To snack or not to snack?

I get a lot of questions from folks wondering what they can eat for snacks when they switch their diet from a SAD diet (Standard American Diet) to a whole foods/ real food/ paleo type diet. Before I give a green light on what to snack on,  let’s rethink the idea of snacking altogether.

The idea of six small meals or three bigger meals with a morning and an afternoon snack is really a new idea. This is certainly not how we evolved. Let’s take a moment and think about blood sugar. In general, when you eat, your blood sugar rises. In order to deal with the rise in blood sugar, the pancreas secretes insulin which allows the glucose (blood sugar) into the cells where they are put to work. When you are always eating (as with six small meals or chronic snacking) your body is always 1) working to produce enough insulin (which prioritizes the production of the hormone insulin over other hormones), 2) dealing with elevated blood sugar, and 3) digesting food, which does not allow for your digestive system to have breaks throughout the day.

Here is the other “issue” I have with snacking. When we are taught to eat small meals, we are essentially setting ourselves up for snacking. You’re simply NOT going to be satisfied with the small meals and you’re going to have to snack. Simple as that. What I propose instead are three larger meals. Crazy, right? Three larger meals, with breakfast being your largest and dinner being your smallest. I’m also going to suggest that you increase your fat intake and possibly your starchy carbohydrate intake. Fat provides the most calories per gram (9, as compared to 4 from both protein and carbohydrates) making it more satiating. Fat keeps you fuller longer. And let’s remember that fat doesn’t make you fat. That is false.

With all that said, sometimes I do snack. So I do have some healthier recommendations for snacking.

    1. Beef Jerky or Turkey Jerky. We found Clean-n-Jerky during our trip to Colorado last spring and we love it. Small business, check. Woman owned and operated, check. Simple, real, and easy to pronounce ingredients, check. Well-sourced ingredients, check. Bonus: it’s also 21DSD compliant.
    2. Dip and veggies. I’m mainly referring to homemade dips because it is amazing what they manage to add to store-bought dips! I always think, I don’t put that into my dip when I make it at home, what could it possibly be used for? Anyways…guacamole and veggies, hummus and veggies, avocado-hummus and veggies, tzatziki and veggies, etc. Make some dip and cut up some veggies and enjoy! While veggies are not the same as chips in terms of flavor and texture, when your dip is delicious, the chips are really just a vehicle for the dip, so why not swap them out for a healthier vehicle or even just a spoon!
    3. Avocados make great snacks. I like to slice up half an avocado (or sometimes the whole thing!) and add a bit of sea salt and lemon and I’m all set! My husband loves avocado with hot sauce, which is also pretty great too.
    4. Fruit is also a great snack. Obviously I’m going to suggest eating whichever fruits are in season.
    5. Nuts or Nut Butters. A handful of nuts is a great option and so is a spoonful of nut butter. Sometimes I like nut butter on a apple or banana too.
    6. Deli meats and cheese. Avoid those conventional crackers because they are crap. No really, they are total crap. Also choose your cheese and deli meat wisely. I look for organic at a bare minimum, but ideally they are from pasture raised animals. Here are a few brands that I like.

      Hopefully some of these suggestions will be helpful to guide your snacking options. You’ll probably notice that most of my suggestions have some fat or some protein – this is intentional. If you just eat a simple carbohydrate, your blood sugar will quickly spike and then quickly fall, which is something to be avoided as much as possible.

      I leave you with two tips: 1) The less processed the better. When you are left with a challenging choice to make, go for as little processing as possible. 2) No naked carbs. In nutrition school, this was one of the first tips we learned – be sure to include some fat or some protein with your carbohydrates for healthy blood sugar management.

Hugs and Health,

Katie

 

 

In Season, in July

July is here! I love July because it truly symbolizes summer for me. Although, this July I do have to work for a couple of weeks, generally, for teachers, July is the only month of year where there is actually no school. The other reason I love July is because all the wonderful fruit and vegetable options available in July.

Figs are top of my list of exciting fruits this month! And everyone loves when tomato season is here! I’m looking forward to caprese salads this summer – it brings me back to Italy! Yum! What are you looking forward to this July?

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

 

In Season, in June

Well, this post is later than I had planned, but better late than never! Summer is in full swing here in Northern California and it has been quite warm. School is out, the days are long, sunny, and beautiful, and the bounty of produce options leaves me like that heart googly eyed emoji.

Now we have herbs like basil in season. And…….. Blueberries!!!!! I literally can’t get enough of them. Next up is corn. I know most people LOVE corn, and I while I do like it, I almost never eat or buy it. If I do, it absolutely must be organic. Once we went paleo, it was one of those things that I just didn’t feel the urge to splurge. I am also very excited that it is now raspberry  and

nectarine season. And that summer squash will be coming to a zoodler near you! Here is the Spiralizer that I use to turn my zucchini into “noodles”:  Tri-Blade Vegetable Spiral Slicer, Strongest-Heaviest, Best Veggie Pasta Spaghetti Maker for Low Carb/Paleo/Gluten-Free Meals.

Happy June! Enjoy the bounty from the farmer’s market!! Or join a CSA!

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

In Season, in May

May is the first sign of summer produce. It makes me extremely h
appy so see summer produce. For me, it’s the berries that are the most exciting. I could eat a pint of strawberries every day. And actually, I pretty much do. ;-). My husband loves when cherries are in season and it is a pretty short season. I try to buy them for him often during May and June. I have never bought rhubarb, so it should go on my list of things to buy and cook with.

What are you most excited for?

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

 

In Season, in April

April is here and that means that STRAWBERRY season
is upon us. This means that I will be eating as many strawberries as I possibly can from now until about October.  Here is a list of what is in season in April (in Northern California). 

What are you looking forward to in April?

Hugs & Health <3,

Katie

The 52 New Foods Challenge – Avocado

The 52 New Foods Challenge Food of the Week: Avocado

I think we all love Avocado. Obviously there is guacamole- my favorite! But for a quick and easy option, I also like to have a half or whole avocado sprinkled with sea salt and lemon and maybe hot sauce. What I’ve been really digging lately is: guacamole deviled eggs! Jennifer Tyler Lee has a recipe for avocado chocolate pudding – I do want to try this too! I tried avocado ice cream and I wasn’t a big fan. What are you favorite ways to use avocado?

Food Facts:IMG_0163

  • Good source of vitamin E, folate, potassium, and magnesium
  • Very good source of soluble fiber
  • High in healthy monounsaturated fats
  • Haas avocados have 2-4 times more antioxidants than other varieties sold in stores
  • Unripe avocados will ripen quickly in a brown paper bag
  • They will also ripen on your countertops – but they stop ripening once in your fridge – so they can be kept in the fridge until ready to be eaten (usually for several days)
  • “One serving gives you more antioxidants than a serving of broccoli raab, grapes, red bell peppers, or red cabbage” (Robinson, 2013, p. 206)


From Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health
by Jo Robinson, The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planetby Tonia Reinhard

In Season, in September

 

In September, I feel like summer foods are starting to “die down”, so in my mind, this is the one last month to get the summer foods in before they start disappearing for the season. I’m always excited to see apples appear back on the seasonal lists because I usually start boycotting apples in January/February. (They are about 3-6 months old by that point and to me, they begin to get that mealy texture around then.)

Go to your local farmer’s market this weekend and get some local food!

Health & Hugs <3,

Katie

In Season, in August

I LOVE eating seasonally for three main reasons. 1) Seasonal produce usually grows locally and is therefore fresher because it hasn’t traveled nearly as far as when it is not in season. 2) It promotes local jobs and boosts our local economy. 3) Seasonal produce TASTES significantly better than when it’s picked unripe in order to travel, then traveled for many days, and then gassed with ethylene gas to artificially ripen them. I make very few exceptions to my seasonal eating rule [frozen berries, bananas, plantains, and that’s pretty much it].

In Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle she discusses eating tomatoes so much while they are in season that you almost become
sick of them. 

You don’t crave them as much during the offseason and you’re not tempted to eat a tasteless mealy tomato in January, because your tomato craving has been satiated for the year. I love this way to view it and have tried to really adopt this mentality since reading her book in 2011.

Go to your local farmer’s market this weekend and get some local food!

Health & Hugs <3,

Katie