Remember when you were separated from your loved ones for a period of time (college, camp, exchange student, etc.) and someone from home would send you a box full of your favorite things? Or have you ever put together a box of goodies to send to someone (perhaps creature comforts for our military overseas, or for an adopted family at Christmas)? In any event, items were gathered together that were thought to be enjoyable and comforting to the receiver. It’s called a care package – because you CARE about the person for whom it’s being prepared.
Well my friend, that same concept can be used in your health journey, too. If you care enough about yourself to become healthier, then make sure to set yourself up for success. Make a care package for yourself! Whether you’re a full-time office dweller, feel like you’ve become the modern day chauffeur in your mode of transportation, or find yourself otherwise parted from your healthy snacks you’ve tucked away in your pantry, you can use this method to keep you on track all day and not have to make that mid-morning or mid-afternoon junk food run.
Find foods that are healthy and satisfying that will stave off the craving. Gear it towards your work environment. Don’t have a fridge where your care package will be? Then your care package will be filled with delicious non-perishables. Have one? Then you may want to take advantage of that and make two care packages – one for the fridge and one for your other area.
I use this method to supplement my day. I’m not talking about packing your lunch for a week (that’s another topic for another article). What the care package should be is more of a life preserver; to prevent the fast food / junk food run when you have the ‘hangries’.
Of course, whatever you are doing for your new eating habits, make sure your care package conforms to that plan also. Here are some examples of what I put in mine:
- Applesauce cups
- Minute Rice brown rice cups (1/2 cup servings)
- Peanut butter (1 Tbl at a time)
- Cans of low-fat soup
- 100 calorie granola bars
- Jerky (beef or turkey)
- Nuts (portioned out servings)
- Trail Mix (portioned out servings)
- Zero Calorie water flavorings
- Tea Bags
- Tuna (foil packs or pop top cans)
- 100 calorie popcorn / microwave
- Light string cheese
- Fuji apples
- Low fat cottage cheese (portioned out or in single servings)
- Baby carrots
- Yogurt cups
- Jello or pudding cups
- Dill pickles
But Julie, not everything is ‘clean’ on your list. So what! I try and do my best to eat natural foods most of the time, but sometimes you just want a little cheat. And if that prevents me (or you) from falling off the cliff and into a pile of potato chips, then so be it. The world is not coming to a screeching halt because I ate a Jello cup.
These are just a few ideas, and I’m sure you can come up with some of your own. Assembly? Easy. Go to the local ‘mart’ and buy a plastic tub (a little larger than a shoe box with an interlocking lid). Get two if you are going to have a fridge care package as well. Stick all your goodies inside, and put a sign on the lid that you’ll see before you open it that reads, “CARE PACKAGE. FOR EMERGENCY USE ONLY!” Remember, this isn’t a green light to dip into the box of deliciousness five times a day. This is meant to be a safety net for you a couple times a day if needed. Maybe you’ll only need something once a day, or not at all.
Once you start using your care package and see how well it’s working, or when other people start sniping at your box of deliciousness, you can pass this along to your friends and tell them how to make their own care package. Is the care package an Earth-shattering idea that will change your life forever? Probably not, but it WILL help you reach your goal of being healthier, fitting into ‘those jeans’ again, or reaching whatever goal you have set for yourself.
And remember to please shoot me an email or comment below with what items you like in your care package, how this is working out for you, and how you’ve made the idea your own.
Stay Healthy –
*Disclaimer: As with anything if you have special dietary needs, don’t be stupid! These are my suggestions that work for me. Don’t eat things you can’t, and don’t sue me because you ate items on the lists you shouldn’t have. Now go be an adult and get healthy!