One of the major issues people have while on a diet is controlling the urge to snack. For many of us, it’s hard to get through the day without having at least one snack. However, that one snack can easily turn into ten, and before you know it you’re grazing all day long, adding useless calories to your daily intake setting yourself back on your weight loss and muscle building goals!
While snacking can be important from a mental stand point, you need to be smart about it and make sure it fits within the daily macros of your diet. When we need a little fix in between our typically healthy meals, most of us reach for a bag of chips or a candy bar from the machine down the hall at the office. It’s a quick fix and provides you with that burst of sugar that will make you feel pretty good right away, but not so good later on.
The key to snacking without ruining your diet is picking the right kind of snacks and making sure they are readily available when that urge arises. It may take a little while at first to get used to eating healthier snacks, but before long, you’ll actually prefer it being you will not only feel better, but you will be staying on track with your goals!
Start by figuring out how many calories you need per day. Of course at Nutrition Solutions we eliminate all the guess work for you, by providing you pre made meals, but if you’re doing meal prep on your own, you’ll need to plan ahead of time. Add up your three main meals and then figure out how many calories you have left over. This can be used as a guide to help you pick the snacks that will keep you on your diet and ensure everything fits consistently in line with your macros. You’ll also need to figure out the times when you are most likely to snack and target some changes in your regular meals to help you get through the day.
A quality snack will contain enough protein to give you the energy you need to make it to your next meal without feeling deprived. Over the long term it is much more effective than carbs at keeping your body fueled right. For example, instead of that can of soda and a serving of chips, which can equal more than 300 calories, (all empty and useless) have one serving of low fat cottage cheese or a tablespoon of natural peanut butter. This contains about 80-90 calories and can actually be quite satisfying. Nuts, nuts, nuts… Almonds are particularly good for you, but almost any kind of nut is a great source of healthy fats and protein, and in appropriate amounts will fit into any diet. Even a small block of cheese, a serving of tuna, and celery with some added peanut butter can be a great, low calorie, high protein alternative.
A really good healthy snack that I just picked up at the local Costco (seriously tastes great) is dry roasted and lightly salted edamame aka soybean. 70% Less fat and 40% more protein than peanuts. One serving is 14 grams of soy protein and 2 net carbs.
Figure out what kind of protein snacks you like to eat. If you have a sweet tooth, try one of the many tasty flavors of Nutrition Solutions protein bars or protein pancakes! Both are low in carbs and high in protein. Not to mention taste great and can provide a great boost of energy keep you balanced all day.
Earlier, we mentioned that it is also important to figure out what times of the day you are most likely to snack. This is usually a sign that you are not eating a balanced enough meal before hand. For example, if you have a lot of carbs for breakfast, that sugar is going to wear off well before lunch, leaving you feeling hungry. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is should contain enough protein to give you the fuel you need to make it to lunch without being consumed with the overwhelming urge to eat everything in site. Remember, if portion control is adhered to and implemented consistently and you’re doing this correctly, you should never really be getting super hungry and adversely never getting overly full!