We’ve loved Julie Fagan’s Peanut Butter Fingers blog since we discovered it a few years ago. She’s a down to earth gal that blogs about her life and eating adventures in a seriously relatable way. Julie’s got a great perspective on wellness, so we couldn’t think of a better person to talk to about making healthy eating fit into your everyday life. Here’s what she had to say about how she squelches mindless nibbling, keeps her sweet tooth in check, and maintains a healthy relationship with food.
Willow & Stephanie: Do you ever catch yourself nibbling on things in between meals while working from home, just because they’re around? If so, do you have any tips or tricks for keeping yourself from grazing all day/nibbling when you’re not hungry?
Julie Fagan: Oh gosh, yes! I used to actually have a stash of snacks that I would keep in a drawer in my home office. I realized pretty quickly that I was munching on the snacks simply because they were there and not because I was actually hungry. Now I make it a point to have a good breakfast and quality snacks. Rather than grab a bag of pretzels for my mid-morning snack, I try to take the time to fix myself a snack that has protein, healthy fats and carbs. My favorite snack lately is ricotta cheese topped with a sliced nectarine, slivered almonds, and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.
W&S: What is one of your biggest challenges to healthy eating? Perhaps one thing that you have to make a conscious effort to work on everyday?
JF: Not eating sweets for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I am all about eating baked goods and ice cream every day, but not after every meal every day. If I wasn’t concerned about my personal health and nutrition, I swear I would be perfectly happy eating ice cream at every meal. Knowing how much better I feel after eating a nutritious meal helps me keep my sweet tooth at bay. I really don’t like the lethargy and “sugar coma” feeling that comes with eating a ton of sweet treats and try to remember how that feels compared with how great I feel after eating a nutritious meal when I’m tempted to break into the sweet treats at breakfast.
W&S: What are the major goals you strive for with regard to how you eat?
JF: I really try to eat a colorful diet and incorporate fruits and vegetables into nearly every meal. Of course this doesn’t always happen, but making it a goal to eat five servings of fruits and veggies every day gives me an eating goal that is both delicious and good for my body. In my previous job, I did a lot of writing about cancer and disease and read a lot of research about the impact of a healthy diet on disease prevention. That’s also a big motivator for me to try to eat healthy every day.
W&S: You seem to strike a great balance between enjoying food and keeping it healthy. Does this come naturally to you? What advice do you have for our readers in terms of achieving this balance for themselves?
JF: I think that my relationship with food formed very early. I grew up in a house that cared about health, but also loved dessert. This rings true for me to this day. I will never shy away from dessert if I want dessert. I think that when we tell ourselves we can’t have something, we immediately want it. Knowing I can eat whatever I want but that I CHOOSE to select mostly healthy things for my body takes the emphasis off of restriction and onto overall health.
W&S: What was the last new meal/recipe that you tried and loved?
A. I fell in love with dark chocolate avocado mousse. It sounds totally crazy, but it was incredible. It only involved three ingredients – a ripe avocado, cocoa powder and honey – and tasted like brownie batter!
JF: If you were stranded on a desert island and were allowed an unlimited supply of 5 foods/ beverages, what would they be?
- Sparkling water to keep me hydrated and ALIVE
- Apples because nothing tastes better than an apple on a hot day and aren’t they supposed to be “nature’s toothbrush”?
- Peanut butter because it’s heaven in a jar and a great source of healthy fat and protein
- Pizza topped with cheese and vegetables
- Ice cream because nothing is more delicious in all the land and I’ll need some source of pure joy if I’m stranded.
Thanks Julie! We love hearing about how you balance your love of sweets with your passion for health and wellness. That chocolate avocado mousse sounds so delicious — weʼll be trying that one soon for sure!
Have a question for Julie? Contact her over at Peanut Butter Fingers.