One of the initial steps in terms of getting your nutrition on track is meal preparation and portion control. Portion control can really make or break you; and for most of us, even when we think we are eating the proper amount of food, it might not always be the case.
This sort of portion distortion isn’t our fault- with every passing year, plates become larger and normal portions start to double in size. This makes it much more difficult to eyeball a proper serving size when you sit down for a meal or snack.
Understanding portion control is crucial because overeating can mess with blood sugar control, lead to weight gain, and cause a slew of other health problems. Too much carbohydrate, protein, or fat can cause a biological "traffic jam" in the body, and excess of these macronutrients will get stored as fat. Just cutting back your portion sizes by a little can play a tremendous role in helping you manage your weight and transform your health.
So... how does this deal with trail mix?
In my work with patients and clients, I find that most people are okay with portion control during mealtimes, but completely forget about portion control when snacking! Those sneaky snacks can make a HUGE difference in terms of your calories in/calories out ratio. Before digging your hand into the bag of chips, take a serving and actually put it on a plate! It's important to visualize what you are eating, instead of eating from an endless bag of chips.
Let's take a look at trail mix, one of my favorite go-to snacks. Most trail mixes are full of multiple servings of nuts and sugary additives. Although nuts are considered a "healthy fat," they can be very easy to overeat. Too much of any food, healthy or not, is never a good thing.
For fewer calories, you can bulk up your trail mix by starting with a light, unsalted popcorn as the base. Then, practice portion control by adding 3 tbsp. of your favorite unsalted nuts, 2 tbsp. of dried fruit, and 1 tbsp. dark chocolate chips. This is my favorite combination, and make for the perfect snack. Make a few and pack them in individual Ziploc bags- grab and go for your week ahead!
Stef's Homemade Trail Mix
1 Cup Plain Popcorn (such as Plain SkinnyPop)
1 Tbsp. Dark Chocolate Chips
1 Tbsp. Unsalted Almonds
1 Tbsp. Unsalted Walnuts
1 Tbsp. Unsalted Sunflower Seeds
2 Tbsp. Dried Cranberries or Raisins
Combine all ingredients and place in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
Per serving (serves 1): 173 calories, 11g fat, 15g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 5g protein
Not sure what to get your love for Valentine's Day tomorrow? Check out my Anton Newspapers article for some healthy V-Day gift inspo!