So here we are, back again with another nutritional post to help you with your eating. A big thank you to those of you who got involved and asked question here on the blog, over on our twitter or even on our facebook page. Remember the more you get involved the more we know about what you need help on. And that leads us onto today’s post.
Since our last nutritional post we have had a lot of our clients asking us about the best snack choices.
So that is the theme of this weeks nutritional post.
You might be thinking that snacks are what you need to stay away from if you are trying to look after yourself. However they are crucial in helping you achieve long term health and weight control.
Whether you are after muscle gain, increased performance or weight loss, ensuring you have adequate fuel through out the day and a consistent blood sugar level will prevent you from getting overly hungry. When we are hungry and haven’t planned adequately we tend to snack on the wrong types of foods to give ourselves a quick kick of energy. This is what we are trying to avoid.
So what are the best things for us to snack on?
Well particularly for body fat loss, as that is what most people want to know about, protein is one of the best options to help you ward off hunger. But it is important to remember what we brought up in our last nutritional post. Relying on supplements and foods that are artificially produced is not the best option. Look for unprocessed whole food sources of protein first! Portein bars and powders definitely have their place, especially when we are talking about rapid uptake post exercise. However as a general rule you need to focus on real food when snacking just as much as at your main meals.
Now we need don’t want to get stuck on just eating protein when snacking. It is not a magic bullet. We need to address the other macronutrients as well (macronutrients are your grouped nutrients of carbohydrates, fats and protein). Would your dinner consist entirely of protein? A steak or chicken breast on it’s own is no one’s idea of a complete meal option (and if it is that’s got to change pretty quickly), so why should your snacks be any different. Snacks should have a little from each macro nutrient group.
Remember carbohydrates are not the enemy. Your body wants and needs to run on it. But as we mentioned last week in “Eat real food and your body will see real benefits” you need to make your body work for the energy it is to get. Your snacks need to be viewed in the same way. Go for things with as little human intervention as possible. Things your body needs to work at to unlock the energy.
It is also important to remember all of your snacks need to be just as controlled in their portion size as your main meals are. Get carried away and you will be fighting an up hill battle and may end up putting on body fat.
If you are someone who is not currently eating snacks and you want to add them into your diet something will have to give. It is not enough just to add a morning and afternoon snack into your day or you are just eating more each day. You will need to cut back the size of your breakfast, lunch and dinner. The plan is that you will be able to do this without getting hungry as you will be stabilising your blood sugar level across the day and avoiding a big drop off in energy.
Remember we want you to combine carbohydrates, proteins and fats for the ideal snack options.
Now that all of that is said and done here is my list of snacks that get my tick of approval:
- Fruit salad (always a better option as variety will help, but watch your portions)
- Dried fruit
- Fruit balls
- Naturally fermented pickles
- Smoked salmon
- Shredded turkey
- Shredded chicken
- Lean ham
- Nuts (unsalted!)
- Hard boiled eggs
- Simple omelette
- Seaweed salad
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Trail mix
- High quality natural full fat yoghurt (yes full fat, not low fat and full of refined sugars)
Remember to watch your portion size with all of these as it is easy to get carried away. Take your snacks to work with you daily in tupperware containers so as you take only as much as you need for morning or afternoon. Otherwise you might end up polishing off a whole packet of almonds or something similar.
Suggestions for the list?
Questions about things I have included? Let’s hear em!