My name is Kate, I am a Registered Dietitian, and I am a Chocoholic. I always have been. Remember the restaurant Bennigan's (does that still exist somewhere)? When I was a kid and my family would go there, we would order a dessert called Death By Chocolate to share, which was something like this... chocolate cookie crust with chocolate ice cream, hard chocolate coating over it, and hot fudge. OMG. Everyone else would take one or two bites before surrendering because it was "too chocolately," but this Death By Chocolate took me to heaven, and I would finish it off myself. It was my favorite! I am also keen on any chocolate that involves almonds or pecans, but then again, when it comes to chocolate, I'm not picky.
Most of the year, my strategy to not have much chocolate around the house works fairly well. However, when the end of the year draws near, beginning with Halloween, it becomes much more challenging. My kids are allergic to nuts, so the *best* Halloween treats sit abandoned in a bowl taunting me...peanut M&M's, Snickers, Reese's and the rare Almond Joy. Then, while we are still navigating portion control of that bucket-o-candy, along comes Thanksgiving baked goodness, immediately followed by Christmas cookies and baking.
I struggle with this every year. I come home hungry and need a quick bite to eat, and there sits a plethora of very conveniently portable treats. It is hard not to grab one (or three) as I walk by. So, I asked myself the other day...what else would I be willing to grab right now, if it was just as easy as this treat? It was an interesting internal dialogue. I was being honest with myself and truly think I would eat less chocolate if I had more of the following available, and READY TO EAT without rinsing, cutting, measuring, etc. The key, for me, is to be able to grab and go!
-Grapes or strawberries, already washed and portioned in Tupperware. I can do this while packing the kids lunch, just pack for me too. A healthy sweet treat!
-Grapefruit segments packed in juice, so refreshing. I can buy them in individual servings, thanks Costco!
-Hummus and crackers or pretzels. Aldi has a roasted red pepper individually portioned hummus pack I like a lot. I could also just measure some into Tupperware from a larger container.
-PB&J or a cheese quesadilla. See above, I can make ahead when making the kids lunches. Quesadillas are good cold too.
-Trail mix with chocolate pieces, in individual packs or pre-portioned myself.
-Chips and guacamole, I will never tire of you. Again, individual packs.
-Pumpkin Noosa yogurt tastes like pumpkin pie! I have only found it at Target, and in the fall because it is seasonal. Yes, it has added sugar, but not as much as a candy bar.
-Tea, which I try to make daily and keep in the fridge. Sometimes when I'm not actually hungry but just craving "something," a glass of my favorite tea helps. Tazo brand, Zen flavor is my favorite.
-Popcorn! I haven't bought it in awhile, but I love a bag of Skinny Pop when I need a quick snack. Adding it to the Costco list now!
Don't get crazy here, I'm not saying I will never reach for the chocolate, but if I can help minimize the sweet indulgences, I'll be a lot better off. Maybe you can too! Try this same exercise and ask yourself how you see this playing out for you. Planning and packing snacks the night before? A few minutes in the morning to prep? Or maybe on the weekend for the following week? This holiday season, while ingredient shopping for your cookie exchange recipes, make a list and stock up on some healthy snacks, portion them out and set THEM on the counter in front of the cookies. Every little bit helps!