Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Healthy summer snacking

I’m gonna list again today. My best friend since middle school is a multi-degreed nutritionist, and I use her brain alllll the time. So. Here are my little tips and tricks to eating healthy when kids are home for the summer and want snacks and cookies every few minutes:
  1. I’m a sucker for a good trail mix, so I bought these cute TINY bowls from Target, measure out about ⅓ cup trail mix, and I’m not allowed to eat more than that during the day. (Target’s MONSTER Trail Mix is not trail mix. It is candy. Treat as such)
  2. When (IF) I make breakfast, I cut up zucchini, carrot, and apple slices, put them in containers, and leave them on the outer edge of the shelf for easy access. And no, if I want them dipped in ranch, I do not feel guilty about this (I only say this because I have friends who have sworn off ranch, even jalapeno ranch, and this makes no sense to me).
  3. When I make sandwiches, I’ll slice them all into fourths, put them on a plate for kiddos to come get their share, and I only take two. Eventually, the kids will eat the rest. I also do this with quesadillas, making sure that one of them is low on the cheese and high on the beans for me.
  4. Drink water before you eat ANYTHING. Most of the time when we think we’re hungry, we’re thirsty. Try that first. If we’re actually hungry, all that water in our stomach helps us feel fuller for longer. (This is part of Bob Harper’s Skinny Rules, which is what finally helped me shed the pounds from kiddo #2)
  5. SKINNY POP. This stuff is awesome. Two cups of Skinny Pop Popcorn, and a glass of water, and I’m totally set.
  6. Sometimes water is boring. Here are some suggestions: Bai (watch out for caffeine!), Sparkling water (with or without flavoring), Nuun energy tablets that are designed to be dropped in water - I’ve gotten to where a half tablet is enough (some have caffeine, some don’t). If you need a huge jolt, but don’t want to jump in and drink soda, I highly recommend hi*ball - natural caffeine. The grapefruit is the best of the calorie free, and the apple cranberry is the best with calories.
  7. DON’T EAT THINGS THAT ARE NOT FOOD. Look at your labels and start googling some of that crap. Scary what’s allowed in our crackers and chips. Smaller ingredient lists are almost always better for you.
  8. When I do outings with my kids, I make them take their own food and water in their own pack. That way I’m not sorting through their yummy stuff to get to my carrots.
  9. No matter how hard you work out, you can eat more calories than you realized. I pick one day a week and type up every single thing I eat (because it’s SUMMER and I don’t want to be typing in allll my food every day). It gives me a good measure of where I’m at, and it’s not overwhelming and super time-consuming. It’s like my check-in to see if I’m about right for caloric intake, or if I’ve fallen off the wagon.
  10. I’m a huge lover of tortilla/taco soup - Get some chicken or veggie broth and then toss in some corn, black beans, white beans, pinto beans, whatever chilis or onions you like, maybe some peas, and salsa for flavor. I’ll freeze that up and have these super easy meals. For those of you who live in places too hot for summertime soup - I do the same thing with salads. I’ll cut up a bunch of salad stuff, so I’m not eating the same one every day. I love Thug Kitchen’s take on salads - PLANT NACHOS!! I can totally get behind that.
  11. And FINALLY… I know people who go totally without chocolate (or whatever their favorite treat is). STOP THAT. Buy the quality stuff, and when you’re dying for a sweet fix? Break off a piece. Even the most extreme diets can handle a bite or two of your favorite thing. Don’t get yourself in a position where you’re so deprived you binge. Not good for your mental or physical health.

Hopefully this is helpful… I’m far from perfect, but all these little things help me keep eating healthy so I can keep up with my ever-growing kiddos! Happy Summer Adventures Everyone!! And PLEASE PLEASE share your tips in the comments!!

Jolene Perry writes books for teens and lives in Alaska with her family, dog, cat, and tortoise.


  1. I lost 46 lbs 3 years ago and still have kept it off. I record my food every day in a programme called FitDay and I eat whatever I like basically. It's portion size which is important. However, I don't eat thinks like tortillas nor do I chomp on carrot sticks. I agree soup is good.

  2. Good tips! I do iced tea when I need something not water, but am not big on caffeine, so I keep caffeine-free types at home. And I like to make water with fresh fruit in it. We do a lot of smoothies here in my summer. My kids are easy to please with them, and I can throw in handfuls of greens without it being something they can taste (they know they're in there, though--I don't hide it. Still, *I* don't want to taste the greens!) And crockpot soups! Lifesaver when it's too hot. The kids have been big on peanuts they have to shell lately, so I stick them out back so it doesn't matter where the shells go, and they chomp away. And I try to cut up veggies for snacking, but I could be better at that.

  3. Yes!! Love this. I'm a soda water drinker too. I've tried Bai, and it made me cranky. Not my thing. great tips!! Lots of love girl!

  4. Great tips!! The best part about adding more water is that you also stay hydrated in the summer!


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