Of all the
reasons excuses I hear as to why people struggle to eat healthy foods on a consistent basis, "I don't have time" is the most common.
I've addressed the "excuse" thing in a previous post and strongly believe that 99% of us do have the time to eat healthy and exercise, it's just a matter of priorities.
As you already know, there is no chance you'll be able to get fit and stay fit if you aren't focusing on eating high quality foods and training hard, so I won't get into that right now.
Instead I'll be focusing on helping you "find" time in your day to eat the right foods. And one of the best ways to do that is not rearranging your schedule to allow you to eat every 3 hours, but rather using snack breaks wisely.
Few of us have the time (or patience) to eat 5-6 small meals per day and in most cases, it's unnecessary anyways. A good breakfast coupled with a moderate lunch and dinner will do just fine, but you'll still want to supplement those meals with additional calories.
And I'm not talking about MRP's, protein shakes, or "nutrition" bars. Instead of using supplements, which seems to be the easy way out (and not as healthy), do your best to get your calories from real food.
And you'll start with snacks.
There are almost a limitless number of healthy snack foods that you could possibly eat and I'm a big believer in eating as close to natural as possible.
In fact, the Primal Blueprint and Primal Diet have become a big part of my life and I've seen some awesome results in my own life (and body) as well as with my clients.
Now I don't have a ton of discretionary income to spend on organic everything and you probably don't either, but we do need to eat as healthy as we can afford.
So let's look at some quick and easy Primal snacks and here are my top 1o:
1) Fresh veggies
This is at the top of the list for a reason. Fresh veggies are probably the best thing on this planet you can eat and most of us don't eat nearly enough (myself included). Some of my favorite snacks are carrots, broccoli, red peppers, or celery but pretty much any veggie will do the trick.
Just pack a cooler when you head to work or are traveling and you'll always be prepared. Plus, warm veggies are nasty..
2) Fresh fruit
Another one of the best foods you can eat, especially berries (these are superfoods!). Not only are they easily transportable but fruits also have a very high satiety score, which means they will leave you feeling fuller and keep you from wanting to stuff your face.
As a side note, fruit juices are not the same thing as fresh fruit and should be avoided like the black plague.
3) Hard boiled eggs
Eggs have gotten a bad rap in the past, especially the yolks. A few years ago, everyone was saying that the cholesterol in the yolks was leading to all sorts of health problems, but more recent science has shown that they are actually very beneficial to our health.
4) Dark chocolate
For those of us with a sweet tooth, it can be torturous not to eat our favorite sweet treat after dinner (I have a weakness for chocolate chip cookies).
The good news is that we still get to eat chocolate although I'd suggest limiting your portion size due to the high number of calories in this.
Dark chocolate has a number of health benefits including:
- Being very high in antioxidants
- Helping to decrease blood pressure
- May help lower the risk of heart disease
- May improve brain function
Also, aim for dark chocolate with a cacao of 70% or higher. It's a little more bitter but still very tasty.
Still one of my favorite snack foods. It's easy, not too expensive, and can be found in most stores including gas stations. Just look out for ultra processed jerky which is little more than a bag of salt and instead try to eat grass-fed or organic jerky. You can also try Epic Bars, which are grass-fed meat bars. Sounds funky, but they're really good!
BTW, here is a great post that ranks the best and worst jerky.
6) Homemade trail mix
The trail mix we buy at the stores is pretty much just sugar and salt. Even the mix with fruit uses dried fruit with added sugars. Instead, spend a few extra bucks and make your own trail mix.
It's portable, doesn't need to be refrigerated, and has a lot of health benefits.
7) Almond butter
This is one of my favorites and if you've ever gone Primal or Paleo for an extended time, you know this stuff is a life saver!
It's a healthier alternative to peanut butter (plus peanuts aren't allowed) and is absolutely amazing on apples! If you don't have an apple, a spoonful of this will work just as well. I personally use MaraNatha All-Natural Almond Coconut Butter and it's delicious.
I'll admit that I hate olives. I've tried them many times but just can't seem to like the taste. Be that as it may, they are still a very popular primal snack and have tons of health benefits.
They are also pretty cheap (unless you buy those fancy stuffed ones) and can be taken anywhere.
9) Cold shrimp
Who doesn't love some shrimp cocktail? While this snack is probably a bit more expensive than the others, it's still a great source of protein and if you look hard enough, you will find shrimp on sale at any given store.
Buy it frozen because much of the "fresh" shrimp that you see in the seafood window is actually just thawed out frozen and you'll save some bucks buying it already frozen.
Also, store bought cocktail sauce isn't primal approved, so try this quick and easy recipe instead.
As a side note, always try to buy wild caught shrimp as the farm raised poses certain health risks. This quote from consumerreports.org is enough to scare me away from farm raised:
In some cases 150 shrimp can occupy a single square meter (roughly the size of a 60-inch flat-screen television) where they’re fed commercial pellets, sometimes containing antibiotics to ward off disease. If ponds aren’t carefully managed, a sludge of fecal matter, chemicals, and excess food can build up and decay. Wastewater can be periodically discharged into nearby waterways. “Bacteria and algae can begin to grow and disease can set in, prompting farmers to use drugs and other chemicals that can remain on the shrimp.
10) Coconut chips
Coconut products (water, oil, meat) have become super popular in the last few years and there is no doubt that there are plenty of health benefits.
Coconuts are a primal dieters best friend and they just have so many uses. But when you're looking for a quick and easy primal snack, coconut chips are awesome.
You can buy them in the store but may find added ingredients that take away from the nutritional value or you can make your own. This recipe only has 3 ingredients and tastes fantastic.
So there you have it. Now you have no excuse not to be eating high quality, primal friendly snacks. And if you're not interested in the primal/paleo lifestyle, that's cool; these snacks work just as well in traditional diets as well.