Happy Monday! So I thought I would start the week off on a bit of a healthy note... Many of you have asked me about my diet, so I thought I would share a little more about it today. Eating healthy 90% of the time became a necessity for me when I was officially diagnosed with chronic migraines a few years ago. I've had migraines for 18 years, but not chronically until then. Right after I was diagnosed, I took a hard look at my diet and made it a point to eliminate pretty much anything that was processed or made with MSG or artificial sweeteners - all things that are triggers for my migraines. That exercise pretty much wiped out every snack I had in my pantry! Snacking is big for me because getting the least bit hungry and staying hungry for more than 30 minutes or so is also trigger for a migraine. Therefore, I've always got a little snack in my purse and a stash at work full of simple, yet all-natural snacks just in case hunger strikes. Here are a few things I always have... Oh and I'm happy to report that these changes in my diet have significantly helped reduce my migraines!! :)
Plain Greek Yogurt w/ Vanilla Extract, Honey, Strawberries, and Chia Seeds - Greek yogurt is full of protein, which means it fills me up quite quickly - and I love that. Some yogurt is also full of artificial sweeteners and other fake stuff, so I like to buy plain, real Greek yogurt and dress it up myself. This is my favorite yogurt, but any natural plain Greek yogurt works. I add a splash of good quality vanilla extract, honey, organic strawberries (totally worth the extra cost because they taste 100% better than the non-organic strawberries), and a tablespoon of chia seeds. Chia seeds are a super easy way to get a huge dose of nutrition in one sitting. They are tiny little black flavorless seeds that are full of fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. I add them to salads and smoothies in addition to yogurt.
Trail Mix - Crunchy things help me think better and relieve stress for me, so I always keep something crunchy around. My favorite crunchy snack is trail mix. This particular trail mix is a pre-mixed savory and sweet antioxidant energy trail mix I buy at Whole Foods that includes raw walnuts, raw almonds, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, raisins, raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and gogi berries. I try to stay away from salted trail mix to avoid the extra sodium. A little of this trail mix goes a long way and is super portable, so this is the one thing that I always have in my purse as well as in my office drawer.
Hummus & Carrots - I only eat meat a few times a week - if that, so I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate protein in my diet. Hummus is something that I recently starting eating regularly and I LOVE IT! Hummus is made of chickpeas, which are full of protein. It's hard to mess up hummus, so I buy this roasted red pepper hummus right from the grocery store. Even though hummus is good, it can be high in calories. To control my portions, I put a few tablespoons of it in a container along with a few carrot sticks. Sometimes I use the Food Should Taste Good Multigrain chips/crackers (that I mentioned here) as a dipping agent. Either way, the hummus is completely satisfying...
Peanut Butter & Apple Wedges- I LOVE peanut butter, so apple wedges dipped in peanut butter are one of my favorite snacks. Peanut butter is also high in protein, so it's a snack that I have often. I always use an all-natural peanut chunky peanut butter. This brand is my favorite. The only ingredients are peanuts and very small amount of salt. That is the way it should be! If I have that snack at work, I cut up the apple wedges, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over them (to keep them from turning brown) and store them in a sandwich bag in the refrigerator. Those with a tablespoon or two of peanut butter always hits the spot.
Fresh Fruit - Fresh fruit is thought of by some as a boring snack, but they are really one of my favorite snacks. I think the key to making fresh fruit fun is finding different ways to eat them. I love bananas and how fast they fill you up, so I have one - sometimes two - every day. Sometimes I eat them plain, but I like them the most with peanut butter on whole wheat toast, mixed in my yogurt or homemade oatmeal, and in my daily breakfast smoothie. I do the same with apples...
Dark Chocolate - As much as I've talked about the all-natural stuff, the one thing I don't deprive myself of is chocolate. Yes, chocolate is a migraine trigger. For me however, I have learned that I can have it - just not in large doses. So when I need a little hit of chocolate (which is pretty much daily), I have a piece or two of that Dove Dark Chocolate and it completely eases my craving. I keep a stash of these in my desk drawer and pantry BEHIND my trail mix. Placing it there makes me think of a slightly healthier option before reaching for the chocolate. It doesn't always work, but sometimes it does... :)
What are your favorite healthy snacks??
Images by me