Thursday, July 9, 2009

Healthy Snacking The Foster Way

For the past few weeks my routines have changed as often as New England weather. My lovely wife and I recently moved from our house in the valley to a home in the foothills. While this move has been well worth the time and effort moves like these entail, the aftereffects are often discombobulating. Adding to the chaos, my main source of income—AKA: my day job—has also tossed some new wrinkles my way.

For the past decade, I have worked at home as a telecommuter. I have enjoyed the freedom and less pressurized working environment that telecommuting offers, as well as the convenience of having my own kitchen (and bathroom) only a room or so away. As a self-professed health nut, I take my eating seriously, and my snacking even more so. In fact, I don’t consider myself a snacker at all, opting instead to call my style of eating several small, healthy meals throughout the day as, for lack of a better phrase, The Foster Way. I don’t profess that I invented this healthier way of consumption; it has been well documented by nutritionists and those in the know that to maintain your weight and encourage weight loss, it is better to eat several small meals throughout the day rather than three big ones.

But getting back to the recent changes in my life and habits. On top of moving and attempting to establish a new workplace, home, lifestyle, and routine, I now also find myself commuting into the office several days a week. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just another new change I need to embrace and deal with. The good news is I am actually enjoying this change in routines, but I have also noticed a few things while away from the comforts of home and my telecommuting life and having been dropped into the middle of office life.

PEOPLE EAT! ALL DAY!

Now, again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing if what they are eating is healthy. Remember The Foster Way. It’s okay to eat every hour or so as long as the portions are small, you only eat until you start to feel full, and what you are eating is high in fiber and lots of other good stuff. Sadly, this if far from the case.

One of the motivating factors of my starting this blog and my video site, livelife365.com, was to share my weight loss and healthy lifestyle successes with as many people as possible. Why? Because I know the statistics, read the newspapers and websites, watch the news, and have seen firsthand that there is an epidemic of obesity and weight problems troubling this country and the world. Sitting amongst my working brethren, I can now add that excessive snacking is a major offender. But help is on the way!

HEALTHY SNACKING THE FOSTER WAY



1. EAT IT RAW

If you are going to snack, or graze all day, then instead of reaching for a handful of candy or another slice of that breakfast cake try a carrot stick or broccoli spear. Now I understand the desire to then dip that healthy sliver of veggie into some fattening dressing, like ranch, but try to resist. Instead, eat an apple. Or banana. Or orange or peach or nectarine or any of the dozens of nutritious raw options available. I usually brown bag a banana and apple and some cherries just about everyday. Add to that some almonds or other nut choice, and you’re well on your way to healthier snacking.

2. READ THE LABELS

If the snack you’re choosing has more than a handful of ingredients listed on the packaging, then it’s probably not good for you. If many of those ingredients are big words that are impossible to pronounce, then it is most definitely not a healthy option. Processed foods, and snacks especially, are loaded with excessive amounts of sodium, saturated and trans fats, sugars and carbs, but more importantly, calories. Empty calories. If you are trying to lose weight, or just trying not to gain, then you need to limit your caloric intake. And if you find yourself in an office setting where you feel the urge to snack, then you will be battling a constant weight struggle if you consume empty calories: i.e. processed foods that have little nutritional value. The challenge is avoiding that giant bag of tortilla chips and salsa that one of your kind coworkers brought in to share, or those homemade brownies. Dive in and eat…but only if you want to gain unhealthy weight.

3. BRING YOUR OWN

What works for me is raiding my fridge and cupboard and brown-bagging it. When I am (forced to be) in the office, my reusable, recycled bag is never far from reach. In it I have fresh fruit and other healthy snacks like soy protein bars or almonds or even a almond butter or peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread (a surprisingly healthy food choice, by the way). While others munch on Sally’s homemade breakfast cake throughout the day, I pop a few cherries into my mouth and keep right up with them, only guilt-free and happily healthy.

4. GET UP AND GO!

Exercise cures a lot of what ails you. When working in an office, or engaging in any other sedentary-like vocation, the opportunity to move around is sometimes limited. If not limited, the desire to move as little as possible versus getting that blood moving through you seems like the only option. I sit in front of a computer all day and often most of the night, but I get up and move around all the time. I try to get up at least 3-5 times an hour, if only to stretch my legs on a short jaunt to the kitchen for some green tea or almonds. I also take a walk just about every day, usually for at least thirty minutes. While at the office, I walked the perimeter of the building I work at during every break and lunch. Ten minutes here and there adds up—so do those calories burned. Remember: burn more calories than you ingest and you WILL LOSE WEIGHT!

5. JUST SAY NO

Nobody ever said you HAD to eat those brownies just because Sally stayed up half the previous night baking. In the perfect world, or at least the Foster World, all snacks would be good for you, and you could cram as many of them into your mouth as you wanted without suffering any adverse consequences. Alas, the Foster World does not exist (yet!), and constant consumption of unhealthy foods will cause all sorts of health problems. One solution is to replace that deli platter or nachos and salsa with something healthier—veggie platter, whole grain breads, vegan or low-calorie cookies, and fruit bowls. A huge bowl of fresh cherries is a delicious option to Sally’s brownies any day.

Hey, I love to snack as much as the next person. As I stated earlier, I eat several small meals throughout the day, opting to consume my daily caloric intake this way rather than eating three larger meals with snacks in between. The thing that keeps me happy, healthy, in shape, and living life 365 is following The Foster Way of Snacking. You should to…but only if you want to lose weight and live a happier, healthier life.


Until next time…


peace,

Mike

In case you need a refresher on how to eat a few healthy foods:



19 comments:

barb said...

Great advice, Mike. I use to do these very things. I ate healthy and exercised. Then, I didn't anymore and gained lots of weight. Having my parents move in with me 3 and a half years ago and my mother doing all the cooking sure has not helped. They are up north at my sister's for the summer, so this is an excellent opportunity for me to go back to following these simple guidelines. Wish me luck!

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

I can't eat a banana that way because I don't like the feel of them. I like to eat it like a monkey, holding it by the peel so my fingers don't get yucky!

Brian Kinney said...

Working at home is always a great thing to do. You don't have tight schedule. You don't need to stress yourself for a big head boss. You don't need to become ass kisser for a promotion and so many other stressful things to be listed. It will take 1001 nights :)

I always want to live somewhere peace where every morning I can hear birds chirping and smell the fresh dew :)

Very refreshing!

redkathy said...

Hey Mike, glad the move turned out well. being hypoglycemic, My sister eats small meals throughout the day. She has battled weight problems and this eating style along with exercise really did help her loose it and keep it off! As for your co-workers, maybe your style will rub off on them. Nothing works better than seeing the "good" first hand!

Anna said...

As always, great advice! I must admit that I have been better about watching what I eat and exercising and you have been an inspiration! Thanks Mike!!

betchai said...

you have wonderful healthy tips, i sometimes can't resist to have a cookie or a slice of cake :( but i do try not to if i can :) for raw, i think i would prefer fruits, tomatoes, carrots and celery. somehow, can't eat a raw broccoli, even with dip and i do not like dips. but i can eat lots of broccoli when it is steamed.

Rod said...

Great advice Mike. When its your turn to bring in snacks for the office a great way to go would be getting one of those veggie/fruit platters from Costco. They are simple, cheap and tasty.

kRiZ cPEc said...

ah...I'd say normal people eat from time to time, only those who are unusually hungry and feel like to have something to chew would eat all day, lol.
Anyway, off to have an orple!

Robin said...

Hi there Mike - you certainly are going all the way. I must admit I still snack here and there on less-than-nutritious foods, while my meals are pretty good.
Cheers - Robin

Mama Zen said...

Excellent, excellent advice!

Jannie Funster said...

You're the 3rd person in a week to recommend green tea. I'm going to check it out finally.

I'm a bit of a grazer too, tho I do love my meat.

Cool beans!

Popped over here from Let's Live Forever.

Mike Foster said...

barb: i wish you luck and if you need any help i got a bunch a vids that may assist ya

karen: i wash my hands immediately after banana eating...but i like monkeys

brian: there are benefits when working at home, that's for sure...

redkathy: it has worked well for me over the years and i agree, observing exemplars is worth ten books reading about it...

anna: thanks, good luck with your fitness...

betchai: hey, i just ate some ice cream...gotta mix it up from time to time, just not all the time...

rod: that's great advice: give them some snacks but the foster kind of snacks...

kriz: that makes sense but, alas, normal is not as normal these days...

robin: we're only human and, as i've said, it's okay to snack and make mistakes, as long as you learn from them...

mama zen: gracias...

jannie: check out the green tea--here's a vid that may help: Drink Green Tea Every Day


peace,

mike

Barry said...

Sage advise Mike. And eating habit I will soon be forced to emulate. I'm assuming you're talkng about real peanaut butter, not the peanut flavoured icing sugar Kraft makes?

suZen said...

You are 100% right - no make that 200%. Let's make it LAW!

Sagan said...

Very good ideas. I spend a huge amount of time each night preparing my food for the next day, but its worth it!

Mike Foster said...

barry: but of course--the best bet when buying peanut (or almond) butter is to have only nuts on the ingredients...nothing else, especially added sodium or sugars...thanks for dropping by...

suzen: i'm composing a letter to my congressman as we speak...

sagan: five minutes is all it sometimes takes for a healthier lifestyle...


peace,

mike

Dwacon® said...

Great advice.

I take fruits and nuts with me to work to graze on.

But... I AIN'T EATING NO ARTICHOKE!

It might choke Artie, but it won't choke me !!!!

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Bryan said...

That was so sweet and thoughtful Mike, bravo! It is really an essential issue to understand for those who are carrying too much weight, yet it continuely gets overlooked as people are pushed towards fruit, vegetables and especially starchy carbohydrates by the national guidance system.