When I first started this food plan I was just doing it to deal with diabetes. As my husband, Jim, and I did more research, however, and saw such dramatic and rapid results for me, we realized that this kind of lifestyle change would both honor God and benefit our whole family. We learned about case after case of people with serious illness (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, auto-immune diseases, etc) who were healed by making similar changes.
God did not intend for us to fill up on junk, then drag around without energy or joy. Think about the way Daniel and his friends honored God by not defiling their bodies with the king’s food (Daniel 1), and think about how much God blessed them! They lived on a diet of vegetables, and became the healthiest of all the king’s finest men! Here’s a quick note on vegan diets…if you decide to cut out all meat/animal protein from your diet it is very important to know how to do it safely. Veggies contain lots of protein, but it’s not complete, like what you find in animals. Variety is crucial to a healthy diet without meat, and you may need to work with a nutritionist to make sure you have enough of the right protein. There are also a few other nutrients, like vitamin B12 and iodine, that are harder to find in veggies. I choose to eat mostly vegetables, but I do have a small amount of meat and milk products. So, all this is to say that we decided to make significant changes in the way we feed Jim and our children, as well. Knowing what we now know, how could we not!
A friend asked me today for quick, healthy snack ideas for on the go moms. The above picture is what I found in our pantry for healthy, quick snacks. Here’s a quick list, including some things that are not pictured:
- nuts (raw if possible)
- yogurt (but see the next paragraph about sugar)
- Pirate’s Booty
- Nut Thins
- edamame (preferably unsalted)
- brown rice cakes
- veggies that you sliced ahead of time and have ready to go (figure out which ones your kids like and have those available as much as possible…mine like cucumbers, carrots, and celery)
- raw almond butter for dipping and spreading
- apple sauce (no sugar or chemicals added)
- granola bars (see below for tips on how to choose)
- home made popcorn with salt and coconut oil (make ahead and keep it in a bag)
- fruit (my kids love frozen grapes!)
- organic. low fat corn chips, especially if they have things like flax seeds in them
It is important to find food that is as unprocessed and raw as possible (some foods really do need to be cooked in order to rid them of harmful chemicals, so do research if you’re trying something new). When I am looking at a pre-packaged snack option in the store I read the list of ingredients and try to find things that include whole foods, and that only have ingredients that I recognize as being FOOD! I also look at the sugar content, as well as the balance between fat, protein, and sugars. You want to find things without hydrogenated oils, and you want the amount of protein to be close to the amount of sugar. Protein and a little fat will help slow down the sugar as it enters your bloodstream.
Most processed foods have a ton of sugar. Seriously, I was looking at one of our small yogurt containers and it has 25 grams for that tiny amount of yogurt!!! What!? Certainly all of the health benefits of the probiotics are undone by the sugar. Among other things, probiotics help balance overgrowth of yeast in the gut. Yeast eats SUGAR!!! My new trick to make the yogurt a bit healthier is to buy it with fruit on the bottom. I then dip my spoon in and scoop out some of the sugary “fruit” on the bottom before giving it to my child. My daughter, Emily, has a hard time with too much milk, so I buy her yogurt made with coconut milk. She loves it!!!
I’m sure there are other brands of crackers and chips that are decent options, so go to Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, or even the health food section of a normal grocery store and start reading labels!
You may be concerned about the cost. For us the cost of these kinds of snacks is offset a bit by the lower amount of meat we’re eating. Also, vegetables are fairly inexpensive, so you may be spending more to buy healthier pre-packaged/processed foods, but hopefully your overall expense won’t be too bad.
In a separate blog I will discuss some good snack options that take a while for you to prep (exp. healthy, tasty chocolate muffins), but are quick and easy once they’re done.