Momentum Can Stop You in Your Tracks

Put down the phone. Pause your podcast. Stop the music. And let yourself become utterly, miserably bored.

We’ve collectively lost the ability to do this as a society, but being bored, or simply getting to the point in not having something to occupy our minds where our mind can really wander, is essential to our ability to solve problems and think creatively.

I, for one, have gotten stuck in this momentum of adulthood wherein I’m getting so much done and being sooo productive. I’m ninja chopping my way through emails and appointments and showing myself and the world how together a lady can have her stuff.

That’s great and all, but all it really does is keep me on whatever hamster wheel I’m currently on. But I’m a writer. And checking off tasks on a to-do list isn’t gonna help me come up with an idea for something to write, and it sure isn’t gonna help me write it.

Ninja chopping through all the tasks, following that seductive momentum and going going going, can actually decrease your capacity for deep work. We have to create space to get lost in thought in order to get to the creative, deep thoughts that will inspire that next great idea or the answer to a nagging problem.

So put down the phone, turn off the TV, and go stare out a window. We have to allow ourselves to be bored out of our minds in order to get back into them.


Sarah Mowery is the Podcast Marketing Editor for the Spark – Inspire Your Life Podcast and an avid podcast listener. Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Sarah enjoys writing, playing outside, going to concerts, and anything else she can list here that will make you think she’s cool. Sarah is a 200-hour registered yoga teacher and a member of the teaching team at YogaSport in Dallas. You can read more of her writing here.

Episode 40: Kellie Lin Knott; Essential Creativity

Sucky Moment of the Week (3/5) Everything that could happen to keep Kellie Lin from making her flight and traveling safely happened. Inspired Action No matter how prepared you are, you have no control over the circumstances or what may happen unexpectedly. Stay calm, and rationally act instead of reacting.

Send in your sucky moments to podcast@angelawagnercoaching.com with any questions or inspired actions – you might be featured on the podcast!

Major Topic: Creativity It exists in everything we do and can bring new perspective to our lives. Kellie Lin tells us how we can induce creativity, find it in every scenario, and use it to lower stress.

Ask Coach AWags Send in your questions on anything from life to love to diet and exercise (like yoga!) and beyond at podcast@angelawagnercoaching.com to be featured on the podcast.

Try This: Choose a (natural, non-toxic) scent you love and use it to reprogram a new way of being or new habit into your system. Use that scent when you want to get into a creative mindset.

Kellie Lin SHOUT out to Susan Werner, a woman who takes on the unknown, immerses herself in new things, and allows creativity to happen.

From the Episode:

AWC Goodies:

  • Sign up for the AWC Newsletter for a free weekly dose of awesomeness from Angela. Just go to the home page and scroll down to enter your email and get connected!
  • Angela is gifting 40 FREE clarity calls to put some love and kindness out into the world for her 40th birthday. Sign up for your 40 for 40 call and spend 30 minutes with Angela to spark inspiration in your life.
  • Check out the 7 Days to Make Your Life Sparkle Challenge! Every day, Angela will send you a super quick and easy challenge that, over the next week, will help you clear out the physical and digital clutter that is weighing you down. Go to https://angelawagnercoaching.com/ to sign up!
  • Like what you hear on the podcast? Then check out Angela’s online program, Spark. Through simple and fun exercises (and on your time), Spark will help you gain 8 hours back in your week so you can stress less and do YOU.

Connect with us:

If this episode sparked something in you, please be sure to subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher, leave us a rating and review on iTunes (how to do that here!), and tell your friends about us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or good old-fashioned word of mouth! Thanks for visiting.

Just Start (Anywhere!)

We all have it. That thing in the back of your head that you’ve wanted to do forever but just haven’t had the time, the resources, the energy – you name it – for.

The thing is, we’ll never have enough of any of it. And waiting sure doesn’t give us any more. This week on the podcast, we loved everything Jeanine Donofrio said about how she started her gorgeous blog, Love & Lemons.

She had it in her mind for a while and wasn’t sure if it was “the thing” to do or where it would go, but one day, she just started. As she said, “I’m just gonna get going because I feel drawn to doing this.”

YES. Just start. Don’t wait until you feel inspired or motivated, just start! And when you stop yourself because you don’t know where to start, start anyway. Anywhere!

We achieve being through doing, so get to doing.

Episode 39: Jeanine Donofrio; Love & Lemons

Jeanine Denofrio of the beautiful blog and cookbook, Love & Lemons

Sucky Moment of the Week (1/5) Jeanine splashed some spicy sauce right in her eye. Ow. Inspired Action Slow down, and take life one thing at a time.

Send in your sucky moments to podcast@angelawagnercoaching.com with any questions or inspired actions – you might be featured on the podcast!

Major Topic: Love & Lemons Jeanine Denofrio’s stunning food blog started as a relaxing after-work hobby. Now, she has a best-selling cookbook of the same name and great advice for anyone looking to pursue a creative project with more fire.

Ask Coach AWags Send in your questions on anything from life to love to diet and exercise (like yoga!) and beyond at podcast@angelawagnercoaching.com to be featured on the podcast.

Try This: You know that project you’ve been wanting to start forever… the one that’s been sitting in the back of your mind but you haven’t quite gotten to? Do it. Just sit down, and start. Anywhere.

Angela SHOUT out Local farmers are the best. Take a look around your neighborhood or city to find the farmers markets and other opportunities to shop local. It’s good for your health and for your community!

From the Episode:

AWC Goodies:

  • Angela was on a very exciting podcast with the unstoppable Kelly Roach. Click here to learn more!
  • Sign up for the AWC Newsletter for a free weekly dose of awesomeness from Angela. Just go to the home page and scroll down to enter your email and get connected!
  • Angela is gifting 40 FREE clarity calls to put some love and kindness out into the world for her 40th birthday. Sign up for your 40 for 40 call and spend 30 minutes with Angela to spark inspiration in your life.
  • Check out the 7 Days to Make Your Life Sparkle Challenge! Every day, Angela will send you a super quick and easy challenge that, over the next week, will help you clear out the physical and digital clutter that is weighing you down. Go to https://angelawagnercoaching.com/ to sign up!
  • Like what you hear on the podcast? Then check out Angela’s online program, Spark. Through simple and fun exercises (and on your time), Spark will help you gain 8 hours back in your week so you can stress less and do YOU.

Connect with us:

If this episode sparked something in you, please be sure to subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher, leave us a rating and review on iTunes (how to do that here!), and tell your friends about us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or good old-fashioned word of mouth! Thanks for visiting.

 

Differentiating “Need” and “Want”

This week on the podcast we talked about the Spending Fast I’m doing to majorly cut back on my expenses and save money for my 2,650-mile hike (or, as my grandma and the kids I babysit call it, my “very long walk”). The spending fast is different from a traditional budget in that there are no set spending limits for certain categories. In fact, there is only one category on which you’re supposed to spend any money at all: Your Needs.

Sounds simple, right? And it is! Simply identify your Needs, and spend money on ONLY those things. Simple. So very simple. And so very not easy at all (until you get the hang of it, that is).

At the beginning of this project, I had to write out a full list that separated out my Needs (think rent, groceries, gas, electricity) and my Wants (think clothing, eating out, drinking out, getting your hair did). Not only has this exercise helped me save boatloads of cash, but it also opened my eyes to how frivolous my spending habits had been.

We all spend unnecessarily. How could we not? It’s so convenient to pull out that plastic card every time we justify to ourselves that we need that new book or deserve a cupcake this one time or just can’t wait until we get home to eat because we’re starving. But, when you take a closer look, you might be surprised to find that, really, there’s not that much that you need.

Here are the top spending areas where I have saved money by putting them on the Wants list and cutting. them. out.

Books

  • Problem God did I have a problem with buying books. I genuinely felt FOMO if I left a Barnes & Noble without a bag of new books in hand. And of course I felt that way. I’m always listening to podcasts and reading articles and seeing Instagrams about these inspiring people and their new books coming out about subjects that, if I don’t read about, I will be dumb and out of the loop and no one will talk to me.
  • Solution Here’s a fun thing though! Books are free at the library, you just have to give them back. BOOM.

Knick Knacks/Souvenirs 

  • Problem When I go to a concert, I want a t-shirt. When I go on vacation, I want a t-shirt. When I walk in a cool art museum gift shop and am surrounded by the latest in modern design and watches with no numbers on them and upside-down octopuses that hold all your rings (!), I want all of it!!!!
  • Solution! Did you see all those times I said “want”? Yeah. Get over it.

Food

  • Problem Eating out is convenient. There’s food wherever I go! And my friends do it, so what am I gonna, like, not hang out with my friends? Also, what if I’m on a road trip and I get hungry and I need a Clif bar?
  • Solution! Groceries. Cooking. Bring yo snacks!!! These things not only save money, they essentially force you to eat healthier. And your friends don’t care if you eat before you come out with them and then still go out with them, I promise. If they do care, get new friends (also free!).

Drink

  • Problem Drinks are also convenient and often a huge part of social experiences. What if someone wants to meet up for coffee? What if I’m going out and I want to have a beer or a glass of wine
  • Solution! OK, if you want to drink alcohol, by no means am I saying to stop. Remember groceries?! Stock up on the cheap wine. Have a few drinks before you go out (I believe the kids call it “pregaming” (just kidding, I still am a kid and know for a fact we call it pregaming)), then go to the bar or concert or sporting event (that you already had tickets to because you’re not buying new things right now) with your friends! Drink water. Feel great in the morning. If someone wants to meet up for coffee, go watch them drink coffee or suggest that you meet somewhere else. Parks are good. So is your own house.

Clothes/Accessories

  • Problem I don’t think I even need to say anything here.
  • Solution! Unsubscribe from all the shopping newsletters and stay away from the stores. Out of sight, out of mind. Wear what you have, get creative with it, and if an occasion comes up that you don’t have an outfit for? Well, that’s what friends’ closets are for, my dear.

Subscriptions/Memberships

  • Problem OK this is a tough one. I had to do some digging here, because with the way auto-pay works now, it’s hard to even know all the services you’ve subscribed to without even realizing it. That one-year free trial you signed up for two years ago? Yeah, they have your CC info, and they are using it.
  • Solution! Identify the paid subscriptions you use on a daily or at least weekly basis and that add value to your life. For me it’s Spotify, Adobe Creative Cloud, and my membership to the climbing gym. You have to give yourself the things that feed you and keep you going, but recognize that you really don’t need a subscription to every magazine and a membership at three gyms. Then, get out your shovel and dig deeeep into your credit card statements to see who is billing you. Cancel those errant subscriptions that you just do. not. need. Goodbye, Angie’s List, thank you for your service.

Services

  • Problem Seems like we outsource everything these days. Uber drives us. The cleaners do our clothes. The nice ladies and gentlemen wash our cars and cut our hairs. Shit adds up.
  • Solution! Do. It. Your. Self. Or find a friend who’s good at it. Make it a car washing/laundry doing/driving to the airport party and bond with your friend over how fun doing things for free is. If you can’t do it yourself or get help getting it done, find the cheapest possible way to have someone do it for you.

Going Places

  • Problem I can’t just sit at home all day, I want to go places!
  • Solution! I’m writing this at a Public Library right now. Freaking awesome. This place is quiet and the Wi-Fi is free. No purchase required. No shitty Starbucks coffee. There’s all kinds of places to go where you can do things for free. Parks. Tons of museums. Walking around cool neighborhoods. Riding your bike.

There are tons of ways to save money if you know where to look. And, often, “where to look” is your own spending habits. Challenge your ideas of what you “need” to spend money on, and you’ll be saving money in no time.


Sarah Mowery is the Podcast Marketing Editor for the Spark – Inspire Your Life Podcast and an avid podcast listener. Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Sarah enjoys writing, playing outside, going to concerts, and anything else she can list here that will make you think she’s cool. Sarah is a 200-hour registered yoga teacher and a member of the teaching team at YogaSport in Dallas. You can read more of her writing here.

Episode 38: Sarah Saves $

40th Birthday Party: Coming to a theater near you

Sucky Moment of the Week (3/5) This week’s sucky moment could be the plot of a new Judd Apatow movie called “40th Birthday Party”: Scarves burn. Blowout appointments are canceled. It’s frustrating and hilarious. Inspired Action Enjoy the moment! Look around and see what you have to be grateful for, cause we bet it’s a lot.

Send in your sucky moments to podcast@angelawagnercoaching.com with any questions or inspired actions – you might be featured on the podcast!

Major Topic: Spending Fast In an effort to save money for her planned thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018, Sarah is taking on an extreme money-saving method called the Spending Fast.

Ask Coach AWags Send in your questions on anything from life to love to diet and exercise (like yoga!) and beyond at podcast@angelawagnercoaching.com to be featured on the podcast.

Try This: Create your “Needs and Wants” list, a list of all the things you could and do spend money on, categorized into “Needs” and “Wants”. Be honest with yourself (a glass of wine at the airport is not a need 😉). Keep a copy of the list with you everywhere you go, and stick to needs-ONLY spending for one week.

Sarah and Cam taking a siesta to hide out from the rain.

Sarah SHOUT out Cameron was the most fun, practical, up-for-anything adventure buddy Sarah could have asked for during their big Colorado backpacking expedition.

From the Episode:

AWC Goodies:

  • Angela was on a very exciting podcast with the unstoppable Kelly Roach. Click here to learn more!
  • Sign up for the AWC Newsletter for a free weekly dose of awesomeness from Angela. Just go to the home page and scroll down to enter your email and get connected!
  • Angela is gifting 40 FREE clarity calls to put some love and kindness out into the world for her 40th birthday. Sign up for your 40 for 40 call and spend 30 minutes with Angela to spark inspiration in your life.
  • Check out the 7 Days to Make Your Life Sparkle Challenge! Every day, Angela will send you a super quick and easy challenge that, over the next week, will help you clear out the physical and digital clutter that is weighing you down. Go to https://angelawagnercoaching.com/ to sign up!
  • Like what you hear on the podcast? Then check out Angela’s online program, Spark. Through simple and fun exercises (and on your time), Spark will help you gain 8 hours back in your week so you can stress less and do YOU.

Connect with us:

If this episode sparked something in you, please be sure to subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher, leave us a rating and review on iTunes (how to do that here!), and tell your friends about us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or good old-fashioned word of mouth! Thanks for visiting.

Cameron and his human-sized pack in the incredible San Juan Mountains
Maybe the “burnt” look will come in style?
Happy Mama Coco
And beautiful Princess Fiona

 

Angela on Unstoppable Success Radio with Kelly Roach!

Success looks different for everyone, but one woman who is working hard to give entrepreneurs and business owners the tools to get there is Kelly Roach. Her podcast, Unstoppable Success Radio, is an inspiring show where some of the most accomplished business owners and entrepreneurs share their strategies and secrets to increasing productivity, fast-tracking their businesses, and achieving their goals.

So, the exciting news: Our very own Angela Wagner was a guest on Kelly’s show this week! They talked about how to shift your mind back into neutral so you can slow down, brush away distractions, and re-focus on what matters.

If you love what you hear on Spark, make sure to tune into the episode and check out more of Kelly’s work.

Here’s where to find it: Kelly Roach Coaching – Angela Wagner

Episode 37: Megan Lyons; Nutrition Made Easiest

Health coach, Megan Lyons, from The Lyons’ Share Wellness

Sucky Moment of the Week (1/5) Megan wasn’t a fan on the traffic on her way from Dallas to Austin. Inspired Action Don’t sweat the things you can’t control. It could always be worse.

Send in your sucky moments to podcast@angelawagnercoaching.com with any questions or inspired actions – you might be featured on the podcast!

Major Topic: Nutrition Megan Lyons, health coach and best-selling author, inspires her clients to feel their healthiest and happiness with her simple approach to wellness. This week, she’ll share some of her best tips for healthy eating made easiest.

Ask Coach AWags Send in your questions on anything from life to love to diet and exercise (like yoga!) and beyond at podcast@angelawagnercoaching.com to be featured on the podcast.

Healthy snacking made easiest with veggie packs

Try This: Either 1) Eat a veggie pack as your snack, 2) Calculate your water intake and drink that amount for the week, or 3) think about your macronutrient balance and see if you can mix up your usual meals with some fat, protein, and carbohydrate variety. Or be a rock star and do all 3 💪🏼

Megan SHOUT out 100 times over to her clients for staying focused and motivated throughout the summer, when many people tend to lose track of their health.

From the Episode:

AWC Goodies:

  • Sign up for the AWC Newsletter for a free weekly dose of awesomeness from Angela. Just go to the home page and scroll down to enter your email and get connected!
  • Angela is gifting 40 FREE clarity calls to put some love and kindness out into the world for her 40th birthday. Sign up for your 40 for 40 call and spend 30 minutes with Angela to spark inspiration in your life.
  • Check out the 7 Days to Make Your Life Sparkle Challenge! Every day, Angela will send you a super quick and easy challenge that, over the next week, will help you clear out the physical and digital clutter that is weighing you down. Go to https://angelawagnercoaching.com/ to sign up!
  • Like what you hear on the podcast? Then check out Angela’s online program, Spark. Through simple and fun exercises (and on your time), Spark will help you gain 8 hours back in your week so you can stress less and do YOU.

Connect with us:

If this episode sparked something in you, please be sure to subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher, leave us a rating and review on iTunes (how to do that here!), and tell your friends about us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or good old-fashioned word of mouth! Thanks for visiting.

Not So Sweet: Hidden Sources of Sugar

Top 10 Sources of Hidden Added Sugar

This is a contribution from Megan Lyons, owner of The Lyons’ Share Wellness (http://www.thelyonsshare.org/health-coaching/).  For more tips and tricks from Megan, follow her on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/thelyonsshare/), and join her Free Coaching Friday series on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thelyonssharewellness) to get your questions answered!

It’s not breaking nutrition news that sugar is detrimental to our health.  Excess sugar consumption has been linked to weight gain and obesity, uncontrollable cravings, cavities, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, premature aging, mood swings and irritability, and so much more.  Even though we know that it is harmful, however, our consumption continues to skyrocket – the average American eats over 20 teaspoons of sugar per day, making up between 230 and 362 calories in our daily diet.  That’s over 75 pounds of sugar per year!

It’s nearly impossible – and unnecessary – to avoid sugar all together.  A moderate amount of fruit (especially when balanced by a diet high in vegetables, healthy fats, and protein), dairy for those who can tolerate it, and even a bit of honey or maple syrup here and there won’t lead to health problems.  However, these little bits of added sugar are found in nearly everything, and they can quickly add up if we are not careful.  

Limiting our consumption of added sugar – while difficult – is one of the most important steps we can take towards maintaining a healthy weight, balanced energy levels, and overall optimal health.  Below are my top 10 sources of hidden added sugar, along with healthier substitutes, so that you can become a sugar sleuth and support your best health.  Don’t let yourself get swept away on the sugar roller coaster!

Spaghetti sauce:

  • Examples: It might be one of the last places you’d expect to find added sugar, but most pre-prepared spaghetti sauce is loaded with it.  A ½-cup serving of Prego Tomato, Onion, & Garlic sauce has 12 grams of sugar, or 3 teaspoons, and most of it is added sugar (“sugar” falls right after “dehydrated onions” on the ingredient list).  Most people use double or triple the serving size, which means they could easily have the same amount of sugar as a can of Coke … right on top of their pasta!  
  • Upgrades: Replace it with plain canned tomato sauce with some Italian seasoning stirred in (a ½-cup has 4 grams of naturally occurring sugar), or simply sauté some fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, and oregano in olive oil.  For a prepared option, try Uncle Steve’s (http://amzn.to/2esqQ5k).

Barbecue Sauce

 

  • Examples: Two tablespoons of KC Masterpiece Original barbecue sauce contain a full three teaspoons of sugar.  I recall my family making barbecued chicken with about a half a bottle of barbecue sauce (a whopping 51 teaspoons of sugar, split between our 4-person family), so I think it’s safe to say that it can quickly add up.  
  • Upgrades: To upgrade your barbecue sauce, try marinating chicken in olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs.  Even if you “must” spread a thin layer of barbecue sauce on after cooking, you’re still reducing your intake dramatically.  For a prepared option, try Simple Girl (http://amzn.to/2glGNaq).

 

 

Ketchup:

  • Examples: The third ingredient in Heinz ketchup is high fructose corn syrup, and the fourth is corn syrup – just picture a ketchup bottle ¼ full of sugar, and that’s exactly what you’re putting on your burger!  
  • Upgrades: I recommend swapping for tomato slices or salsa, which give a lot of flavor with low calories and no added sugar.  For a prepared option, try Sir Kensington’s (http://amzn.to/2w4EK4R).

 

 

Salad dressing:

  • Examples: By now, you’re probably noticing a trend: many sauces tend to be sugar-laden.  Salad dressings are no exception, and the ones labeled “fat-free” are often the worst culprits, since food manufacturers have to enhance the taste with something (added sugar!) after removing the fat.  Two tablespoons of Kraft Fat-Free Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing have 9 grams of sugar.  In fact, the dressing contains more sugar than vinegar, oil, raspberry, or anything else aside from water!  
  • Upgrades: To upgrade your dressing, look for dressings with 2 grams or less per serving.  I recommend using olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.  I often enjoy dressing a salad simply with avocado oil and salt, hummus, or salsa and avocado for a Mexican-inspired salad.  For a prepared option, try Tessemae’s Balsamic Vinaigrette or other flavors (https://www.tessemaes.com/collections/dressings/products/organic-balsamic).

 

Yogurt:

  • Examples: You may think that you’re making the healthier choice by opting for yogurt at breakfast, but if you’re reaching for a version laden with added sugars, you may be wrong.  Yogurt is one of the top places food manufacturers hide added sugar – a 6-ounce container of Yoplait Strawberry has 25 grams of sugar (more than 6 teaspoons!), and Kraft Breyers Smooth & Creamy Lowfat Strawberry Yogurt has a whopping 39 grams (nearly 10 teaspoons).  
  • Upgrades: Any yogurt will have some sugar, because milk products contain lactose, a naturally-occurring sugar.  A plain 6-ounce serving of Fage 0% Greek yogurt contains 7 grams, for example.  Remember to check the ingredient list to see if sugar (or any of its many other names) are high in the ranking.  In general, I recommend staying away from any yogurt with more than 15 grams of sugar per serving.  It is helpful to choose plain varieties (rather than fruit flavored varieties), and add your own flavoring with berries, other chopped fruit, canned pumpkin and cinnamon, or cocoa powder and stevia for a chocolaty treat.  Even adding a small drizzle of honey or maple syrup will give you far less added sugar than the pre-sweetened varieties.  For prepared options, try Fage plain yogurt, Quark flavored yogurt, or Siggi’s flavored yogurt.

Muffins:

 

  • Examples: Even the healthier-sounding muffins at Starbucks contain up to 34 grams (they have recently redone their menu, as previous versions had up to 57 grams of sugar each!), and it’s not just Starbucks.  The Cinnamon Crumb muffin at Corner Bakery has 50 grams; the Coffee Cake muffin at Dunkin’ Donuts has 51 grams (in fact, you could have 5 Bavarian Cream donuts for less sugar!).  

Energy bars, protein bars, granola bars:

 

 

  • Examples: If I had a dollar for every time a client told me they ate an energy bar instead of an apple, thinking they were making a healthy decision, I would be a happy camper.  Not only do most energy bars contain preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and more chemical-sounding ingredients than you can imagine, but they often contain high amounts of added sugar.  A Clif bar – often touted as a healthy snack – contains 24 grams of sugar.  The first ingredient (even before oats!) is brown rice syrup, a source of added sugar.  The “Performance Energy” PowerBar contains 28 grams of sugar, and the first ingredient is a combination of various types of sugars.  Of course, this is far less harmful if you’re in the act of running a marathon or a multi-hour bike ride, but for the average person picking up a bar in the checkout aisle of the supermarket, the sugar is doing more harm than good.  
  • Upgrades: To upgrade your bars, look for bars that have only naturally occurring sugar (Larabars, for example, are fairly high in total sugar, at 18 grams each, but the sugar comes from fruit only, rather than added sugar).  Lower sugar, higher protein bars are also available, and are great options for many people, but the “best” bar really varies by person.  Depending on the clients’ goals, the sensitivity of their stomachs, their dietary restrictions, and their preferences, I have a wide range of bars that I frequently recommend.  Regardless, I recommend choosing one with minimal added sugar, at least 3 grams of fiber, and at least 5 grams of protein and / or healthy fat.  A few of my favorites are Paleo Protein Bars (http://amzn.to/2rtJFJM), 22 Days bars (http://amzn.to/2v6FvKx), or No Cow bars (http://amzn.to/2edYeeo).

Breakfast cereal:

  • Examples: Starting your day with a high dosage of added sugar sets you up for more cravings throughout the day, and leads to general blood sugar instability.  What a shame, then, that so many of the foods we feed our children first thing in the morning contain so much added sugar!  There are the obvious sources, like Kellogg’s Froot Loops, which clock in at 13 grams per serving and contain more sugar than anything else, and Kellogg’s Honey Smacks (initially called “Sugar Smacks”), which are over 50% sugar by weight.  And it’s not just the indulgent-sounding varieties that are sugar bombs.  Even healthier sounding products often contain large quantities of sugar – a 1-cup serving of Post Raisin Bran contains 19 grams of sugar (nearly 5 teaspoons), and a ¾ cup serving of Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran contains 14 grams.  
  • Upgrades: To upgrade your cereal, first watch your portion sizes. It can be helpful to measure out a correct portion at least a few times, so you learn to eyeball the appropriate size.  Second, choose a healthier cereal.  I recommend looking for a cereal with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving, at least 3 grams of fiber, and at least 3 grams of protein or healthy fat.  There are some available cereals that contain just one ingredient, the grain itself (for example, puffed millet or puffed kamut).  I also recommend that clients add in a tablespoon of chia seeds or slivered almonds to their cereal bowl, to provide a bit of extra healthy fat that will slow the blood sugar spike, and some optional blueberries, to provide a good dose of micronutrients to start the day.  For more on this, and to hear some options that I recommend, watch this video: https://www.facebook.com/TheLyonsShareWellness/videos/1379645332121198.

 

Dried fruit:

  • Examples: If dried fruit seems too delicious to be healthy, unfortunately, it probably is.  Not only do most food manufacturers add in significant amounts of sugar to sweeten the dried fruit, but the process of drying removes water, which concentrates even the naturally-occurring sugar and makes it more likely to spike your blood sugar.  Half a cup of fresh cranberries, for example, contains just 2 grams of sugar, but half a cup of Craisins (sweetened dried cranberries) contains 58 grams!  
  • Upgrades: To upgrade your afternoon snack, simply choose whole fruit whenever possible.  When you do choose dried fruit, be sure to seek out the kinds without added sugar, and rely upon the sweet taste from the fruit itself.  For prepared options, try Matt’s Munchies (http://amzn.to/2gsiI5j) or KIND Fruit Bites (http://amzn.to/2vIRfPn), and limit to one serving per day!

Coffee drinks:

  • Examples: The large Frozen Sugar Cookie Coffee Coolatta (made with skim milk) at Dunkin’ Donuts contains 141 grams of sugar, or over 35 teaspoons.  The Venti Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha at Starbucks contains 108 grams. Surely, the consumers who choose one of these options are not thinking they’re making the healthiest possible decision, but they probably aren’t anticipating that they are consuming over 5 days’ worth of added sugar in one sweet cup.  
  • Upgrades: To upgrade your coffee shop choice, a simple coffee or tea is your best bet, and contains no sugar.  If that’s going too far, try a simple latte … a Starbucks Grande Caffe Latte with coconut milk contains just 8 grams of sugar, and the version made with nonfat milk contains just 11 grams.  Better yet, save your money and brew a nice cup of coffee or tea yourself, using Nutpods (http://amzn.to/2ocFTTF) as a delicious and creamy, sugar-free addition!  

Note: this is an updated excerpt from “Start Here: 7 Easy, Diet-Free Steps to Achieve Your Ultimate Health and Happiness.”  For much more on how to reduce sugar, and 5 more hidden sources of added sugar, buy the book here: http://amzn.to/2e5C905!