Obviously, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and water are vital to healthy living, but I have all kinds of other healthy living products that I absolutely love and I use regularly, but it took me a whole lot of trial and error to find them. Hopefully this list will save you some time and energy, so here are a few of my favorite things that have helped me to lose 100 pounds and keep it off!
There are affiliate links here (and you can read my full disclosure here), but I respect you all way too much to recommend anything that I don’t personally use and love, so everything here truly is a favorite of mine!
- Nature Valley Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Protein Bars – oh, how I love these! I always keep these on-hand, because they make the best on-the-go breakfast or snack. I keep them in my car, in my purse, I travel with them, I take them hiking, and pretty much everywhere else. They are definitely one of my kitchen staples!
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder – I sneak extra protein in wherever I can, especially in my breakfasts and snacks, and this is the protein powder I use in smoothies, homemade protein bars, overnight oats, and all kinds of other things. I’ve never used any flavors besides their naturally flavored vanilla, because it’s so versatile.
- PB2 – I’m sure there are all kinds of fun ways to use PB2 and I’ve tried a few of them, but the reason this one makes my favorite things list is because I use it in Taylor’s Oatmeal Breakfast Bars recipe from Food Faith & Fitness. I always have a batch of these in my freezer, because they are so amazingly delicious and easy-to-grab on busy mornings for a quick breakfast or snack.
- Wilton squeeze bottles – I always transfer barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, and thick salad dressings (like ranch or honey mustard) to these bottles. #1, it makes it easier to make pretty drizzles on food, but more importantly, #2, I don’t use as much sauce, so these have probably saved me thousands of calories over the years.
- Peach Chobani – This stuff makes my world go ’round. It’s high in protein, I love the chunks of fruit, and it’s so smooth and creamy. It’s one of my favorite healthy snacks and go-to breakfasts (especially with a little granola on top!) and Chobani has the ingredient list that impresses me most out of the brands I’ve tried!
- Nutiva Chia Seeds – I use these to add an extra protein boost to overnight oats, smoothies, yogurt & granola, and my most recent favorite is sprinkled on top of peanut butter toast!
- Harvest Snapea Crisps – I love using these to add crunch to a salad and I’ll grab them if I’m really craving something salty and crunchy.
- SkinnyPop 100 Calorie Bags – Sometimes I want a snack right before bed and reaching for something salty and crunchy and in a 100 calorie bag satisfies my craving without loading me up with unnecessary calories.
- Craisins – Oh, how I love these dried cranberries! Keep in mind that dried fruit packs a more sugary punch than the un-dried version, so don’t go crazy with them, but these are a staple of mine to add to baked goods, salads, Greek yogurt & granola, or just for a quick something sweet snack.
- Smucker’s Low Sugar Strawberry Preserves – I am super careful about reduced sugar products, because most of the time they just add artificial sweetener, but no artificial sweeteners in this one and half the calories! It doesn’t taste any less sweet to me, either. Just another small change that adds up to big results!
- Ziploc Snack Bags – These have probably saved me millions of calories. When I buy a big package of something, especially if it’s something tempting, the first thing I do is divvy it up into individual snack bags.Taking a Costco-sized bag of trail mix to the couch is a dangerous thing. Even if it’s a healthy snack like baby carrots, I am way more likely to eat them if they are prepped and in read-to-grab bags….and it makes it so much easier to reach for healthy choices as you are running out the door!
- Chosen Foods Avocado Oil – I can’t recommend this stuff enough! It’s a healthy fat, it has a high smoke point so it doesn’t burn like other oils do, it tastes great (it doesn’t taste like avocado…just like oil!) and it is pretty much the only oil I use these days.
- OXO Medium Cookie Scoop – Obviously, these are fantastic for cookies, but I have found that they are invaluable when I make my quinoa bites! When I created quinoa bites, I made them all in mini muffin tins, but I have found that using a cookie scoop makes it so much faster and easier!
- FlipBelt – I don’t carry water with me, but I do carry my car keys on race days, my phone (for pictures and music), a $5 bill (just in case), and a mini flashlight when I run in the dark. Sometimes I run my dog leash through it, too. I absolutely love being able to carry things with me without having them in my hands!
- Yurbuds earbuds. Over-the-ear headphones are a must for me, because all of the others just fall right out. And I guess my ears are an odd shape, because I struggle to find ones that fit right, but I absolutely love these! They are adjustable and comfortable and because of the shape of the earbud, the sound quality is fantastic, so I can hear well even when I’m running next to construction zones. Sidenote, I only ever run with one earbud in at a time for safety reasons.
- Balega Hidden Comfort Socks – I can’t even tell you how many different kinds of socks I’ve tried, but this is the only one I can firmly recommend! I love the bright pink (because the happy color makes me run faster, obviously), but these socks are so darn comfortable! They keep the blisters away, are so much softer and gentler on my feet, and never bunch up.
- Brooks Adrenaline 15 running shoes – I’m on my second pair of these bright pink beauties and they are just my favorites! They’ve run me through mountains and desert, around vineyards and by lakes, and they have yet to disappoint me!
- Garmin Forerunner 15 – I love data, so being able to record my running pace, time, intervals, and heartrate (I have the heartrate strap, but I don’t use it anymore) is amazing! When I was training with walk/run intervals, it was so helpful to set my watch to beep when I was supposed to switch from walking to running and vice versa.
- Rugged Running Leash – Hands-free running is the best! Obviously, you don’t need this leash to start running. I spent years running and holding the leash in my hand, but hands-free is SO much better! The bungee cord is especially awesome when he sees a rabbit run across the path, too. He doesn’t pull me off balance like with his regular leashes, which is even more important when I’m running!
- Fabletics running clothes – They make up about 80% of the clothes I workout in! I especially love the tops with built-in bras, because for some reason it makes it seem so much less daunting to get dressed with it all in one piece, and they are super comfortable! A few times a year they have these amazing sales, too. I’ve gotten 2 or 3 outfits at their normal price, but most of the clothes I have were bought during a flash sale!
- Fitbit Charge HR – I wear my Fitbit everywhere. Seriously, I only take it off when I’m either showering or swimming (and I have the Fitbit tan to prove it). It holds me accountable for staying active (and by that, I just mean walking and normal movement throughout my day, not as much my workouts). The weekly challenges with friends are super motivating for me and I really love that it tracks my sleep! I’ve seen so many patterns in my eating & drinking that have affected my sleep quality because of my Fitbit data.
- 30 Day Shred – There aren’t very many workouts that I want to do over and over again, but this is definitely one of them. It’s a short workout (only 20 minutes), so it’s easier to motivate myself to actually do it. And it always challenges me, but because of her modifications, it’s always doable. And there’s just something about the challenge of doing something for 30 days straight that I just love!
- Contigo Cortland water bottle – This is my 3rd Contigo water bottle and I have liked all of them, but this one I love. It is practically attached to my hand at all times and the drink spout is so nice to drink out of, especially because I kind of need a small opening…I tend to spill on myself otherwise!
- Shauna Niequist’s book, Bread & Wine. Shauna is one of my favorite authors in general, but this book is one I could read again and again. It encourages me to seek God more through hospitality, gives me all of those wonderful warm and cozy feelings like sitting wrapped up in a blanket in front of a fireplace, and makes me want to throw a dinner party for all of the people I love.
- Jesus Calling – I have probably gone through this devotional about three times now and it just never gets old. It reads more like a love letter from God to you than anything else, and it is the perfect thing for me to read first thing in the morning, because it’s short, easy-to-read, and starts my day off in God’s Word.
- The Longing album by All Sons & Daughters. I have listened to this album countless times and “Called Me Higher” is one of the songs that can inspire me every single time.
- Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. Oh my word, if you are looking to draw nearer to the Lord and start recognizing His voice in your life, you must read this. I couldn’t put this book down once I started reading, because I was just soaking up every bit of truth and guidance it had to offer me. Priscilla knows what she’s talking about.