LEE ANNE GRACE: Tips offered to help defeat attack by munchie monsters

By Lee Anne Grace

A relentless desire to overeat can strike at the most inopportune times. I do my best to prevent an onslaught of munchie monsters crossing the moat and scaling the walls of my stomach. Despite my solid, well-intended plans, an army of munchie monsters will occasionally attempt to strike. The pesky little creatures usually don’t cause me to defect to their side. I have a battle plan that will leave those nutritional wreckers in the dust. If I stick with the plan, I come out the winner every time.
• I always have an apple or a Fiber One bar in my purse.
• Fresh seasonal fruit, nonfat Greek yogurt, hummus, baby carrots, celery and string cheese are the first things I see when I open the refrigerator. I have to go past them to get to anything else.
• I keep ingredients on hand for homemade smoothies. My most recent favorite is watermelon/banana. I purchased a few watermelons, cut them up, then, froze the cubes in gallon ziplock bags. I blend 1 banana, 1 cup fat-free milk, about 2 cups of frozen watermelon chunks and sweetener to taste.
• My secret weapon to defeat the munchie monsters is kept in the pantry. PB2 is powdered peanut butter that is reconstituted with water. It comes in regular and chocolate flavors. With total calories for 2 Tablespoons of PB2 checking in at under 60 calories, it has far fewer calories than regular peanut butter, which has 190 calories for the same serving size.
PB2 can be ordered on line at www.bellplantation.com.
Allies to help against the attack of the hungries can be found at many fast food restaurants. I stick to the plan by ordering what I know to be healthy. I ignore those fries calling my name to defect to the opponent’s side.
• Sonic sells fresh bananas.
• McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King have sliced apples.
• McDonald’s has a delicious fruit and yogurt parfait.
• McDonald’s and Starbucks serve oatmeal all day. I omit the brown sugar to shave off calories.
• Subway sells single-serve yogurts.
• I’ve also been known to go to the grocery store, run in and get a piece of fruit or a container of yogurt.
Many convenience stores have a Healthy Tupelo snacks display set up.
Like everyone else, I enjoy a special treat every once in a while. Some of my favorites are:
• A child’s size yogurt at Yummy Yogurt;
• A small soft-serve cone from McDonald’s;
• A junior-size scoop from Baskin Robbins.
When enjoying desserts, I keep the portion size small, and savor each bite.
I like to make these chocolate brownie muffins and keep them in the freezer:

Chocolate Brownie Muffins
1 box sugar-free Pillsbury Devil’s food cake mix
1 can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
That’s it – no egg or oil. Combine cake mix and canned pumpkin by hand with a spoon. Distribute the batter evenly in a 12- cupcake muffin tin that has been sprayed well with cooking spray. Don’t use cupcake liners – the liners stick to the muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
• I also keep Individual servings of Skinny Cow or Weight Watchers ice cream in the freezer.
I get a lot of my meal and snack ideas from www. hungry-girl.com. The Hungry Girl has also published several cookbooks that are widely available. I made her lasagna cupcakes last night, and they were delicious.
All of these snacks should supplement a well-balanced meal plan, focused on lean sources of protein, lots of fruits and vegetables. I don’t indulge in these snacks every day.
This is my plan to defeat the attack of the hungry monsters. With this plan in place, I can satisfy my occasional cravings, but keep my total caloric intake in check. A successful battle plan for you might look a lot different from mine. Your plan needs to work for you. Make one, and stick with it.
Lee Anne Grace is an elementary music teacher for Tupelo Public Schools. After reaching a weight of almost 300 pounds and failing at numerous diets for over 25 years, she has been successful at losing weight and maintaining her weight loss for three years. She is the mother of two teenage daughters and enjoys running in her spare time.