Tips for Eating Low-Fat by Meggin McIntosh, PhD
Part of productivity is health and part of health is eating low-fat or non-fat foods. (At least this is true for most of us!) Since many of us snack our way through the day, it is worth knowing what we can have on hand that will serve us by filling us up, giving us energy, and not loading our poor bodies with fat.
Here are ten suggestions that I am following this year in my quest to lower my cholesterol, lower my blood sugar, and reduce my weight – without medication:
- Dried fruit including raisins, cherries, blueberries, and apricots. Dried fruit feels substantial enough as you’re eating it (and it is filling) so that you definitely feel like you’re snacking (and you are!) Plus, the fiber is good for you, too.
- Fresh fruit, including bananas, grapes, and apples. Yummy! Whatever is in season that you like, buy some and keep them on hand. Bananas are a good all-year, all-purpose food and you are smart to keep them handy.
- Graham crackers. I happen to love graham crackers – although I must say I really like them with peanut butter on them. I’ve had to break that habit since munching on daily doses of graham crackers and peanut butter was sending my fat intake through the roof each day. Have a box of graham crackers near your desk and “grab a graham” instead of a chocolate chip cookie or a brownie.
- Baked chips (with salsa). There are SO many good baked chips nowadays. And the salsa spices them up even more.
- Low fat yogurt. Although some of these can also be quite high in sugar, just find a brand you like and enjoy and stock up. As George Carlin (I think) said, “How are you supposed to know when yogurt has gone bad?” so you don’t have to worry that you won’t eat it before it does! HA!
- Low fat cottage cheese. This is an amazingly filling and good-for-you food. You can always add some fruit to it, if you like, but right out of the carton works for me!
- Low fat granola. Treat it like a snack. It is quite tasty and if you live somewhere that makes granola, extra yummy!
- Baked potato. Frankly, a baked potato is a meal, in my book. You can ruin this as part of your low-fat, high energy, smart eating by piling butter, sour cream, cheese, and bacon bits on it – so don’t do that! Just bake your potato (or microwave it) and add some low-fat butter substitute or other lite topping.
- Fresh vegetables, including asparagus, broccoli, squash, and tomatoes. The list can go on and on here. Whatever is in season (and in many parts of the country, you can get “in season” vegetables that are shipped in from another part of the world – in any season). If you like to buy locally, then just stay alert for what is available. You may also choose to grow your own, especially in the summer. That is REALLY the best and the healthiest. It can be only minutes from garden to table so you’re losing no nutrients. As long as you don’t pile a ton of butter, oil, or other fats on top of your vegetables, you are in good shape. Taking raw or cooked vegetables to work with you as a snack will make you the envy of your co-workers. And, they will wish that they were also getting healthier instead of getting more run down and out of shape.
- Pasta. Yum! Pasta is another one of the many foods that you might love that can be as tasty – or more tasty – by not loading it up with a bunch of heavy fats that you don’t really want. To tell the truth, plain pasta with nothing on it is good (especially when you are hungry!). Or you can add some fresh vegetables or a small amount of cheese or just some fresh-ground pepper and it tastes scrumptious. Pasta is very filling and so then you are not hungry and wondering about the next items you’re going to eat.
Essentially all of these are simple to prepare and simple to have on hand. Whenever I see some crazy list of foods or food combinations that I need to buy, I know it is not a plan I will be able to follow. Snacking at work can be one of our biggest downfalls for three reasons:
- We DON’T eat at all – and then because we’re starving, we eat half the house when we get home. That is never good.
- We don’t eat at all while we’re working and our blood sugar takes a dive, along with our mental capacity to think, problem-solve, write, teach, or whatever else we need to be doing. This is no good either!
- We eat goofy things because they are around. Pretty much if it comes out of a machine, it’s in the goofy category. Cheese crackers with peanut butter in them. Ugh, but they look tasty when you’re starving. Day-old muffins in the workroom that have hunks cut out of them. Lovely. If you’re scavenging, it’s not a good sign.
Use the ten suggestions from this week’s tips to eat smart, stay focused, and not turn into a scavenger. It’s all much more productive and infinitely more attractive.
“I make my own trail mix and keep a quart container of it in my office for mid-afternoon snacking. It is lower in fat (although there is some) than commercial. My favorite mixture is walnuts (or dry roasted almonds), pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries. This is filling and cuts hunger pangs for hours, plus it’s a good source of fiber and protein.
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