Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Highway 1 and the Snack Bag

We woke up in Carmel to a heavy gray blanket of mist hanging over the shore, reminding us both of the gothic romance novels from childhood. Not to be deterred, we donned our ubiquitous yoga pants and runners (that’s Canadian for tennies) and trotted over to a local coffee shop we had spied the night before. After ordering our morning Americanos (with steamed soy milk for McKenzie and a little half & half for Lisa, in case you’re wondering…), we headed to the beach. We quickly shed our shoes and socks and walked barefoot in the wet sand, reveling in the quiet serenity of the early morning.

Planning to have breakfast before hitting the road, we struck out three times in a row.  Each of the restaurants in town specializing in local, sustainable foods stopped serving breakfast at 11:00.  We were still coveting the gorgeous skillet of eggs and veggies we spied at La Bicyclette before settling on breakfast from the snack bag—dried fruit, nuts and a nectarine—to tide us over until lunch.

Back on the road, we once again headed south on Route 1, planning to wind our way through Big Sur country before landing in San Luis Obispo.  The fog soon cleared to uncover breathtaking views of rugged coastline under clear blue skies.  The road, carved high into the cliffs, gave unobstructed views of the waves crashing onto the rocks and beach below.  Why don’t we live on the Central Coast again?

We stopped at Ventana Inn and Spa, just to check out the grounds and see the view.  We would have liked to stay awhile.  Like, forever.


Just in time for lunch we arrived in Big Sur and the Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant We were a little disappointed they didn’t serve their renown pizza for lunch (a good excuse to return for dinner!), but we quickly settled on the runner-up—open-faced caprese sandwiches with heirloom tomatoes on homemade bread, and beautiful and simply dressed greens.  After ordering from the counter, we carried our lunch to the rough-hewn picnic tables on the outdoor patio.  The sun beat so hot we could hardly hold our silverware, but we managed to eat every bite.  Delicious.  We bought two scones to replenish the snack bag (one’s that rivaled our favorite Mount Bakery marionberry scones!) and kept driving.

Before arriving in San Luis Obispo, we made a brief stop at the beach in San Simeon to see (and laugh at!) the elephant seals Their bodies are so huge and heavy they can only catapult themselves a few feet before collapsing in exhaustion, their blubber waving down their bodies.  They wait a few moments and then try again.  It’s very amusing.

We’d been on the road for about six hours by the time we got to SLO, as the locals call San Luis Obispo.  This is McKenzie’s old stomping grounds, as she got her degree in Nutrition from Cal Poly We first hit one of her favorite spots, the downtown farmer’s market, where you can buy five avocados for $1 (or something ridiculous like that)!  Next, we stopped in at Natural CafĂ©, where McKenzie used to be a manager, so she could run back to the kitchen and hug the cooks.

Our last stop of the night was the international-themed restaurant Novo to meet McKenzie’s friends Devon and Branden for dinner.  The outdoor creek-side patio twinkled with white lights, the perfect setting for a glass of wine and an evening with good friends.  Great day.  Next—day two in SLO and our NourishRDs photo shoot!          

And Now…More About the Snack Bag

It’s on an ongoing inside joke between the two of us that we never leave home without our Mixed Bag Designs snack bag. And our snack bag isn’t just any ol’ snack bag—it’s a suitcase. A normal snack bag could be the size of a lunch tote, but ours looks more like this Perhaps our snack bag is so big because we constantly accumulate leftovers, or perhaps it’s because we’re firm believers in the benefits of nourishing our bodies throughout the day.

Our clients, friends, and families often tell us they go all day without eating, allow themselves to get over-hungry and then tend to eat their day’s worth of food (or more) at night. Sound familiar? While studies show that eating food at night doesn’t necessarily lead to weight gain, it is still important to eat throughout the day. Eating regularly helps keep your metabolism going at a happy, speedy pace and keeps you focused and energetic from dawn till dusk.
When it comes to snacking, we have a few strategies guaranteed to help you feel your best all day long:

#1. Think of your snacks as mini meals. Snacking doesn’t necessarily involve opening a bag of potato chips or a eating a chocolate bar. Think of snacking as a good opportunity to sneak in more nutrients. Take advantage of your snacking time!

#2. Follow our simple equation:

Fiber + Protein and/or Healthy Fat = Satisfying & Nourishing Snack

A.    Good sources of fiber include fresh or dried fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grains including whole grain crackers, granola or granola bars, whole wheat bread, pita, or tortillas.
B.      Good sources of protein include nuts & nut butters, beans, cheese, lean meats, eggs, or yogurt.
C.     Good sources of healthy fat are nuts & nut butters, avocados, olive or canola oil, and flax seeds.

Try these fiber and protein combos (made into fun equations) for satisfying & nourishing snacking:

A. plain Greek yogurt (stir in some vanilla for added flavor) + scoop of berries + sprinkle of granola
B. 2 tbsp hummus + veggies (carrots or celery sticks, sliced bell pepper, cherry tomatoes…)
C. 1 small banana + 1-2 tbsp nut butter (almond and hazelnut butter are our favorites!)
D. 2 tbsp dried fruit (please try dried cherries – they are so delicious) + 2 tbsp nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, peanuts…)
E.  1 medium apple + slice of cheddar cheese
F.  1 whole wheat pita + avocado mashed with Greek yogurt
G. 1 slice whole wheat bread + dipped in 1-2 tbsp olive oil & balsamic vinegar
H. sliced tomatoes + 1 -2oz sliced mozzarella cheese (topped with fresh basil & a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic for added flavor)

#3. Listen to your body for hunger cues. Are you reaching into the snack bag because you’re really hungry or because you’re sad, bored, frustrated, etc?  If you’re unsure, wait 20 minutes. After the time has passed and you still feel like you need a snack, chances are you’re really hungry.

#4. Enjoy and savor your snack. If you focus on the moment, you’ll be more likely to make healthier choices, more satisfied after you finish eating, and less likely to reach for something when you’re not really hungry.

#5. Nourish your body every 3 -5 hours. If you aren’t used to eating very much throughout the day, this may seem like a lot, but soon you’ll learn to appreciate snacks as much as we do! They will help keep your mind sharp, your body energized, and help prevent you from over-eating at meal times.

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