A Snap Kitchen healthy eating update: 2012 is already looking bright
We’re already three weeks into the new year, I can’t believe it. Especially having just completed the 21-day Snap Commit program kicked off by a full day of juicing through Snap Kitchen. If, like me, you started the year hoping to get your eating habits on a good track, hats off to you. It’s no easy task following a holiday season of gluttony in a city renowned for great things to eat around every corner. This is my guinea pig approach to give you the run down a program like this.
So, how did I do? As you may have seen in the story that chronicled my day of drinking juice alone, the endeavor was a definite challenge. But in the end, it was a replenishing way to begin the 21 days of eating the Snap program. The idea behind the Snap Commit is to refocus your eating habits to give you more energy, better health, and ideally, a smaller waistline.
The program begins with a 30-minute consultation with Snap Kitchen’s dietitian, Andrea Hinsdale who helps assess your current eating habits and weighs your level of activity with how many calories you should take in each day. I was on the 1,200 calorie diet, which included a daily menu of five items: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner. To be honest, after a couple of days, I felt like I was overeating. I wasn’t able to finish everything. Hinsdale had me drop one of the daily snacks and my problem was solved.
You shouldn’t look to this commitment as a way to lose weight. It’s really meant to reset your overall approach to food and health on a regular basis.
How many meal plans are there that offer pre-packaged foods that completely lack flavor and make you feel like you’re eating astronaut food? Not so with Snap Kitchen. In fact, this is my biggest praise for the program: the food is really good. (Well, for strictly health food anyway.) You can tell that the creators behind the menu want you to actually enjoy what you are eating. After all, this is about starting a path to healthy living, not a bland, tasteless road to misery. Did I love everything? No. But despite their rather wide list of items to try there’s no way to please everybody.
- Turkey chili, a hearty and spicy version of a Texas classic — except this one does have beans in it.
- Spicy grass-fed meatballs and peppers. Though it was generally hard not to enjoy this dish on a big fluffy hoagie roll, the flavor was fantastic and it wasn’t too spicy.
- Peanut butter pancakes. If you like peanut butter and you like pancakes, there’s really nothing more to say here. Made with quinoa flour, this breakfast packs a protein punch that really starts the day out right.
My least favorites:
Well, there’s really only one that gave me trouble. The “vegan scramble” for breakfast. A blend of tofu “eggs” with spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, avocado coulis and baked sweet potatoes. I like my daily dose of veggies, but not early in the morning. I admire the attempt to please vegans, but I’ll stick to real eggs and animal protein, please. I wish I could say I was able to suck it up and finish the meal that was given me, but I’m afraid the 5-year-old stubborn child came out in me and I passed on the scramble and eagerly awaited my morning snack.
Overall, the food made me feel satiated and satisfied. And it helped knowing that Snap is one of the only programs out there that sources quality, sustainable food like grass-fed beef, line caught fresh salmon (not frozen) and farm-raised eggs. Although I did long for the occasional splurge of chips and queso, a slice of pizza, or the simple pleasure of a ham and cheese sandwich.
So after spending three weeks on a diet almost completely dictated by a third party, am I pleased with the results? Absolutely. I’m not going to reveal my weight — a lady never tells — but I will say that I lost about 10 pounds. Of course, I was also taking two spin classes and two Bikram yoga classes a week, which probably helped.
But in truth, you shouldn’t look to this commitment as a way to lose weight. It’s really meant to reset your overall approach to food and health on a regular basis. They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. That’s the whole premise behind the Snap Commit. In 21 days, you’ll have a much more healthy approach to the way you eat.
Even though you are asked to follow the food menus Snap gives you for the full 21 days, you do have one day a week as a “free” meal. This usually falls on a weekend and does allow you do enjoy one alcoholic beverage, repeat one alcoholic beverage. That’s right, booze are verbotten any other time of the week.
Did I cheat? Well, I’m a food writer for a living, what do you think? Honestly, I did take the commitment pretty seriously and only cheated minimally on a couple of dinner and lunch occasions. But even when I did, I tried to be smarter about the way I was cheating. Salads with no cheese or avocado and lemon for dressing instead of fat-laden restaurant salad dressing. I’d opt for protein and veggies over carbs and sweets. (Although I will confess the first “free”meal I had, I relished every bite of the slice of fresh bread with butter they offered at the table.)
Bottom line, if you want an adjustment on how you integrate good food into your life, I’d suggest you give the Snap Commit a try. This isn’t something you can realistically do for your entire life — trust me, it really puts a strain on the budget — but it’s a great way to make you think smarter about treating yourself better.
I plan to continue using Snap for a few lunches and dinners on a weekly basis. Why not? It cuts down on having to cook and saves on wasting groceries. And when I’m navigating the world of food on my own, I’ll take a few helpful hints from Andrea Hinsdale with me:
Restructure portion sizes. The average dish should be comprised of one-half vegetables and three or four ounces of protein for women and about seven ounces for men.
Carbohydrates aren’t the enemy, as long as they’re the right ones. “Now that people are more aware of gluten free products, they automatically assume carbohydrates are bad for you,” says Hinsdale. “That’s not the case at all. It’s about which carbs we’re choosing. You can’t go wrong with steel cut oats, quinoa and whole grains.
The mighty avocado. Yes it’s true the avocado, foundation to the our beloved guacamole is indeed a very healthy food. It’s packed with fiber, vitamins K, C and B6, folate and about a dozen antioxidants and minerals like iron that help you stay strong. But it’s also loaded with fat. And even though it’s Omega 3 fat (the good kind), it’s still fat. A reasonable portion for a woman is about three slivers. For men, not much more than half of the great green fruit.
Oh nuts! Yes, nuts are a great snack to tide you over between meals. Particularly almonds, walnuts and cashews. But like the avocado, they’re also loaded in fat. So the next time you reach for a handful to sustain you, keep in mind that you should keep it to about ten nuts to stay healthy.
Cheese, glorious cheese. It’s no secret cheese has fat. And unfortunately, not the good kind. But it is a good source of protein and calcium, so it’s not worth completely cutting it from the diet. Hinsdale suggests one slice (about an ounce) of sharp cheddar cheese as the appropriate portion. So yeah, use it wisely. As for that decadent triple-cream brie we all know and love, save that for very special occasions.