now when I have a serving of almonds, it curbs my hunger.
I used to have Greek yogurt occasionally, but now I have it 3-4 times per week. I always make sure to buy the plain kind since the flavored kinds have a lot of added sugars in them.
I rotate Greek yogurt and cottage cheese in my lunches. Cottage cheese is a great source of protein without a lot of fat. When I have the cottage cheese in my lunch, I will add grape tomatoes or pieces of fruit to it (pineapple or mandarin oranges).
Once again a great source of protein, plus quinoa is easy to make in the rice cooker. The latest dish I made contained butternut squash, walnuts, and dried cranberries with an olive oil based dressing. It is easy to add other frozen vegetables (peas and corn pictured below) along with nuts of your choice for a light lunch or snack.
Other filling snacks I often have in my lunch:
- fresh fruit (apples really fill me up)
- veggies with hummus (although I think I’ve overdosed on hummus)
- dates with peanut butter
- a corn tortilla topped with mozzarella cheese (heated up in the microwave)
- hard boiled egg
- protein powder mixed with water, milk, or juice (depends upon the flavor)
What are some of your favorite snacks that aren’t heavy on the carbs? (Please share so I have more options to rotate through.)