This is in no way a paid advertisement just some free unsolicited advice! ;)
I've always been a big granola bar fan. I love that you can throw them in your purse, eat them on the run, and because I'm not a big breakfast eater, they are the perfect size. However, granola bars can be a "diet" killer. Majority of them are full of sugar, fat, calories, and additives. LARABAR's are made with fruits and nuts. The sugar content may seem high but you have to remember that it's natural sugar from the fruit not refined sugar. They are full of protein and fiber as well which makes them a great breakfast on the run or a snack between meals. They come in a variety of flavors.
2. String Cheese
Low fat mozzarella sticks are full of calcium and have as much protein as an 8 oz glass of milk.
Each serving has 10 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein to help promote all-day energy. With less than 1 gram of sugar, you get to decide how sweet you want it.
Most cereal is full of sugar, additives, and fat that it's ridiculous. Even some of the so-called healthy cereals are the same way. I eat this cereal almost every morning with the addition of vanilla almond milk and a handful of dried cranberries.
4. Almond Milk
I use the vanilla flavored almond milk because I like it better. I am not a milk drinker so almond milk gives me the calcium that I need and it taste great! It does have a bit more sugar and calories than the original or unsweetened variety but I make allowances in my diet for it.
5. Greek Yogurt
I often use this brand of plain Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise on a sandwich or in place of sour cream. For Mexican dishes, I like to add a bit of lime juice to it when I use it instead of sour cream. You can also add honey and fruit or granola to it for a snack. I will admit that I don't care much for it with the honey added in but many people do. I prefer to buy the Dannon Greek Yogurt with blueberries on the bottom! Yum!
Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and can even lower blood pressure. However, that's not an excuse to binge on it. Eat a small amount every day. I have three dark chocolate Hershey Kisses every night before bed. It's a sweet treat at the end of the day, a reward for doing well, and I've found it helps keep my cravings for other unhealthy foods at bay.
7. Green Tea
Read a past blog post on the benefits of drinking green tea here and how to make the perfect cup here.
Oatmeal is a great breakfast choice. It's full of fiber and will fill you up! You can mix in different seasonings and toppings to make it new and exciting every day. My favorites add-ins are pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, honey, and dried cranberries.
Fruit is an important part of your healthy lifestyle. You should eat 3-5 servings of fruit a day depending on your caloric intake. My favorite fruits are pineapple, pink lady apples, red grapes, mangoes, and strawberries. It's best to buy fresh fruit that is in season. It will cost less and taste better. A tip for pineapple: let it ripen (you should be able to smell it when you sniff it) and then slice it up into wedges or rounds and grill it! It brings out the natural juices and makes it even more yummy.
Vegetables are another important part of your healthy lifestyle. You should eat 2-3 cups of vegetables a day. My favorites are baby carrots, celery, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. I love the convenience of baby carrots. I like to bring them home, rinse and drain them well, and put them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It makes it easy to take them out at lunch and they are a great alternative to eating chips, especially if you are like me and want something crunchy with your sandwich. They make a great snack too with some light ranch dressing or hummus.
Nuts are great for you and have a lot of essential fats and vitamins that your body needs. You should eat them in moderation and in raw form. My favorites are almonds, pecans, pistachios, cashews, and peanuts.
12. Popcorn Kernels
Popcorn is high in fiber, low in fat and calories, and naturally sugar and sodium free. It's when you buy "movie theater butter" popcorn or other buttery, salty, brands that makes it a terrible snack. But, I learned a new trick recently. All you need is some popcorn kernels, a brown paper lunch sack, and a microwave. Place a half a cup of kernels into the paper sack, fold the top over twice, place in the microwave, and nuke until there is time between kernels popping. You can then control the seasoning that goes on it, or use none at all.
It's important to make sure that the first ingredient listed on the bread says "whole wheat flour" or 100% whole wheat flour." If it claims to be whole wheat or whole grain bread but whole wheat flour isn't the main ingredient, your just getting bread made with refined white flour. You can read more about what you should look for in bread here. I like the Nature's Own 100% Whole Grain-Sugar Free bread.
Beans are great for you and they are cheap, especially if you buy dry beans. There are so many things you can do with beans too. Check out my recipes for Vegan Black Bean Soup and hummus.
Quinoa is similar to a grain like couscous but is a complete protein. It's very filling and versatile. You can use it like rice, eat your beans over it, put it in soups, add other ingredients to it. Quinoa has become a staple in our home. I cook it with reduced sodium chicken stock to make it more flavorful. One of our favorite ways to eat it is to add corn, black beans, and salsa to it! Just Google "quinoa" and you'll be amazed at all the recipes that come up!