Back in 2009, I looked out over that canyon and told myself not to settle; To go out and live my dreams; To find that thing that only I can give to the world.
Standing there, taking it all in, I didn’t know where my journey to health would take me, but launching my blog by telling my truth has been really powerful for me. It has freed me in ways I can’t describe in words.
Thank you for being a part of it.
All those years ago, traveling to Arizona and packing for the trip, I can remember exactly what I packed for food to tour the canyon. As in so many areas of our lives, when it comes to being healthy, it all comes down to planning and preparation. It doesn’t happen by accident. This is what I know for sure: I will get hungry, and I will eat. The food choices I make are up to me, so I have learned that if I am prepared with healthy food, it makes my life much easier. And it makes me much healthier.
Because I can seriously go crazy if I don’t have a healthy snack around…I’m not kidding, just ask anyone who knows me well. By “crazy”, I mean I kind of begin to panic. I think about how much longer I’ll be able to wait before I can get home to eat; I start to consider nearby food options including restaurants and grocery stores; I start to get hungrier and that’s when it all begins to unravel. I think “well, maybe I’ll just grab a cookie from the coffee shop…” The hungrier I get, the worse my decisions become.
Knowing this, above all other strategies I use to have stable energy all day and to maintain a healthy body weight (and to NOT go crazy), is this one: I stay one step ahead of my hunger…by eating! What I mean by this is that I plan ahead knowing that I will be hungry later. I pack snacks as insurance so that when I do get hungry, I will eat something healthy. Then, when I genuinely start to feel that warm sense of hunger in my belly, I eat.
I say “that warm sense of hunger in my belly” because we can sometimes find ourselves snacking all day long, if we’re not mindful. I always check in to make sure I am not just thirsty or bored or tired; But if I am hydrated, well-rested, and engaged in something, then I know my body needs fuel. And so I eat.
Fun Fact: We can mistake the feeling of thirst for the feeling of hunger, so if you ate recently but still feel hungry, try drinking water and waiting 10 or 20 minutes. If you are still hungry, eat.
We must eat to have the energy we need to live our lives and do the things we love. I promise you, I don’t believe in restricting calories or starving! I just choose healthy options as often as I can.
The key is that I don’t wait until I am famished to eat. This is where so many of us get derailed. We resist eating thinking that it’s a way to lose weight, or to “save up calories”, and then we wait so long to eat that when we are finally faced with options, we make unhealthy choices and we tend to overeat.
I also don’t worry about “spoiling my appetite”. I eat healthy snacks between meals, before my hunger gets out of control. I don’t starve myself all day because I have a dinner to attend that night or because I am cooking something that I want to eat lots of. No. I stay one step ahead of serious, ravenous hunger by…eating!
I eat something that will serve me. I know what a good food choice looks like, and I know you do, too. But food marketers have done a really good job of trying to confuse us. They make claims on boxes, they advertise where we are, and they have deep pockets to be able to send their messages over and over again. We can begin to start believing them, if we aren’t careful.
So, let’s keep it simple. Real food is food that looks the way it does in nature, or at least as close as possible. So, when choosing easy, portable snacks, you really can’t go wrong with things like:
- Nuts and seeds (preferably unsalted, raw and organic)
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (apples and bananas are great for hikes, but I also like to grab a kiwi and just slice it in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon, or take pineapple chunks in a portable container…)
- Eggs (I always have a dozen hard-boiled eggs in the fridge, in a carton. Just use a pen or sharpie and mark them with something that will let you know they are the boiled ones) 🙂
- Hummus (such an easy, protein-rich dip). Check out my friend, Joanne’s, recipe at the bottom of this post. It’s pretty life-changing. 🙂
- Nut butter
- Greek yogurt
When I do snack, I’m always sure to choose something that contains both protein and fiber, so that I feel fuller for longer. For example, a banana and nut butter; Greek yogurt and berries; hummus and veggies; an apple and a piece of cheese; a hard boiled egg and a some veggies.
That day at the canyon, here is what I packed with me: Larabars–although not a perfect choice, they travel well; home made trail mix of raw, unsalted nuts, seeds and dried cranberries; and apples. These are pretty much staples in my bag, car, desk…
We won’t make good choices if we aren’t thinking clearly due to ravenous hunger. So, stay one step ahead of your hunger and plan ahead so that you can feel your best all day long!
I hope this helps remind you that as humans, our source of fuel is food, and we simply can’t live a life of our dreams without feeding ourselves! When we make decisions to choose fuel that serves us rather than harms us, we truly make the world a better place. It all starts with a decision and a plan.
Here’s a recipe for home made “Larabars” by one of my favourite people, The Detoxinista. They are easy, tasty and use only a few ingredients. If I had known about her before my trip to the canyon, I would have packed these!
Until next time,
I want you to love your life one bite at a time.
P.S. I would love to hear from you! What are your favourite snacks-on-the-go?