We all love to snack, and when done right, it’s a healthy way to control satiety levels throughout the day. But snacking is often the make or break of successful nutrition and lifestyle goals, so it’s important to get it right. Snacking should be regulated in tune with your training schedule, body composition goals and hunger levels. The goal is to snack in a way that prevents long periods of time without eating or drinking, because this has been associated with overeating in the long run.
Eating to pass time when you’re not hungry, or simply for the sake of it, isn’t snacking— it’s grazing. This makes it easy to exceed the daily calories you need to maintain your body composition or an energy deficit, but can be very easily mitigated!
- Control your environment: Keep healthy snacks like fruit, yogurt, nuts/seeds, and whole grain crackers available.
- Optimize your choices: Consuming high GI foods will only spike blood sugar levels, and you will be hungry again very shortly after.
- Backtrack to the previous main meals: Were they nutritionally complete enough to sustain your energy levels? Have you been eating to align with your health and body composition goals?
- Practice mindful eating exercises and get in touch with your hunger cues.
The components of a healthy snack are: protein, carbohydrate, healthy fats and color. The ratio of these components can change depending on health goals. For maintenance, you are consuming the same amount of calories as you’re burning, for weight loss you’re burning more than you’re eating, and for weight gain you’re eating more than you’re burning. Remember, training days require higher carbohydrates than light/non-training days.
Now, let’s make some snacks!
Fruit + Yogurt:
- Maintenance: ¾ cup Greek yogurt, ¾ cup frozen berries, 1/3 cup oats, 1tbsp chia seeds/seed of choice.
- Loss: ¾ cup Greek yogurt, ½ cup frozen berries, ¼ cup oats (heavy training days only – omit on rest days), ½ tbsp. seed of choice.
- Gain: 1 cup Greek yogurt, ¾ cup frozen berries, ½ cup oats, ½ handful of crushed almonds or cashews, 1tbsp seed of choice.
** Yogurt (protein and small carbohydrate), berries (color), oats (slow-release carbohydrate), seeds/nuts (healthy fats).
- Maintenance: 4x whole grain crackers, 1/4x small avocado, 1x tin tuna spring water, 4x cherry tomatoes.
- Loss: 3x whole grain crackers, 1/6x small avocado, 3x cherry tomatoes, 1x tin tuna spring water.
- Gain: 6x whole grain crackers, 1/2x small avocado, 1x tin tuna oil + brine, 6x cherry tomatoes.
**Tuna (protein + healthy fats), whole grain crackers (slow-release carbohydrate), cherry tomatoes (color), avocado (color + healthy fats).