Healthy snack ideas for any diet

Yep, you read that right. I used the word diet, without even a blink of the eye. It’s not because I want you to buy into ‘diet culture’ which is in itself a pretty destructive and ineffective way to manage your weight, your health, or your sanity for that matter. Instead I use that word because the word diet itself simply means a way of eating…for life. So whatever diet you choose to follow, whether it be paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, clean eating, keto or any other diet created make sure it is one that will allow you to reach your physique + health goals and is something you can do for life.

It was that little shift in mindset that really was the catalyst for change in my own life. Before deciding I was going to create a new lifestyle, I had approached every diet with a temporary mindset. I chose things that were restrictive and designed to give me maximum weight loss in the shortest period of time…in other words, limit my carbs, eat veggies and protein, and lose a bunch of water weight. Not sustainable and not really what I was after. Fat loss, was really what I wanted. Sustainability was another thing I craved.

Speaking of fat loss, these snack ideas I’ve prepared just for you are sure to help with that. Not to mention give you sustained energy- think no more energy crashes and feeling satisfied longer.

Mix protein + healthy fat + carb

One of the best tips I can give when prepping any sort of snack for you or your kids is to make sure you are mixing lean protein, some healthy fat, and even a little carb in the form of fruit/ veggies/ or whole grains. When choosing carbs think about fiber content, look for carb choices low in sugar, and overall ingredients.

Focus on minimally processed

I touched on this a bit above, but let’s dive into this a little more…Whether you are choosing your carbs, proteins, or your healthy fats aka your macros, you want to look for ones that are in as much of a natural state as possible. Ask yourself how this food would have looked in nature. If you wouldn’t find the ingredients in nature, put it down and walk away.

It took some time for me to start reading food labels, and there was definitely a learning curve to it as well. Essentially if I can’t pronounce it and it looks like its a chemical compound, or I recognize it from sources other than food, I am not eating it and neither is my family.

Ditch the ‘diet’ foods

If you are doing the above, then this will be pretty easy. However, if you are still drawn to the 100 calorie snack packs and diet soda (like I used to be), or “snack” foods like crackers/cookies/bars then let’s chat about why these may not be the best choice for helping you curb your hunger mid afternoon.

Diet foods may have the calorie thing under control, as in they are either quite low in calorie or have no calories (like diet soda), however what they do have is probably a lot worse than a few extra calories from whole food sources. Often snack foods are laden with extra sodium, sugar, and ingredients that you likely wouldn’t find in nature. Diet inspired snack foods are also pretty low in nutrient density meaning the amount of good-for-you stuff is pretty low compared to the calories.

Some of my go- to snack ideas

these-6-easy-snack-boxes-are-the-perfect-way-to-s-2-25400-1503677999-0_dblbig

  • Hummus and veggies
  • Guac and veggies,
  • Hard boiled eggs and veggies or fruit
  • Greek yogurt and fruit (opt for a coconut or other non-dairy yogurt if you’re vegan)
  • Apple and almonds
  • Apple and peanut/nut butter
  • Fruit and cheese/ Veggies and cheese (can also use nut cheeses like almond)

It doesn’t matter if you make these yourself or get a little help from your local grocery store these are all good choices whether you are on the go or relaxing on a Saturday afternoon. There are tons of great options already made for you, just be sure to read the label, and when you’re snacking listen to your body’s hunger cues. Try stopping before you finish the whole thing. Take a breather between bites. Remove distractions that make it easy to finish the whole thing.

Keep in mind these are also great ideas you can use to fill out a lunch for yourself or your kids. Try making it a game if you’ve got picky eaters. Everybody has more fun when we make it a game!

What are you already doing that is helping you live a healthier life? Drop your tip in the comments below, I’m always looking for new strategies to try!

 

Cheers to a wonderful day,

Alisha Carlson (8)

 

 

A super simple and delicious peanut sauce you can make in less than 5 minutes

Do you secretly {or not so secretly} have a slight love affair with peanut butter?  I will find any and every way to have some just about every day. It’s the absolute cherry on top if I get it with a little dark chocolate too..but hey, I won’t be too picky 😉

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard that learning the art of  clean eating was the one thing that finally worked to help me lose weight for my wedding and has been pretty much the way we have eaten every since. Learning how to eat, changed my life. This was the first big step in getting off the yo-yo diet rollercoaster.

alexandra-andersson-424642-unsplash

Photo credit: Alexandra Andersson

Sauces and dressings I came to quickly learn are some of the easiest places to cut the crap aka chemicals, additives, and preservatives as well as the sugar content and overall calories.

I came across this peanut sauce recipe in a magazine I used to subscribe to, and it is seriously so simple, goes good with everything from stir fry to Thai, and takes less than 5 minutes to make. Count me in!

Forgive me, if you are someone that likes exact measurements as I am not the best at measuring things (maybe that is why I don’t do a whole lot of baking 😉 )

But here is my best guess at what you will need to make a single serving..If you need or want more just double or triple the recipe. And as always feel free  to play around with the ratios a bit!

1 T. Peanut Butter or nut/seed butter of your choice

2 T soy sauce/ coconut aminos (if you are gluten free or trying to limit your soy intake, use the coconut aminos)

1 T  Sweet garlic chili sauce

Sriracha to taste if you like a little heat

Add all of the above ingredients to a small bowl if you want to eat it chilled or to a sauce pan if you want to heat it up a bit. Heating it up slightly  will help the consistency and make it spread easier especially if you are using natural peanut butter. Mix all the ingredients until blended, top your fave dish with it, and let me know how much you love it!

 

Do you have a favorite recipe? Sharing is caring, drop a link in the comments below..

 

Cheers to you and peanut butter,

 

Alisha Carlson (8)

 

 

 

Power smoothies

Summer seems to be in full swing here with hot days and balmy nights. In the summer time my appetite seems to go way down and very few things actually sound good to me. Some of my staples include: coffee on ice (of course 😉 ) , big ol’ salads, chips, salsa & guacamole (another no brainer), and some cool beverages in the form of rosé or bourbon mule. Another favorite at our house just about year round are smoothies. I love smoothies because you can get a whole meals worth of nutrients packed into a single glass. Plus the ice cold consistency is a treat on a hot day…

Now because it is liquid it will fill you up pretty quick, but can also have a tendency to leave you hungry a short while after you sip the last sip. I’ve learned a few tricks along the way and I wanted to share some of them with you today.. brooke-lark-186926-unsplash.jpg

Get all your macros..

One of the best ways to ensure you stay full for a few hours is to balance it out. I’m not huge on counting macros, but I am a big fan of making sure at just about each meal I’ve got some protein, healthy fats, and carbs. My smoothies or power shakes are no different. For your protein you can either use your favorite protein powder or you can get your protein from things like yogurt, nuts/nut butters, milk, etc. For some of my favorite fats check out the section below. Your carbs can come from your fruit added in, any dairy you add in. You can also add a 1/4 c of dry oats per serving if you want to make it more of a meal or if you know it will be a while before you eat again.

Drink your veggies..

Another tip is to pack as many veggies in as you can handle. Some of my favorites are beets and greens. You can buy pre cooked beets or you can roast them up ahead of time. If you buy greens for your smoothies and notice they go bad before you can use them up, try storing them in your freezer. You can also play around and try adding in some different herbs or veggies to see what you like and what you don’t like. One of the advantages of smoothies over juicing is that you keep the fiber which helps stabilize your blood sugar and helps with the full feeling. So if you’ve juiced in the past or are thinking about it, try adding those same ingredients into your smoothie instead.

What should I mix it with?

Depending on your current goals and how many calories you’re aiming for each day you can play around with the bases a bit. Some of my favorites are cold coffee, water, and plain milk. You can try coconut water for extra hydration or milk substitutes.

Sweeten it up a bit..

Part of what makes the smoothie so good is the fruit you add to it. I usually keep it pretty simple with bananas or frozen berries. However, sometimes I like to go tropical and add in some mango or pineapple. The best part is you get to decide what you wanna add. Smoothies are also a great place to experiment because the flavors can be masked a bit. It’s great to add variety to make sure you’re getting all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function at its best. And it just keeps things exciting, who doesn’t want that?

Don’t forget your fats..

Fat is no longer a bad word. In fact there has been so much research done lately that supports our need for healthy fats in our diets. Some of my go-to’s are avocados, nuts or nut butters, and seeds like chia or ground flax seeds.

A few last tips..

If time is of the essence on those crazy mornings, you can make up some smoothie bags ahead of time and store them in your freezer until you are ready to use them up. This will shave off a little time in the morning routine and will ensure you’re getting the right amount.

I know there are so many places that sell smoothies/shakes these days and sometimes they can be a good option if you’re on the go. I would however, just caution you to look at the sugar content and the ingredients. Sometimes “healthy” foods are simply a glorified junk food which is ok on occasion. Keep those goals in mind and ask yourself if it is a worthwhile trade or not. Ultimately you know what works for you and what doesn’t, remember you are the expert of your own body–just be informed.

What are some of your favorite smoothie/shake combos? Comment below and let me know! I’ll be sharing some of my favorites that are perfect for this time of year.

Until next time,

Alisha

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming Emotional Overeating through Mindset

 

I wanted to chat with you about kind of a sensitive and private topic emotional overeating and I would say honestly for myself, this was something that I really struggled with probably as early as middle school.  I grew up in kind of a crazy household. I watched my parents struggle with alcohol, drugs, infidelity, and abuse. My parents’ marriage seemed like it was always falling apart. And my brother and I were just along for the ride.

When my mom wasn’t numbing her pain with substances (illegal and legal) I remember seeing her numb her pain through food. Eating became what you did, whether you were having a good day or a bad day, you just kind of turned to food. It didn’t matter if it was a  celebration or a stressful event you went to food–or alcohol–or drugs. As I got older I knew more and more that  didn’t feel confident about who she was and I don’t know that she ever saw herself as beautiful. She may not have been the type of person that would have turned your head by her physical appearances alone, but her smile was warm when it was genuine and she had a heart of gold. Willing to give and to serve and to love to the best of her abilities. She carried a lot of wounds.   She would tell me stories of hurtful things said to her by her parents and others.  I see that she turned to substance abuse as a way to cope, and in this case food was used as one of those substances.naomi-august-138149-unsplash.jpg

When I really think about my own food story and how I’ve interacted with food over the years,  I see that it’s really been kind of this dysfunctional relationship. It’s taken years to overcome and honestly, I am still always editing my food story just as in any other area of life. As long as there is breath in our lungs, there is room to grow, and ways to be useful..a purpose to serve.

My use of food as a way to cope only seemed to get worse the older I got. We’ve all either heard  or have been the leading role in the painfully awkward stories of the teen years. No doubt, I started putting weight on and I started to become even more uncomfortable in my skin. I already sort of had this sense that there was something wrong with me. I felt  broken or like I was damaged goods. I didn’t know if there was a place for me to belong.

As my weight continued to climb I started to become desperate for a solution. I had no clue what to do, and I felt so out of control. I just wanted to feel like I could do something, anything… I tried starving myself. I tried gagging myself. I tried all the quick fixes that promised quick weight loss. Little did  I know at the time those quick fixes would only make things worse. Either because I would only fail again and again. I’d gain all the weight lost and more, or I wouldn’t actually be making any healthy and lasting changes. I wanted to do it in a healthy way, I just didn’t really know how to do that.

Like so many women I see, I just kept trying one thing after another hoping something would stick. What I didn’t realize at the time is that I was always only trying to fix things on a surface level. Trying to use a bandage on wounds that needed to be healed from the inside out, not just covered up. It really wasn’t until I started doing some deeper work around my thoughts, feelings, and ultimately my beliefs around food that things started to change for the long term.

So, today if you find yourself in any part of my crazy story I want to ask you if you’re doing the thought work? Are you allowing yourself to be healed from past wounds that you’ve been trying to cover up with food? Have you ever questioned where your feelings/thoughts/beliefs around food have come from?evieanna-santiago-589692-unsplash

I know this is not necessarily fun work to do, but friend, it is SO necessary if we want to make lasting changes. Nothing will change unless our minds are changed. And unfortunately that starts by questioning our current way of doing things.

So today’s assignment, is to spend a few moments pondering your current relationship with food and with yourself. Ask yourself the tough questions and allow the answers to come forward. Then decide what you want your story to look like going forward. How do you want to feel around food? How do you want to feel about yourself? Who do you want to be? This is the fun part! This is the part where you decide what you’re going to do and who you are going to be from this moment on.

If you are struggling with over eating, emotional eating, or anything else mentioned in this post please don’t struggle alone! I’m here to throw a lifeline, just like I wished had been done for me.

I’ve got a 5 day free challenge coming up that will help you get the start that you may need. Email me and we can see if this is the best next step for you 😉 alisha@alishacarlson.com. I can’t wait to hear from you!

xo,

Alisha

Time for the next chapter…

I realize it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me, and I’m sorry for the absence. The past several weeks have been nothing short of a thrilling roller coaster ride to say the least. There had been a stirring in my heart for several months and I finally decided to take the leap and make some changes. No matter how seasoned you are at any one area of your life anytime you start to make changes old feelings, thoughts, and habits start to come back to the surface or completely new thoughts start to show up.

Change is great at making you see the areas of yourself/ your life that need some improvement. It can be so scary and so overwhelming, but it can also be so exciting and so refreshing if you let it. Every new level you climb to will bring out new devils to deal with, but be encouraged–you can and you will do it. Because you realize that the change is needed and is long over do. So, here are some of the things that have been happening since I last checked in:

-Launched a brand new website (check it out and let me know what you think). This one is huge for me! I am so tickled with how well it turned out, and I really feel like it captures the essence of who I am, what I do, and how I want to serve others.

-Created and am launching my first coaching program, Ditch the Diet Mindset and Rewrite your Food Story. This was a labor of love for sure and I am so happy with the final product. I cannot wait to get it into the hands of the women that have been craving something like this. No calorie counting, no food obsession, no bingeing, no restriction.

-Went back to my roots with my own nutrition. As someone that has spent years dealing with the issues around food mentioned above this feels really dang good. I let myself slip back into some old habits and patterns that were not serving me well. So to be in this place of grace and freedom around food again is precisely what I had been missing.Find Your Thrive Alisha Carlson

– Learning each day to balance between being wife, mom, coach, and entrepreneur. This is always in change. Each day, each season requires something new. Sometimes the learning curve feels too steep, but I have faith. I know that no matter what I can get done in a day, it’s enough. I hope you hear that. I hope that becomes a truth for you as well. It’s all about grace, my friend!

Despite all that is happening, all that has yet to happen, all the unknown, and uncertainty there is peace amidst the chaos. There is nothing quite like that peace of mind.

I’d love to hear what is new in your world! Drop me a comment and let me know what changes are on the horizon for you in this next season. How can I come along side you as you walk through this change? It’s better when we do it together!

 

Until next time, friend!

xo

Alisha

 

 

Every day can be Taco Tuesday with this easy one skillet meal

I’ve been rocking my single mom status this week while my hubby is out of town for a work conference. One week may seem like a long time (and at one point it was for us too), but being a military family we have gotten used to long stretches of being split up whether for training camps or deployments. Regardless of how long he’s gone, I am a big fan of easy and quick meals that my kids don’t fuss over.

I was scrolling Pinterest last week as I normally do to get new dinner ideas and came across a super simple one skillet dinner that was healthy and delicious. Plus, it took less than 25 minutes from start to finish.. I made a few tweaks to the recipe and here is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy it and let me know how you change it up, because there are literally thousands of ways this dish could be made!

 

What you need:
1 lb ground turkey ( I used 99%lean, you could use chicken or beef too)
1/2 white onion
3/4 c salsa (Costco is my favorite one)
1 whole wheat tortilla
1/3 c shredded cheese
Cumin
Chili powder
Sea salt
Garlic powder
1 can rinsed and drained kidney, black, or pinto beans (no salt added)
And your toppings of choice

To make:
Sauté onions until cooked (about 3 min)
Add ground meat cook, breaking apart and season with spices
Add salsa and cheese
Cook until meat is done and warmed through
Cut up tortilla into strips and add it into the mix (optional)

Serve with lettuce, diced tomatoes, avocado, and green onion or any other toppings you typically like on your tacos 🌮🥑

28795526_1652383501464871_8438899468580945920_n