Today's (Dec. 15, 2010) Challenge: Swap your mid-afternoon snack to save cash and calories.
How to do it:Unfortunately, this is a lesson I've already learned -- the hard way. It's no joke that at my company people tend to gain the "Freshman 15" the first year they work there. It's not just the snack vending machines or soda machines--all the candy dishes, all the cookies and cakes for random occasions, and on top of all that, most of us are glued to our desks and computers.
Step away from the vending machine or corner convenience store! Instead of choosing a sweetened drink for your mid-day break, fill a reusable bottle with water from home or from the big-bottle dispenser at work. Also skip high-calorie snack or candy bars, pastries, and salty snacks in the machine. Instead, choose fruit, trail mix, or string cheese and get a better deal for your bank account and body today.
Why it Matters:
Loose change adds up. The cash you'll save each week by not buying vending-machine drinks or snacks (priced about $1.50 each) every workday could give you $100 or more in your wallet in just three months. By drinking water instead of one sweetened beverage during a work day, you could save 200-plus calories daily (many drink labels have calorie counts per 8 oz., when the bottles hold 16 oz. or more). That's a savings of 15,000 calories in three months!
The average cost of a serving of fruit or vegetable (fresh, frozen, and canned) is 25 cents per serving.
I was no exception to the "Freshman 15" at the office. I can break down my failures into two different categories:
- Not eating lunch and eating something disastrous as a "snack"
- Not planning my meals the day before, or even the morning before.
When I didn't eat lunch, my blood sugar would crash and I'd make bad decisions because I was delirious. When I didn't plan my meals the day before, and the day's stress would get the best of me, I would make choices based more on comfort and less on nutrition. These choices were usually based on what was nearby and easy:
In other words, it was a caloric minefield and a nutritional wasteland.
I knew when I made the choice to make my health and well-being a priority it wouldn't be easy (it's not hard, though). I'm am an unorganized organized person, or an organized unorganized person. It's easy for me to plan certain things, but not my own food. I'm a highly moody eater. This was part of my disordered eating pattern. I would use my eyes to determine my hunger than my stomach. Luckily, I have been able to work with a registered dietitian and together we have begun the dialogue between my mind and my stomach.
So where does "Emergency Preparedness" fit in to all of this? Well just like the Boy Scouts, I've learned that I need to be prepared to deal with my stomach (and my moods) in a healthy manner. What does this mean? Having lots of healthy choices on hand to deal with hunger or thirst.
Not pictured, but often on hand (either in a cabinet by my desk, or in the shared refrigerator on my floor):
- (original) Fiber One cereal to add in to my Chobani Greek yogurt (the protein helps me stay fuller longer, and this is a tasty way to add some fiber to your diet)
- Old Fashioned Quaker Oats (add salt and hot water and let it sit or microwave for a few minutes and will taste much better than the instant stuff)
- Wasa Crisp'n Light crackers (in 7 grain or mild rye) to use with a Laughing Cow Light cheese wedge
- Baby carrots, celery, or zucchini and some hummus in a half cup Rubbermaid container
- Other whole fruits that don't need to be refrigerated and have a few days of shelf life -- like oranges or fruit canned in its on juice or water (not syrup)
- Cucumber, tomato and red onion salad with a little bit of white wine vinegar
- Almonds in an Altoid can -- it helps me not overdo it on portion sizes
- A hard boiled egg (the eggs I get at the farmer's market are delicious and so healthy!)
Yesterday there were cupcakes with green and red sprinkles everywhere. I was able to walk away from them because I had a plan: I knew what I wanted to eat, and it was ready and waiting for me. If I had seen something that interested me, I would have been better able to make a value choice versus the making a choice based on my environment, my desperation to eat anything because I hadn't eaten in hours, or because someone else wanted me to eat it.