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I have to keep it real with ya’ll. This summer has been the summer of junk. Junk food. It’s been everywhere. And I’ve been partaking.
Ice cream at night ? Sure! Cookouts with beer and hot dogs? Why not? Fast food for lunch? Frequently.
You name it, I ate it 🙁 I say that with a laugh because this summer was great. We played, had fun and just enjoyed every minute.
But lawd help my waistline!
When your nutrition is off kilter, everything slows down. I find myself tiring very easily and more prone to yell at the kiddos when I am not eating well and exercising.
So when school started back, I vowed for us to get back into somewhat of better eating habits. My goal for our family is to eat and live a semi-healthy life with everything in moderation. We don’t follow a “clean” or “paleo” diet or any other strict regimen, but we do try to squeeze in as many fruits and veggies as we can.
IF you feel like you are in a similar boat or even just curious as to how I will get my eating back on track, read on………
We like to keep breakfast simple. Really. Oatmeal, a smoothie, or a breakfast bar are normally what we grab. Getting up early for school is SOOOOOO hard for all of us. (Not my hubs, he gets up with the chickens. 🙂 But for me and the boys, we struggle to get out of bed and get to school on time, so breakfast has to be something quick.
Being a dietitian, I know breakfast is important. Here are some options for you guys that aren’t big breakfast eaters like two of my boys.
- overnight oats
- eggs on toast
- whole grain cereal with skim milk
- whole grain waffles
- fruit smoothies
- yogurt and healthy muffin (make with applesauce, pumpkin, whole grain flour to be healthier)
- yogurt, granola, and fruit
- Homemade pancakes (pre-frozen for quick grab!)
That being said, snacks are kind of big deal to me. I LOVE to snack, and when I eat healthy snacks, my blood sugar stays much more level. When I don’t, let’s just say that the candy bar commercial where the people turn into monsters isn’t far fetched for me. Hangry is the word.
Here are a few of my favorite snacks to keep the diet on track.
- Dark chocolate and Sea Salt Kind Bars (OHHHHH these are good. Like candy bars without the guilt!)
- Peanut butter on unsalted rice cakes with banana slices
- cheddar cheese
- apple slices and peanut butter (buy prepackaged apple slices if you are lazy about cutting fruit like me!)
- sliced strawberries/blueberries and canned mandarin oranges (cut up and make a fruit salad)
- Justin’s almond butter packs
- hard-boiled egg
- sliced watermelon
- skinny pop bagged popcorn
- turkey slices and cheddar cheese
- cucumbers and ranch dip
- cottage cheese and fruit
- guacamole and veggie chips
- tuna salad on crackers
- grapes and walnuts
- whole grain waffle topped with almond butter
- fresh pineapple chunks
- chicken salad on cucumber slices
- sliced tomato with mozzarella
- peanut butter and honey roll ups
- Healthy Oat Cookies– haven’t tried these yet, but they LOOK AMAZING!
- Bean Dip with Pita Chips
- hummus and pretzels
You should be able to find a few favorites from that list!
Midday meals can make or break your healthy eating plan if you fail to plan! Lunch with co-workers can be a calorie disaster if you are out and choose an appetizer, meal and dessert. Even just one single entrée can wreck your healthy eating plans. Many restaurants now have healthier choice menus, but even ones that don’t are completely off-limits. When lunch out can’t be avoided,( and really-who wants to avoid it all the time?? Hello-it’s nice to have a break in our work day!) doing some of these can help:
- Ask for your food to be cooked without added butter, creamy sauces, etc.
- Opt for a salad without all the cheese, croutons, heavy dressing.
- Skip the bread basket, appetizer, and dessert.
- Drink water or unsweetened tea.
- Choose a lean meat and veggie entrée with a side salad. Great option that most restaurants all have!
- Box half of your entrée up when they bring it. Most restaurants portions are triple what we should eat.
- Chug water before you eat. This does actually help fill your belly up so you won’t eat as much.
- Start with a broth based hot soup. This works the same was as the water. It fills your belly so you tend to eat less.
Lunch From Home
Planning is the key here. Use Sunday as your prep day and cut, prep, package things up at least for the first 3 days of the week. If you like to take leftovers to work, then preparing as much as you can on Sunday will help also. I am OBSESSED with this post from ziploc about making a week’s worth of lunches in one hour. It gives you a recipe list, detailed instructions, and voila`, there are your lunches. Easy, peasy.
Fast Food Lunch
Ok, so sometimes this is just what it is. We find ourselves in the drive-thru. Before you go ahead and order the #8 combo with fries and a large coke, remember-there are better options. Most fast food restaurants have salads. McDonald’s Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad and dressing is one of my faves. Wendy’s also has a mediterranean salad now with hummus and feta cheese. There ARE better options. I know that fast food is not healthy, but in real life, people eat fast food.
I am a dietitian, and I eat fast food. Life is busy. I get it. If you’re driving, and can’t eat a salad, choose a grilled chicken wrap or the smallest kid’s meal you can. Choose the apple slices or yogurt over fries. Just do the best you can and try harder at the next meal! Giving yourself grace when you make poor food choices is a HUGE part of a healthy lifestyle!
Giving yourself grace when you make poor food choices is a HUGE part of a healthy lifestyle. Click To Tweet
Options for Supper
Supper, dinner…What do ya’ll call it? I call it both, in the south I guess we just interchange it. 🙂 Whatever it is, it’s the meal at the end of the day. The most hectic time of the day, usually….
For supper/dinner, back to school can be CRAZY in the afternoons! It seems that we find ourselves being more busy in the after school hours than during the day. My post last week on meal planning walks you through how to get back on track with meal planning now that the kids are back in school. Here are a few other options that I LOVE to rely on for help during this crazy season!
$5Meal Plan is a service that plans out your meals, and provides a grocery list for you with all the ingredients that you need. It is truly a great service. They offer different menus for different diets your family may follow. The thing I love most about this service is their awesome customer service and extras they give with your membership.
The extras include coupons, printables, and even snack or lunch options. They offer a sample menu here if you are curious about what the meals might look like. Another great feature is that they offer a 14 day trial for free. No strings attached. $5mealplan is a great option if you struggle with planning meals or over or under shopping.
When all else fails, we grab a rotisserie chicken and a bag of steamable veggies and call it a day. What are your favorite tips to keep your diet on track? I’d love to hear them!
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