Snacks, Snacks and More Snacks

I LOVE snacking! It is great for your body to snack throughout the day because it keeps your metabolism up; however, snacks do not replace meals. My best friend used to remind me of that and I constantly ignored him because I was so scared to actually eat a large meal…crazy I know. With that being said, below are a few of my favorite go-to snacks that I’ve eaten this week but of course I change it up all the time because where is the fun in living in a routine??

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On the left, my go to protein bar is a Quest bar. They are an amazing source of protein and come in bunches of flavors! They are always on sale at Kroger and they have only 1 gram of sugar and 20 grams of protein. The chocolate chip cookie dough is my absolute favorite because it literally tastes like a dessert. It contains simple ingredients and is great before and after a workout, or in my case just in between meals as a snack!

Now on to my addiction to almond butter…you can never have too much almond butter in your life. On the right is a little to-go pack that I found at TJ Maxx!! Let me say, that is my favorite store ever. If I need retail therapy at the end or even at the beginning of the week I will be there. My roommate found the best kale chips there so why not snack and shop?

 

Healthy Grocery Shopping on a College Budget

I get asked all the time what to buy at the grocery store! I go once or twice every two weeks and never spend more that $50. Trader Joe’s is my go to place! However, Bowling Green does not have one so I go to Kroger and they always have sales on their salmon, quinoa and almond butter! For those who do not know me, fun fact is that I LOVE grocery shopping. When I want to run errands to get away from life I go straight to the grocery store. Below are all of my go to items:

Fruit:You don’t have to buy them organic but those options are available also!

  • apples
  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • grapes
  • grapefruit

Meat: 

  • frozen or pre-made salmon
  • frozen grilled chicken from Simple Truth Organic

Dairy: 

  • 1 dozen carton of Simple Truth Organic, cage free eggs

Carbohydrates: 

  • Ezekiel Bread
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Steel cut or regular oatmeal (add cinnamon, honey/agave and almond milk for extra taste)
  • Brown rice cakes
  • Rice crackers
  • Bear Naked granola (my favorite is banana nut)
  • Seeds of Change quinoa and brown rice mix (all you do is heat the bag for 2 minutes in the microwave and it’s already done and an amazing side item!)

Greens: 

  • spinach for salads or sauté them!
  • veggies
    • broccoli
    • cauliflower
    • corn
    • brussel sprouts

NOW TREAT YOURSELF!

My doctor told me to LIVE life as a college student. Go eat ice cream, grab an extra cookie at the restaurant, craving a Reese’s?? (aka my favorite candy) GRAB A HANDFUL. If you find yourself craving dark chocolate, which is actually good for you, then that means your body needs some sugar. Listen to your body! I have found myself happier now that I actually go out for ice cream with my friends and not feel bad. Life is too short to not live it to the fullest every day.

WHAT DO MY MEALS LOOK LIKE?

Here are some examples of some of my simple go-to meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner that are so quick to make! When I’m hurrying to class, these are easy and so yummy! Remember, I don’t eat like this every day because my favorite breakfast meal is a cinnamon roll 🙂 IMG_7209IMG_5819IMG_5897

My Wake Up Call

IMG_9819I am 5’6 and have always loved being active. Starting my freshman year of college I was already tall, lean and did not need to worry about gaining weight, but I told myself that I was determined not to gain the “freshman 15”. I was a competitive dancer my entire life and grew up around girls who cared a lot about their physical appearance. I was one of them and I remember one day one girl looked at me and told me I lost weight and from that day forward I strove to get more and more compliments like that. When I got to college I began to run instead of dance and ran on a treadmill for 2 miles every day. I never ate a slice of pizza or drank a cup of beer at a party. I would maybe eat ice cream on a splurge day. My mindset grew more narrow when girls started referring to me as one of the healthiest girls they knew and saying, “wow I wish I could eat and look like you”. As time went on I would refuse to eat certain things and when I did eat something bad I would feel awful about myself. Starting my sophomore year not much had changed until I noticed my body slowly weakening. My hip flexors lost muscle tissue and I had to stop running, my wrists became so weak that I had and continue to wear wrist braces when I sleep at night and my knees became so bony, I couldn’t kneel on the floor or get up a flight of stairs without them aching. Yes, I still have to wear braces that look like wrestling mitts and my knees ache every day. I’m a work in progress! Most of my bone aches were caused because I was calcium deficiant and had no protein in my system. After several break downs later, I went to the doctor only a few months ago and was told I had secondary amenorrhea.

 

WHAT IS AMENORRHEA?

Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation in women. There are two forms: primary and secondary. I had secondary, meaning that for six or more months, you stop menstruating. The most common cause to of secondary amenorrhea is hormone imbalance, where one’s estrogen levels are very low, over exercising or low body weight. When I got tested, I was told that my estrogen levels were at the same level as a fifty year old woman after menopause…for a twenty year old this is not what you want to hear. You can be given certain medications, but in my case I was told that medicine was not the answer. Changing my mindset was the answer…aka I needed to learn to gain weight whether I liked it or not. Below are pictures when I thought I looked amazing!! Looking back, I had no healthy fats on my body and realized this is not how God created me to look…

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HOW DO I GAIN WEIGHT IN A HEALTHY WAY?

Well, after crying after eating a piece of pizza I decided to really research how I can eat healthy, feel good and add nutritious fats to my body because FATS ARE GOOD FOR YOU. Yes, I didn’t realize that either. From that day forward I chose to add lean meats, healthy fats and carbs to my diet every day. I HIGHLY recommend these organic, healthy options below:

  • Avocados (ate them with almost every meal!)
  • Grilled chicken
  • Salmon
  • Sautéed veggies in olive oil
  • Ezekiel bread with mashed avocados or almond butter with chia seeds and a banana!
  •  Eggs, eggs, and more eggs 🙂

Read a more extensive grocery list on how to buy all healthy options for over a week under $50!

Moving forward is probably one of the hardest things I’m going to get through because I thought I was doing everything right, but instead found myself beating myself up and hurting my body from the inside out. I was ready for the change and I couldn’t do that without taking a step of faith. Please continue to read other posts as I share how God has and is in the process of shaping my mindset.