How to Make Healthy Snacks a Routine

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When we are busy, it’s hard to make the choice to go healthy because it usually takes more time and might cost a bit more. But we all know it’s better for us, but how do you make it happen? Here’s a couple ideas.

Up until about a year ago, I was probably one of the least interested people in a “healthy” lifestyle.  I mean I hated the idea of exercise, watching what you eat, taking vitamins, and anything else related to not eating candy and junk food.

Seriously, Matt will tell you that he and I ate at the big “Mc” several times a week and we were there purchasing diet drinks all day long.  Because we were on the road traveling from home to home and store to store, not to mention we were always up against a deadline, we felt we didn’t have a choice but to eat fast food.

Well, I finally understand the importance of a good diet and the benefits of getting the muscles moving.  Gosh, why does it take us so long in this life to figure out the important things?  I guess that’s a topic for an entirely different article!!  But the point here is to tell you my experience with keeping the refrigerator full of healthy snacks.

I’ve decide that in my home, it’s all about the routine.  If I get out of the routine, if I don’t iron my son’s uniforms on Sunday afternoon, I’m messed up for the rest of the week!  Is it the same at your house?

My fruit and vegetable routine happens once a week, in the morning, right after the kids go to school. It also has to happen after a trip to the grocery store, so it’s usually on Tuesday.  I spend whatever time it takes to line up all the fruit and veggies and cut them all into bite sized pieces.  Of course they all have to be stored in containers in the refrigerator and those containers do take up quite a bit of space.  Fortunately, my husband is on board with this healthy eating idea and he bought me a small refrigerator for Christmas last year and we keep it in the garage.  The cut up fruit and veggies are in the kitchen, close at hand, and the ingredients for meals are kept in the garage.  It actually works out very well for us.

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In an effort to get my kids thinking this way earlier in life than I did, I try to have everyone’s favorite available.  My daughter loves Clementines, the smaller oranges.  They have great flavor and they are easy to peel.  Plus, they smell great!  I make sure to clean off the insides of the peel so these truly are grab and go!

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My husband LOVES pineapple and I have to say that it’s one of my favorite fruits as well.  I used to purchase it already cut up, but now that I’m in the “cutting up” routine, I save some money and cut it up myself.  It really is juicy and sooo tasty.

My husband’s routine is to eat fruit first thing in the morning without eating anything else to give it time to digest.  Apparently, fruit digests much better when you don’t have anything else in your stomach.  So, eaten alone, your fruit is more beneficial.

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There’s always room for strawberries!  And, when they are cut up, it makes strawberry shortcake that much easier…oops there I go, slipping back to my old ways!  Strawberries are part of a list of fruits and veggies that are on the “dirty dozen” list.  What this means is that these twelve are treated with chemicals in the field, and they are difficult to clean off to keep from ingesting them.  These twelve fruits and vegetables are best when you find them organically grown.  In other words, no chemicals used to enhance their size or speed in development.  And you don’t want those kinds of chemicals in your body!!  Now, I’m sure I have your attention and you want to know what the rest of the list looks like, right?  Ok, here it is.

The fruits are; peaches, apples, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, grapes, and pears.  The vegetables containing the most pesticide residue are celery, kale, lettuce, carrots and bell peppers.  You can find out more about this by going to http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=8315670&page=1.

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And then there are the blueberries.  These are my favorite fruits to prepare….wash, dry, done!

I’ve heard before that blueberries are the perfect fruit and I found the following information at the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council website.

Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. In fact, a serving contains about 14 mg or almost 25% of daily requirement for Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for the formation of collagen and to maintain healthy gums and capillaries. It also aids in the absorption of iron and promotes a healthy immune system.

Blueberries are a good source of dietary fiber.
Government surveys tell us that there is not enough fiber in our diet. A diet high in fiber contributes to heart health, helping to keep cholesterol in check. Fiber also aids in digestions and helps maintain regularity.

Blueberries are an excellent source of manganese.
Manganese plays an important role in the development of bones and in the metabolism of protein, carbohydrate and fat.

Blueberries contain substances that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals which are unstable molecules linked to the development of a number of diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s. According to the USDA database of the antioxidant activity of selected foods (ORAC values), blueberries rank among the highest on a per serving basis.

After all that, even I’m going to up my intact of that little blue gem.  However I can just see me putting them in muffins, pancakes and pies!! Have you tried our Blueberry Pouch Pie recipe in the dessert section?  Hahaha!

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For veggies, my family is pretty basic.  I wash up the mini carrots that have been cut and scrapped already and I create some celery sticks and that’s about it for crudités!

I do have other snacks available that don’t require as much preparation, like hummus and pita bread, healthy snack bars, vegetable chips, etc.  But no matter how you slice it you can’t beat fresh and raw!!

All hail to the routine!  We knock it quite a bit, but sometimes it’s just what we need to stay happy and healthy!!

Shari

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