I’ve been an athlete my entire life. Whether I was dancing, running cross country, or playing soccer, I was always on the move. Being so active meant that I could eat whatever I wanted and maintain a healthy weight.
But let me tell you, the “Freshman 15” is a real thing and I experienced it firsthand during my first year at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Unlike when I was younger, eating carelessly started to catch up to me. My schoolwork and athletic performances suffered because the food I was eating wasn’t giving me the nourishment I needed, and I constantly felt sluggish.
I knew I needed to make a change. The following summer, I joined a Crossfit gym that introduced me to the Paleo Diet—a diet centered on the foods consumed by hunter-gatherers in the Paleolithic Age. The diet is built on the consumption of fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and nuts.
I decided to give it a try alongside my parents. Within the first five weeks I had lost eight pounds and dropped six percent body fat. I was hooked.
Since then, I’ve continued to successfully follow the diet. Now that I have my first real job at HMSA, I had to find a way to keep myself on track at work. Here’s what I keep in my drawer:
· Sweet potato bites—Since moving to Hawaii I’ve become a huge fan of sweet potato and taro chips but would always find myself eating more than I should. I’ve started slicing my own sweet potatoes at home, roasting and seasoning them with cayenne pepper and garlic powder, and have them as a snack throughout the day.
· Raisins—Raisins are an awesome snack to hold you over until lunchtime and are relatively low-calorie/low sugar. One small box is usually 100 calories for those watching their weight.
· Tuna—Pre-packaged tuna cans and pouches are another great snack if you don’t want to eat a full lunch. For only 80 calories per can, you can enjoy a lean protein and still feel full afterwards.
· Turkey jerky—I am a huge fan of beef jerky, but have found a new love in turkey jerky. It has far fewer calories and fat than beef and is a great snack in moderation. Just be sure to check the sodium on the package.