I will tell you that I am making a much more conscious effort to live healthier, excercise more, and put generally good, healthful foods into my body. That said, it's still hard. I still want treats now and then (ok, always). Summer seems to be particularly difficult because it's prime time for barbeques, ice cream at the beach, and cocktails on patios with girlfriends.
I've found a few alternatives or recipes that have helped me stay in check this year, and it just isn't right to keep my secrets locked in a box! If you are struggling to resist the bounty of summer tempatations popping up all around you, then maybe one or two of my "tips" may help!
Please feel free to share your secrets, recipes, tips and tricks in the comments. I need them just as much as the next girl! These are just a few of the things that help my food cravings in check and keep me on the right track.
1. Banana "Ice Cream" | This is a great little treat that I've grown to love. Wait for your bananas to ripen, peel and cut into pieces, and freeze. You now have the base for your "ice cream". When you need a treat, take out a handful of frozen banana pieces and microwave for 10 seconds so they aren't super duper frozen (but still frozen). Put in your blender/processor/bullet with a dash of milk and vanilla and blend until creamy. The consistency is very much like ice cream and it is so so yummy. You can add whatever it is you like, so the possibilities are endless. The consistency is that of a soft gelato, but if you find it too runny, stick in freezer for a bit to firm it up. My favourite concoctions are:
Peanut Butter Cup (Just add a tablespoon of natural PB and teaspoon of cocoa powder)
Cinnamon Bun (Just add a dash of cinnamon)
Berry YogunFruz (Tastes just like yogunfruz- add strawberries and raspberries)
It is certainly decadent but you know what you're putting into it, it's super easy and cheap, and as far as desserts go, it's pretty healthy.
2. Green Tea Refreshers | Hot summer days are HARD. On my days off lounging in the sun I crave something more than just ice water. I want a Margarita or a Mojito badly. Despite completely cutting out artificial sweeteners for the past while, I caved and tried Crystal Light's yummy concoctions and my fave is the Mojito flavour, with Green Apple Martini a close second (have yet to try the Margarita but I bet it would be good). I don't like to use artificial sweeteners, but I figure in moderation, and just for a short period of this summer heat, I'll treat myself. I do, however, brew a big batch of green tea and chill it. I mix that with an entire batch of the Crtysal Light, and it is oh so yummy (and only half of the artificial sweetener than the regular since the green tea cuts it in half). Add some fresh mint, lime and soda water for a very authentic tasting Mojito (sans rum) or add the rum for a light cocktail treat. If you really don't want to go the route of Crystal Light, just use some fresh lime juice and honey or agave nectar or stevia to sweeten and make your own. Having a jug chilled in your fridge is the perfect way to stave off summertime booze binges.
3. Snack Packs | Put in a few extra minutes every couple of nights and set yourself up for success. Cut up your veggies and prepackage them in cute containers or baggies for the perfect snack to take to work. I find I eat the most crap when there is nothing available and ready, and I'm hungry. Easy-to-grab snacks help scare away the hangries!
Breakfast Crepe: Slice a banana and add a spoon of nut butter (or yogurt for healthier option)
Lunch Crepe: Add sauteed spinach, a protein (chicken breast or egg whites for veggies like me), and some fat free tzatziki.
Dinner Crepe: Sauteed veg (bell peppers, onion, broc, whatever you like) mixed with salsa, protein and some low fat/fat free cheese.
Dessert Crepe: Fresh strawberries or raspberries topped with a drizzle of chocolate sauce, a dollop of nutella or a few chocolate chips. You can even add some of your banana ice cream if you like!
I love crepes because they are easy but most of all delicious and you certainlly feel like you're indulging when you really aren't. Crepes have now taken the place of all other breads in my house- toast, tortillas, buns etc. Anything that I would use a bread for before, I now substitute a crepe.
5. Smoothies! | I have made smoothies throughout my entire adult life, but only recently have they become an everyday staple. They are SO filling and a great way to get some nutrients into your body. A perfect breakfast! I just upgraded from a Magic Bullet to a NutriBullet and I LOVE it! Pulverizes any seeds/nuts I throw in there and it really is a fantastic little machine. Anyways, my morning smoothie usually looks like this: 1 banana, green tea or coconut water, handful spinach, handful kale, tablespoon of chia seeds, hemps heart buckewheat mix, drop of stevia, big scoop greek yogurt, handful frozen berries. Once a week I treat myself to a yummier version which is: banana, milk, spinach, chia mix, honey, cinnamon and almonds. It tastes like dessert.
6. The Sangrini | I made this cocktail up last summer and it is to.die.for. It's not super amazing for you on the health-o-meter, but when you're craving a sugary blended drink, this is a great alternative. It's sort of like a Belini and Sangria blended together, hence the moniker Sangrini!
1/2 cup of wine (white or red, but I prefer red)
1 cup frozen fruit (raspberries and peaches are my fruits of choice)
1 tablespoon frozen juice concentrate (OJ or 5Alive work well)
Blend all together and enjoy your not so sinful summer treat!
Do you have any yummy subs or recipes that help you get through? Please share!