Friday, October 24, 2014

Guest Post: 7 Healthy Ways Satisfy Between Meal Munchies

I am a college student, it’s a Wednesday morning, and I have been sitting in class for about an hour.  Although I ate breakfast, I’m starving, unable to focus, and dreaming of lunch even though it’s only 9:30 a.m.  Then, a couple hours after I have devoured a huge lunch, I find myself quickly spiraling into an afternoon crash and falling asleep in my seat.  Next thing I know, I’m downing a coffee just to stay awake the rest of the day and be productive.  After a few hours at the library, my stomach starts to grumble and I’m cranky.  And forget my post-school day workout because I don’t have enough energy for that!  Although I had planned to cook dinner at home, I’m so starved that I stop and pick up a quick dinner on my way home.
I bet many of you have experienced a vicious cycle similar to mine.  Can you imagine how my day may have gone differently had I packed some healthy snacks in my backpack in the morning?
Blackberries and cheese on toothpicks
Snacking is often associated with guilt, cheating, or unhealthy food.  For this reason, many people avoid snacking in between meals because they don’t think they should or because they think snacking is bad for them.
However, don’t be afraid to satisfy your hunger with a snack!  According to a recent survey1, Americans with the healthiest overall eating practices were twice as likely to snack as compared to those with less healthy eating habits.  All statistics aside, this means that snacking done the right way can be a wonderful tool for making lasting improvements in your diet and health.  Being prepared with healthy options when a snack attack arises will help prevent mindlessly reaching for the candy jar, downing a pint of ice cream, stopping at the vending machine, or overeating at mealtime.  It will curb cravings, give your mind and body the energy to keep going all day, and help you make better choices all day long.  

Here are a few tips to help satisfy your between-meal hunger and make healthy snacking a way of life:

1.  Rid your pantry of tempting, processed snacks.  Avoid 100 calorie packs or packaged snacks high in added sugar.  These are not satisfying and may leave you just wanting more.  Leave healthy options in a convenient location and within reach.

2.  Get creative because your options are endless.  Yay, freedom!  Here are a few rules of thumb to help you make a healthy snack:
  • The more protein, fiber, and fat (no trans fats, please) your snack has, the longer you will stay full.  Choose items that you enjoy and are made with real food.
  • Include 2 different food groups in your snack.
  • Keep your snack around 200 calories.
  • Always keep it interesting with a wide variety of snacks and always try fun, fresh ideas every once in a while.
3.  Before you go to the grocery store, plan what snacks you are going to want.  Having a plan at the grocery store will help you stay on track and deny the tempting plethora of (not so healthful) snack options available to us.

4.  If you know you are going to be busy, prepare your snacks ahead of time.  Always keep healthy, pre-prepared snacks readily available and easy to eat.  This way you can easily slip something into your purse, briefcase, or lunchbox in the morning.  On the same note, having snacks divided out ahead of time will help you control the amount you eat so you don’t mindlessly eat more that you need or are hungry for.
5.  Listen to your body.  Be sure you are staying hydrated throughout the day so you don’t mistake thirst for hunger and then snack when you’re not really hungry.  Also, never deny the fact that you are hungry.  If you need 2 mid-morning snacks, perfect.  If you find that you are fine in the morning but need a snack right after work, go for it.  If you need small snacks in the morning, after lunch, and after work, more power to ya!  Don’t limit yourself to what you think you should be doing.  Go with what your body is telling you.
6.  While snacking, focus on eating and enjoy it.  Try not to multitask while you eat because you may consume more if you’re not thinking about what you’re eating.

7.  Snacking isn’t for everyone.  For some people, snacking can lend itself to grazing and overeating.  If you struggle with this, pay special attention to tip #2 above.
By now you’ve got to be craving some ideas for delicious, healthy snacks.  Wait no more!

Here are some of my favorites to help get you started:

Handful of dried fruit and nuts
Half an avocado with sea salt
Air popped popcorn and Parmesan cheese
Hard boiled eggs
Apple slices and almond or peanut butter
Dark chocolate square and peanut butter

Smoothie made with banana, strawberries, almond milk, and oats

Guest blog by Katie!

Katie is a former intern at Grass Roots Nutrition and a recent graduate of Miami University with degrees in nutrition and zoology.  She  is attending the dietetic internship program at Bradley University in order to become a registered dietitian.  She loves running, traveling, and cooking healthy recipes with friends and family.  Her favorite foods are dark chocolate and cheese!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Staycation: the small business owner's key to work life balance

"How do you manage everything and still stay sane?" Being a small business owner is full of challenges and rewards. One key to happiness and sanity? Taking regular breaks!

#Staycation was wonderful!!
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One of my dearest friends manages our fabulous clothing boutique in town, BlueTique Cheap Chic. She and I have both dealt with the incredible variety of challenges and joys that come with small business management.

One challenge is feeling like you're never EVER going to be done with everything, or even one page of your sprawling to-do list. Funds are likely tight, and while a flight to somewhere warm sounds wonderful, it isn't likely realistic.


One year ago, Ashley and I have instituted a strict and wonderful schedule of one staycation day per quarter. We pick a week day, mark our calendars and protect it from any other appointment or activity with the diligence of a mama bear. There are usually many explanation points in the shared google event. We look forward to it for weeks, and have many excited conversations to plan the menu, the drinks and spa activities, movies, shows and outfits.

Over the summer staycation, we invited Rachel, owner of Lane and Kate to join the fun, on a provisional basis. She brought fun spa stuff, braided our hair added her wild and wonderful dancing to the mix. She is invited for life!

On our most recent staycation, the three of us began with a slumber party at Ashley's new house. We drank spiced rum in hot cider, munched on popcorn and gabbed on the couch.

Usually we have an early morning hike; we would hate to miss a minute of our precious staycation day! This time, we were all so exhausted (new house, remodel at the store and rebrand, extensive travel, etc)  that we actually slept in. We had our first breakfast, Rachel braided our hair, enjoyed a later morning hike (watch out for those electric fences...), and spend the rest of the day lounging about. We discovered a new show, Call the Midwife, took turns soaking our feet in the heated spa and using the shoulder massager.

It is so good to recharge.

Staycation Menu:

First Breakfast
  • Coffee
  • Peanut butter sandwiches and honey crisp apples
Second breakfast
  • Crepes with butternut squash, goat cheese and maple syrup
  • More coffee
  • Hot tea
  • Fruit cake from my recent trip to Vermont
  • Black bean and pumpkin soup
  • Crusty bread and sharp cheddar cheese
  • Dates stuffed with marscapone cheese and maple syrup (I forgot the pumpkin! Eek!)
Alllllll day long
  • Hot cider and spiced rum

Don't forget: you're the boss! You don't have to ask anyone else to take a day off. While there are many challenges that small business owners encounter, there are some rather special perks too - take full advantage of them and enjoy a much deserved day off!

Next staycation: chocolate themed! Stay tuned...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Guest Post: 3 Tips and a recipe for healthy snacking on campus!

As a college junior, I know firsthand how difficult it can be not only to find time to eat on busy days, but to find healthy and delicious options to choose from on campus. Between classes, studying, sports, work, club meetings, and other activities, eating often becomes less of a priority. Because food fuels our bodies and minds, having healthy snacks is incredibly important, especially for college students! In contrast, sometimes food on campus is too available, and frequently very tempting (i.e. the bakery at the on campus coffee shop).

In order to help understand the value of healthy snacks, I have put together a list of tips and tricks for beating the ever-daunting “Freshman 15” while still finding time to enjoy the food college dining services have to offer.

Tip #1:  Eat a Good Breakfast!
Often, classes beginning early in the morning do not allow much time for a big breakfast. By making something like oatmeal while still in your dorm room, you can stay fuller longer and remain alert in class. Add a chopped apple, nuts, and some cinnamon to really pump up the taste!

Tip #2: Plan Meals Based on Your Class Schedule
At the beginning of each semester, take a look at your upcoming class schedule and decide when and where you will eat your meals. This way, you will have a plan and be less tempted to eat something that may not be the healthiest option.

Tip #3: Pack Healthy Snacks for Long Days
College schedules can be crazy, and the days can get long. By packing healthy, nutrition rich foods such as a homemade trail mix or an apple with a small container of peanut butter, you will not have to worry if you don’t have time to grab lunch, and you won’t go hungry on those long day

Healthy Trail Mix On-The-Go!

·        ¾ cup Cheerios Cereal
·        ¼ cup dried Cranberries
·        ¼ cup almonds or peanuts
·        ¼ cup sunflower kernels

 Combine ingredients in a sandwich size Ziploc bag and enjoy!

For planning purposes, make multiple bags over the weekend and store in the refrigerator to grab on the way to class or work!

Guest post by Kristin!
Kristin is a junior Nutrition and Dietetics major at Miami University. This year, Kristin is interning with Grass Roots Nutrition and will be a co-host of the 21-Day Real Food Challenge. In her free time, she loves to run and figure skate. Her favorite fruit is pineapple, and she loves to try new recipes, especially ones that include pumpkin in the fall!     
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