Friday, January 20, 2012

Healthy No-Prep Food Choices

Celebrities have diva food requests on their contract riders.  Jordin Sparks requires kosher dill pickles, baby carrots, Clif bars, and instant oatmeal.  Britany Spears needs Fruit Loops and Pop Tarts when touring.  Why can't we have our own at-home diva food list?   Knowing what healthy foods you like and having them on hand will help ally a healthy eating resolution. 

I may not be a platinum recording artist, but I live a busy life bustling between two jobs and working on my MBA.  For me, the challenge is finding something that is requires little-to-no prep time, nutritious, and satiating.  I also like a variety of choices so I can satisfy my savory, salty, or sweet tooth, and a variety of textures.

Here is my standard, must-have on hand food list.  Most of these items can be made in less than two minutes or are already prepared.  These make a no-excuse healthy food environment in my home. 

1. Pre-cut, washed lettuce, cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese, and ranch.  I like Dole's salad mixes.  To be economical, I usually mix one of the "just lettuce" blends with a "fancy" blend.  Use Dole's Perfect Salad Guide to help you decide which blend will best suit your taste buds.  Rinse 5 cherry tomatoes and slice in half.  Add a small sprinkle of shredded cheese.  Go without croutons and don't overdo the salad dressing.  I prefer the regular salad dressings, rather than the low-fat versions that tend to have higher sugar content. For a heartier salad, I'll toss on some sliced chicken breast. 

2.  String cheese or Colby cheese.  The action of peeling the string cheese off in strings slows down the eating process making me feel like I have ate more that I actually have.  I also love the quick portability of string cheese when I need a snack-on-the-go.  Cottage cheese and crackers are another go-to favorite.


3.  Microwavable frozen vegetables.  I like having frozen veggies that I can put in the microwave, add a little butter, and enjoy until my heart is content.  This is a zero-guilt food.  My favorites are Green Giant's cut green beans, broccoli, and mixed vegetables.  I try to avoid canned vegetables for the higher levels of BPA found in individuals who consume canned products.  Fresh is best, but when pressed for time, these microwavable steamers are a smart option.

4.  Better Oats instant oatmeal.  These come a wide variety of flavors including: cinnamon roll, maple, peach, maple streusel, and my favorite apples and cinnamon.  I like these because they are pre-portioned and give me a full feeling.  Many of these have heart healthy flax seed, and are loaded with omega-3's, fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and E.  These take a quick 90 to 120 seconds to microwave.


5.  Chobani and Uncle Sam.  I am in total love with Chobani's Greek yogurt.  There is a wide variety of flavors with my favorites including: vanilla, strawberry banana, peach, and mango.  And, Chobani is a corporation with social values.  10% of their profits are donated to organizations around the world.  To learn more about what makes Greek yogurt so fabulous, click here and for Chobani coupons, click here.  When I am wanting a full feeling, I mix Uncle Sam cereal half and half with Greek yogurt for a satisfying breakfast or lunch.

6.  Almonds, pecans, and cashews.  These are my go-to snack.  I keep them at both of my jobs and at home.  My favorite almonds are natural and raw.  My favorite cashews are Planter's Deluxe Whole Cashews.  Nuts are loaded with healthy Omegas, good fats, and the Mayo Clinic claims they are great for the heart.  They also have protein which helps satisfy hunger longer than carbohydrates.

7.  ThinkThin bars. These bars are either low sugar or no sugar and pack a protein punch. This low sugar concept not only is great for weight control, but also is a healthy lifestyle for my PCOS diagnosis.  Coupons can be found here.

8.  Apples. Raw, applesauce, or apple chips are all delicious treats depending on the texture I'm looking for.  I am in absolute love with Yogavive's crispy Strawberry apple chips.  My favorite raw apples are the Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious.

9.  Chocolate.  Yes, I consider dark chocolate a health food!  I hide 2 bars of Green &Black's white chocolate and 85% dark chocolate in my home office desk.  When I get an uncontrollable sweet tooth I break off two or three bars off and satisfy the sweet craving.  I choose Green & Black or Divine because of their organic and fair trade sourcing.

So there it is.  My healthy no-prep food diva list.  What is on yours?