Snack Time!

hummus and veggies

Hi, there! It’s Brooke here. Let’s talk about something fun . . . snacks! Now, before we go too far, let’s demystify something. Food and nutrition can be loaded topics—some people have a great relationship with food, while others may think of eating as a confusing, guilt-ridden, boring, or necessary evil. Then we throw in snacks, and craziness breaks out! Snacks are often given a bad rap, mainly because many people choose munchies that are WAAAAY too full of calories, sugar, unhealthy fats, and sodium. Think of those tasty treats in vending machines and gas stations (not to mention your local grocery store, Aisle 17). We’ve all been there. I’m not proud of how much I love the taste of a kosher dill potato chip, but hey, I’m human. I avoid the siren song of this devilish dill delight because I know better—and my body deserves better, as does yours. Snacks will save your rear, in more ways than one.

apple hearts

Healthy gals and guys know one of the most important ways to reach their fitness goals is to eat 5-6 small meals a day, including snacks. Your body is an amazing machine, and it needs to burn quality fuel regularly throughout the day to keep you going strong. If you start thinking of food as fuel instead of something you have to deal with just to survive, your world will be rocked and you’ll become your body’s most powerful ally. Think of your nutrition schedule like this:

Meal 1: Breakfast

Meal 2: Mid-morning snack

Meal 3: Lunch

Meal 4: Mid-afternoon snack (or pre-workout snack)

Meal 5: Dinner (or post-workout snack)

Meal 6: Snack (or dinner)

Notice how you can incorporate pre- and post-workout snacks into your daily plan. You can also shift this structure to the morning if you like your workouts early. To keep your fire burning bright, eat every 2.5-3 hours. For your snacks, try to shoot for at least 10 grams of protein and 25-35 grams of carbohydrates by including 1 or 2 complex carbs (whole grains, veggies, most fruits, beans, brown rice, or oatmeal) and a little healthy fat (nuts, seeds, almond butter, low-fat dairy, or avocado). High-quality protein, carbs, and fats are going to keep you feeling satisfied and give you energy.

Nutritious Nibbles

  • 1 c. raspberries with ½ c. Greek yogurt
  • 1 small apple with 1 Tbsp almond or peanut butter
  • ½ c. cottage cheese with ½ c. mixed berries
  • 1 or 2 eggs (hard-boiled) with 2 whole-grain flatbreads
  • 2 Tbsp almond or peanut butter spread on 2-4 celery sticks
  • 6 carrot sticks with 1 low-fat mozzarella string cheese
  • 4 natural whole-wheat honey graham crackers with 10 red or green grapes
  • 1 c. low-fat milk (or almond milk) with 1 scoop chocolate (or other flavor) protein powder (can be whey or plant-based protein powder), along with a banana
  • Quick Basic Smoothie: 1 c. low-fat milk (or almond milk) with ¼ c. frozen or fresh berries with ½ fresh or frozen banana (Hint: Frozen fruit makes the smoothie thick and icy!)
  • 3 c. air-popped (or unsalted and unbuttered!) popcorn drizzled with 2 tsp flaxseed oil, 1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese, and dash of cayenne pepper, along with 1 apple
  • 6-10 veggie pieces: celery, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, zucchini, or yellow squash dipped in 2 Tbsp hummus or low-fat vinaigrette dressing
  • Homemade Trail Mix: 2 Tbsp dried fruit, 1 Tbsp sunflower kernels or pumpkin seeds, 1 Tbsp unsalted nuts, and a pinch of unsweetened coconut flakes

If you need a basic snack, an apple and some nuts or maybe even a protein shake and a banana are great options. However, if you are headed to the gym, be sure to grab something rich in slow-burning carbs and lean protein (like oatmeal and scrambled egg whites) to fuel your efforts. Here’s one of my favorite recipes that I love to fix before working out. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Yum!

Yum!

Banana Blueberry Power Snack

  • 1 whole-wheat English muffin
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • ½ banana
  • Small handful of blueberries
  • ½-1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • Small drizzle of honey

Toast both halves of the English muffin. Spread 1 Tbsp almond butter on each half of the muffin. Slice the banana into small slices, and then arrange the slices flat on each half. Place the blueberries around and in between banana slices (the berries tend to roll off—trust me!). Sprinkle ground flaxseed across each muffin half, and then drizzle each half with a little honey. Yum!!

************

Keep fueling that beautiful body of yours, and have a super week!

~Brooke

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