For many the last weeks of any year are busy and may involve parties, family gatherings and travel. Schedules are different and there is much to do. This can lead to lots of high calorie party food, drive thru’s, and ultimately, food regret. The best way to avoid the January weight loss resolution is to prepare for the pitfalls now. With a little bit of planning and self-awareness, you can close out the year feeling strong and healthy!
Whether you are running errands close to home, traveling by car, or plane it’s helpful to have snacks along. Here are my best on-the-go healthy snacks:
* Homemade trail mix. The bulk bins at grocery stores are a great source for raw, organic nuts and seeds. Purchasing them this way will save you money too! Grab a scoop of several varieties, then mix all together in a resealable bag or container. You can also add dried cranberries or raisins, just be mindful of the portion, and if possible select fruits that are low sugar. (I saw low sugar dried cranberries in a bulk bin at my local grocery store.) You can then portion your mix into snack size bags so that there is always one ready to head out the door with you. Nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fat, which will help you power through all you need to do. The oils, however, can cause them to become rancid, so store your nuts in the fridge or freezer for lasting freshness. This week I made a mix of walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, pumpkins seeds and dried cranberries.
*Roasted Chickpeas are another great source for on-the-go protein and so easy to make. Simply rinse a can of chickpeas, place on a sheet pan and pat dry. Add just enough olive oil to coat, shake pan or stir, then add seasoning of your choice. (I like a few pinches of cayenne pepper.) Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 1 hour, shaking the pan a few times during the cooking. I like to cook mine until they are really crunchy.
*Apples, bananas and grapes are easy to grab and provide fiber, nutrients and a burst of energy.
*Veggies and hummus are a powerful road trip snack with protein and many nutrients. Talk about eating a rainbow! Scoop some hummus into a food storage container and stick your veggies right on top of the hummus. Carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, bell peppers, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes are all good options and if you are short on time, you can purchase some of these pre-cut.
If you are going to a party or family gathering and eating at odd times, it’s a great idea to have a healthy snack before leaving home, so you’re not over-hungry by the time the meal is served. Being mindful of your portions and drinking plenty of water will also prevent eating too much.
Just because you are surrounded by special holiday treats, or too busy to cook, doesn’t mean you need to eat everything in sight or make poor choices. With a little moderation and planning, you can go forward into 2019 feeling strong and healthy!