snacks

Light Carb Snacks and Lunches

The hard part of any diet is being creative. It’s so easy to get into a rut and eat the same thing for days and days…Before you know it, you’re completely burned out on eating salads every day and all you want is a big burrito or slice of pizza!

When I decided to try limiting my carb intake, I struggled to find quick and easy lunches I could take to work. When I’m home it’s easy to figure out something but I needed stuff that was easily packed ahead of time.

I bought some containers that have compartments to make it easier to transport several different things without a big mess. I love this and this! So far they work great! No leaks, no mess. The dual compartment ones I have are fabulous. In one side I put some roasted veggies, the other side hummus or tuna salad.

So here are a few of my lunches and snacks I’ve been enjoying lately:

Lunches

Lunch #1

I do these “rollup” things. I take some sliced deli meat (it varies, ham, roast beef, turkey or pastrami, and sometimes I mix and match them together) with a slice of cheese and a little mustard and roll it up. I usually pack 2 for lunch. Sometimes I have pickles and olives with it.

Then I had some roasted veggies on the side. I love roasted veggies! And they are surprisingly filling. I usually do broccoli, onion, Brussels Sprouts, and carrots. (Sometimes I’ll add some sweet potatoes or butternut squash but I’m trying not do that right now.)

 

Lunch #2

I made some tuna salad. I took a can of tuna, added some mayo and mustard, diced carrots, diced onion, diced pickles and some seasoning. Instead of crackers I took cucumber slices. One day I had some cheddar slices with it and another day I had string cheese.

Lunch #3

I got some chile lime chicken burgers from Trader Joe’s that are super low in carbs and calories. I have a patty with cheese and some roasted veggies.

I also got butternut squash to add to my roasted veggies.

Also, some riced cauliflower and turkey meatballs. Yum! (Although the above photo is more for dinner than lunch.)

Lunch #4

Big salad with lettuce, carrots, avocado, Chipotle dressing and the pre-cooked chicken fajita strips (bought on a whim because they were marked down and they were actually pretty good!).

 

Lunch #5

Kind of of a hodge-podge of things. A hardboiled egg, some chopped ham, and roasted veggies.

Snacks

Snack #1

Plain Greek Yogurt with sliced strawberries.

Snack #2

Sliced apple with string cheese.

Snack #3

Pickles, black olives, jalapeno stuffed olives and some pistachios.

Snack #4

Cheese, Salami, olives.

Snack #5

I got a package of the Sargento Balanced Breaks–cheese, nuts and dried fruit. I could have easily made my own, but they were on sale so I picked up a package. They are a little higher in carbs than I’m looking for (12grams) but they are good for workout days.

I also had some celery and peanut butter that day.

Thoughts

I’ve gotten some pretty good ideas for more lunches and snacks that I’m going to try in the coming weeks. I think it’s important to switch things up each week so it doesn’t get monotonous and boring. When I was trying to lose 100 pounds 10 years ago I ate the same damn lunch every single day. Every day. No deviation–a turkey and cheese sandwich on low calorie bread with a serving of wheat thins. Man was I sick of that!!!

So I will do another post in a few weeks with other ideas I’ve tried!

QUESTION: What are your favorite snacks and lunches right now?

My Weight Loss Story – Part 2

My Weight Loss Story – Part 2

by Michael

 

I listen to a lot of podcasts at work and some of them had some health and fitness related guests on that were discussing the benefits of the ketosis diet. The basis of this diet is that consume about 50% of your calories from fats and forego the carbs. In doing so, you will optimize your body to burn fats as a fuel source instead of carbohydrates. This was a new concept to me but I was very curious to learn more about it. Then I found some podcasts that were either specifically about health and fitness or had regular guests on to discuss those topics. Before I continue, I want to state that I am not on a ketosis diet because I feel like it’s a little too difficult for me to strictly adhere to. There are however, a lot of things that I have taken from it that I do really like.

I remember a time in the 80s where buzz phrases like “low in fat” started to appear on the packages of products in the grocery stores. Years later, this has evolved into phrases like “an excellent source of whole grains” and “zero trans fats” which would lead you to believe that products like this are in fact, ideal for your health when in reality, a low-fat chip for example would 1 – taste terrible and 2 – is likely loaded with salt and sugar so it will actually taste like something that you would enjoy. In other words, it’s probably not good for you.

One of the shows I listened to had a guest on that was discussing the benefits of a high fat diet and specifically mentioned that cavemen were not out harvesting grains so they’d have enough energy to hunt in order to survive. They were eating animals and produce and the fats they consumed became their source of fuel.

I dug deeper into the topic and discovered that then ketosis diet was popular among the ultra-endurance athletes that were doing things like running 100-mile races. Athletic accomplishments like this, while impressive, are not something that I’m interested in yet the benefits of the diet are still compelling to me.

The guest would go on to give examples of what you should be eating via multiple choice questions. Time after time, he would suggest the highest item in fat or the item in the list that you’d consider to be the most sinful of the group. One example really stuck out to me and that was when he recommended eating a Snickers bar over some other items because of the items mentioned, it was the highest in fat content and therefore would be most likely to satisfy you for the longest period of time. He was clear to recommend this was only something that he’d recommend in a bind and this was not something that you should normally do. The thing that I took away from this was that if you were going to cheat on your diet, go for it. Don’t eat the fat-free frozen yogurt because a facsimile of the thing you’re craving won’t actually satisfy your desires. Instead, just get the ice cream that has all of the fat and sugar in it that you’re craving. Don’t eat it often and you should be fine.

Another guest on another show had uttered a few phrases that really resonated with me. Don’t count calories, make calories count. The other thing he said was something about earning or working hard enough so that you deserve to eat your carbohydrates. These phrases weren’t new to me but they really struck a nerve this time.

On to the diet. There are a few principles that I follow.

1 – Whenever possible, eat the fattiest version available. Gone are the days of tasteless boring skinless chicken breasts. Hello chicken thighs pan fried in coconut oil and kale sautéed with bacon!

2 – Snack on the fattiest snack items. My go to items are salami, cheeses, nuts, avocados, and veggies with Greek yogurt based dips.

3 – The carbs I eat most often are those that have a low-glycemic index value. This means that legumes and beans are the preferred carbohydrate.

4 – It’s OK to cheat on when I ride my bike a little because I will burn a ton of calories on those days. This is when I’ll have a slice of pizza, a bag of chips, or glass of wine.

A typical day of eating looks like this for me:

Breakfast – 2 pieces of bacon, 2 scrambled eggs cooked in the bacon grease, topped with avocado and jalapeños. Sometimes I’ll throw a fistful of sweet potatoes in if I feel sluggish. When I go running before work, I’ll eat Greek yogurt with blueberries afterward because I won’t have time to cook.

Lunch – Black beans topped with cheese and jalapeños, a spinach salad with olive oil and vinegar, a chicken thigh or two, and some avocado.

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Dinner – A steak, Brussels sprouts sautéed with bacon, and a side salad.

In addition, I’ll eat one or two snacks from the list I mentioned earlier.

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So what’s missing? Low-fat foods and grains – the very things that we’ve been told to consume a lot of because they’re good for us. I’m convinced now that it’s all a lie. I also don’t eat much sugar. I’ll eat some in a natural form, like what comes with fruits and veggies, but I’m fortunate that I don’t tend to have a sweet tooth. I primarily eat these foods after I exercise to help stave off an energy crash and it tends to prevent me from committing larger infractions.

I’ve been eating like this for now for a few months. The results were:

  • I have dropped 25 pounds and a pant size.
  • All of the fat I’m eating has kept me happy and I feel like this diet is very sustainable over the long haul. I don’t feel like I’m starving myself or seriously depriving myself of the foods that I love.
  • I’ve also had blood work done and all of my stats have improved – my weight is down, my cholesterol is down, and my resting heart rate is down.
  • My BMI has lowered by 3%.

I don’t necessarily have an end game for what I want to weigh. While losing weight is necessary for me to achieve my fitness goals, it’s not my primary focus which in a way, makes all of this a bit easier since I’m not constantly focusing on losing weight. Instead, I’m focused on biking, running, pull-ups, and push-ups. Anything that makes this stuff easier is good in my book.