One of the biggest mistakes I see my clients make is forgetting that “getting healthy” is a process. It requires a combination of trial and error, mindset shifts, and lifestyle changes. It also takes commitment and resilience. My most successful clients know that a healthy lifestyle is the result of making sustainable changes over time.
My best strategy for sustainable change is to create one new habit at a time. Trying to work on everything all at once never works, and will likely send you back to your old ways in no time flat. If you don’t think one change at a time is impactful, think again. How much would your life change if you focused ONLY on not drinking soda, eating more veggies, getting more sleep, or eating less fast food?
Your one change can big, small, or anywhere in the middle. The size of the change doesn’t matter, but I suggest you start with something that’s doable. I know this may seem pretty obvious, but sometimes we set ourselves up for failure by going too far away from what’s truly possible. If you’ve never worked out before, deciding to work out 6 days per week is not where you should start. Start off with what’s reasonable and doable first, and once you’ve mastered that, you can add on to it accordingly.
Based on this One Change concept, I thought it would be fun to start a series on the blog with ideas for changes you can make that will move you towards a healthier lifestyle.
This one change is simple: make sure your snacks are balanced with produce and protein. We often fall into the habit of grabbing a bag of chips or pretzels, a granola bar, some cheese, a handful of nuts, a box of popcorn, or just an apple as a snack, and end up starving 30 minutes later, looking for something more. Eating just carbs or just fat or just protein might feel okay health-wise, but hunger-wise, it’s not the best idea. Having a balanced snack that contains both produce (i.e., fiber) AND protein is going to keep you full and satisfied better than either can alone.
Why? Here’s how I like to explain it: fiber provides you with long-term fullness. Choosing high-fiber produce in the form of veggies or berries is not only a great source of fiber, it also provides a hit of antioxidants and other plant nutrients that keep your body happy. Protein is a great natural appetite suppressant. Adding protein to your snack tells your brain that your finished eating and stops you from coming back for more. Together, this combination satisfies. Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself.
It’s important to note that you can create endless combinations of snacks that provide a mix of protein and fiber, but I like to put the spotlight on produce. Eating fruits and veggies is something we can always do more of, and chances are you’re not getting enough. Holding yourself accountable for eating produce every time you snack helps to increase your fruit and veggie consumption in a way that isn’t overwhelming.
Snacks are actually an easy place to incorporate more produce…there are plenty of options that work well as a grab-and-go choice. It’s just as easy to grab an apple or bag of baby carrots as it is to grab a bag of chips, right? And the protein in your snack will keep you satiated and help you get past the mid-afternoon energy slump.
The combination of produce and protein is the perfect formula for a filling snack. This one change is the difference between being in control of your hunger throughout the day or chasing it and never catching up.
Here are some ideas for snack combinations that put this one change into action:
- Black beans + roasted cauliflower
- Hummus + carrot sticks, cucumber slices, broccoli/cauliflower, peppers, sugar snap peas, etc.
- Plain Greek yogurt + frozen Wild Blueberries
- Cottage cheese + blackberries
- Edamame (soybeans) + sliced apple
- Handful of almonds + sliced pear
- Nut butter stuffed celery sticks
- Tuna salad (just mix canned tuna with Greek yogurt & mashed avocado) + cucumber slices
- Mango Kiwi Chia Pudding
- Raw Wild Blueberry Snack Balls
What are your favorite produce and protein snack combinations?