February 04, 2020

The Difference Between Snacks and Treats (and some healthy snack ideas)

"Do you think we should wake her up?" Eli asked Noah this morning, which is how I woke up at 6:35. I forgot to set my alarm last night! The kids got up at 6:00 and got ready for school. I was so confused when I woke up. I asked, "Did Daddy fall asleep on the couch?" and Eli said he wasn't there. Then I realized Jerry was working and *I* was supposed to be up to get them to school!

So, yesterday was Day 1 of my 30-Day Challenge: no snacking after dinner. I'm so used to eating most of my calories at night, so I was planning for this to be a difficult change for me.

I had to go grocery shopping yesterday (ugh) but I spent some time meal planning and figuring out some healthier solutions for the whole family. The kids have been eating too much junk lately, and I really don't want them to get into those bad habits.

I decided to go the treat vs. snack route with them. A "treat" (in my opinion) is something that has no nutritional value; it just tastes good. A "snack" is something to carry you to the next meal, and is at least somewhat nutritious.

So, I told the kids they can have one treat per day, but if they are hungry between meals, they can have snacks. I even wrote a list of ideas for them, so they don't constantly ask me, "What can I eat?" (I hate that question). I bought lots of fruits and veggies yesterday, so here were a few ideas:

any fruit (I bought Cuties, apples, and pears)
apple or pear slices with cinnamon
banana with peanut butter
carrots with peanut butter
raw veggies with dip (broccoli, carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, and mini bell peppers with a homemade ranch dip)
Chia bar
veggies (or pretzels) with hummus
almonds or pistachios

Our family definitely doesn't get enough vegetables, so I really want all of us to get more. I bought a big container of spring mix for salads with dinner (just a small side salad--the kids can't complain about that).

I got them a treat to have as their "bedtime snack"--some ice cream sandwiches. I like the individually wrapped things, so it's easier to have just one serving.

I also told them they cannot have pop anymore. I don't buy it (Jerry and I don't really like it) but my parents do, and every time the kids go to my parents' house, they drink pop. And since the summer, they started buying it at the party store, which is just a couple of blocks away. So, I told them the only time they can have it is if they have friends come over or they are at a party with their friends.

I bought some grape juice and sparkling water, so they can have something (a little) healthier to drink (mix the grape juice and sparkling water 50/50). Not perfect, but definitely better than pop!

Anyway, I managed to count calories all day yesterday AND stop eating after dinner. Honestly? It wasn't even difficult! I was pretty busy (I didn't go grocery shopping until 5:00, and by the time I got home, everyone was starving.

I wasn't hungry when I woke up, so I just waited until I felt hungry. Finally, at 10:30, I decided to make a high-calorie brunch, and then wait until dinnertime to eat again. And high calorie it was. Haha! It didn't seem like it should have been, because it wasn't a lot of food, but the calories were over 900.

I made scrambled eggs (3) with a shredded potato, cooked in butter and added cheese (topped it all with ketchup). And a piece of toast with butter on the side. Decaf coffee with heavy cream. That's it!

It really filled me up though until dinner, though.

I made a very simple dish that is surprisingly really good--pasta with cabbage and smoked sausage. You just melt 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and 2 Tbsp. of butter in a pot and add the sausage (sliced). Let it cook for a minute and then add the cabbage (diced). Cook until the cabbage is wilted.

Meanwhile, cook pasta (I used penne) and when it's done, add it to the pot with the sausage and cabbage. Add salt and pepper, and that's it! It's super simple, but the sausage gives it a lot of flavor.

It may not be the prettiest dish, but nothing I make ever is ;)

After eating dinner, it was 7:00. I had a blog post to write, and I watched a show with Jerry (I had a La Croix water instead of a snack). By the time I was done writing my blog post, it was time to go to bed! No snacks, and I wasn't even hungry. Total calories yesterday: 1457. I even had enough energy for sex, which is rare lately! (Sorry, Mom, if you're reading this.)

At the store, I actually bought some Smart Ones meals. I know frozen convenience food isn't "healthy", but I think it will help me to get back on an eating schedule. I HATE trying to come up with lunch ideas, and I usually get frustrated enough to skip lunch, then make up for it later.

So, I have a bunch of Larabars for breakfasts, Smart Ones meals for lunches, and then a meal plan for dinner (which I insisted to the family that I stick to!). I even planned a slow cooker meal for Wednesday, which is our busiest day of the week (I literally spend about 90% of my day in the car for school and appointments).

I also plan to have veggies and dip for a snack between lunch and dinner, since we are having dinner later than usual now.

All-in-all, I feel like I have a good plan put together, and I'm glad the kids (and Jerry!) are on board with the whole thing. I just need to get back to running (I hate that the three months I spent getting back to it feel like a waste because I only ran once in January). I wish I could write about the personal details that have been happening, but all I can say is that I have never been so stressed out in my life as I have over the last few months. I try so hard to remind myself that it's not going to last forever.

I feel good about the dietary changes, and I hope that the whole family can create some new healthy habits!


  1. I think the Smart Ones are a good tool. I actually use Premier Protein shakes to get myself back in the habit of a regular breakfast because I'm terrible about eating it. When I get sick of them, it's pretty easy to replace them with food but if I go from no breakfast to breakfast I feel like it's too much hassle, not worth the time, etc.

    1. My weight watchers coach also referred me to premier protein shakes as an afternoon snack so I don’t binge at dinner and I totally think it helps. 2pts!

  2. I truly love your blog!!! I have been reading it daily (or at least checking to see if you posted daily) for the last several years. You have no idea how much it helps to know that other people are going through the same ups and downs in life. Thanks for your bravery and honesty!!!

  3. I like to make an egg scramble by adding a cup of any type of veggies to the eggs. If I don't have any leftovers I just nuke a cup of frozen to add. Sometimes I also add 1/2 cup of brown rice. Super filling!

  4. Hello, Katie. Longtime reader here. I just wanted to express my appreciation for your unflinching honesty about your health and weight-loss goals. In an age of perfectly Instagrammable pictures, your candor really stands out and is inspiring to all of us who struggle in a daily basis. I was especially struck by your post a little while ago about how your weight had only fluctuated by five pounds or so and seemed to be settling around 160 lbs. I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the pictures you posted at that weight and the picture of yourself in the 130s. You look happy, healthy, and content. Way to go!

  5. I really continue to appreciate how honest you are in your posts. Your tone, as a writer, is so upbeat, kind, and encouraging of others that it is sometimes surprising to see that juxtaposed with your sharing how stressed you are. I find it really refreshing and reassuring that I am (and we all are) not alone. I also just need to remind you that what you share here is definitely a touchstone and a guide for a lot of us who are dealing with similar things. I think last year must have been the hardest year of my life thus far, which I didn't really fully realize until it was like, November (lol), because I think often, when we're going through it, it's hard to see what a tough place we are in. It also meant that I stopped taking care of myself like, altogether. Your blog definitely helped me feel validated AND get back on track. So, thank you!

  6. I have trouble with breakfasts (I don't really like eating it, but I know I do overall better through the day if I do eat it) and lunches (too tempting to go out at lunch because I just want a break from the office). So the last couple months (save one totally off the rails week), I've been making something on the weekend that I eat all week for lunch. Typically baked oatmeal (discovered a banana nut recipe that is the bomb) and a soup (instant pot recipes mostly). Pack both into individual containers on the weekend and eat all week by throwing one of each into my lunch bag with a piece of fruit for "dessert" and good to go. Been trying to meal plan dinners, but that is still a work in progress.


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