Snacking is a hot topic. We want to know IF we should snack, WHEN we should snack, and WHAT we should snack on. Furthermore, we wonder if snacking will cause us to gain weight….OR will we gain weight if we don’t snack?!? Should we eat carbs, protein, or fat?? Good grief, what’s a hungry gal to do?
Several years ago, I suggested that my clients eat 3 meals and 2 snacks each day. The theory behind that idea was: blood sugar stays balanced; no one gets “HANGRY,” and no one overeats due to excessive hunger. Well….I’ve changed my tune on snacking, and here’s why: Grazing throughout the day doesn’t allow our bodies to use fat as fuel and we end up storing fat instead. We want to silence our hunger, not stoke it. If our meals are nutrient dense and “plated” correctly, our bodies will be balanced and able to last for 4-6 hours between meals. I teach this in detail in my “Anti-Diet” online program:
I encourage my clients to aim for 3 nutrient dense, filling meals each day. I emphasize eating to satiety (satisfaction). Often, though, since we usually have a very long gap in between lunch and dinner, a “bridge snack” is needed. If so, my clients snack on ample fat and protein. For example, instead of eating a sugar-laden and processed granola bar, choose a tablespoon of no-sugar almond butter and an apple. This way, you get the fiber from the apple, and the fat and protein from the nut butter. You will stay fuller longer, your blood sugar will remain balanced, and you will not crave another (sugary) snack in an hour.
Another snacking realm is: pre and post workout snacking. Unless a client is running a marathon or doing an “Iron Woman” competition, a light snack like a spoonful of nut butter should suffice. I don’t snack before a workout because I like to tap into my fat storage while exercising. If I lifted heavy weights during my session and my body needs to rebuild/repair, I might have a protein snack like organic beef jerkey about an hour post workout. I am not a body builder, nor am I doing workouts at an intensity or duration that would truly require additional energy or calories. For the most part, I workout on an empty stomach and that suits me well.
Here are some of my fave “bridge snack” suggestions:
• endive and carrots with roasted red pepper hummus
• berries with 1 cup plain Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon chia seeds
• fresh pear slices served with 1-2 ounces Brie cheese
• seaweed salad
• balsamic vinegar and basil whole-grain crackers topped with 1-2 ounces mozzarella cheese slices
• sprouted grain toast with avocado and tomato
• green apple slices spread with almond butter and sprinkled with sea salt
• blueberries paired with spicy pumpkin seeds
• half an avocado stuffed with egg or tuna salad
• 2 tablespoons hummus with a hard boiled egg
• salmon salad on cucumber slices
• 1 small apple with 2 tablespoons nut butter
• 1 scoop chocolate protein powder and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
**Snacking on-the-go can be more challenging, but my staples for travel are: nuts and nut butters, organic, grass-fed jerky, green apples, seeds, and the occasional low-sugar, protein and fat filled bar. The options for these are endless, but choose clean, minimal ingredients, and 7 grams of sugar or less. (I like Square Bars and RX Bars, as pictured above).
That’s the “skinny” on the “S” word….Happy Snacking!