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What should I have for a snack?

Updated: Apr 29

Snacking: Is it healthy? What should my snacks look like? Why am I snacking?

It's 3 pm, and you're STARVING, so you get up from the couch and saunder to the kitchen to see what's available. "Baby carrots? Nope, I want something salty. What about popcorn? That could work! But I don't know if it's healthy or not." How often has that happened to you?

Snacking and having snacks is not going to deter you from your goals, in fact, it might be the biggest help in keeping your goals on track.

In this blog, we will cover the 3 most popular questions about snacks and snacking we get like: Is snacking healthy and will it ruin my goals? What should I snack on? Why are we adding in snacks?

Some diets tell you you can't snack, like Intermittent Fasting and the One meal a day diet, others want all your meals to be snacks. So, what's right? Let's dive into it!

Is snacking healthy?

You may feel like the evidence is conflicting. You've heard diet and Instagram gurus saying "Don't snack, it'll make you gain weight!" while you've heard professionals, like myself, encouraging you to have a snack between your meals! There's a lot of conflicting talk but let's get to the bottom of this. Snacking is not bad. If you're hungry, and you were my client, I would want you to eat. There is never a time when you're hungry that we would tell a client that they cannot grab something to eat.

Snacking itself does not make you gain weight. What can cause weight gain is any excess of overall intake from your maintenance level of intake. Having a snack be part of your routine is not going to be What matters more is the nutrient content of that snack and the timing of it. If you're bingeing on potato chips because you're bored, that's not a smart snack. But if you're having half of a sandwich, maybe an apple with peanut butter, which are much better and healthier ideas that can help keep you fuller for longer and prevent future snacking! Before you reach for a snack, ask yourself, am I really hungry or am I just bored? The answer may surprise you!

What should my snack look like?

Your snacks should mostly consist of a carbohydrate and a protein. The carb will give you a boost of energy as it can be digested fast, and the protein will help to make you feel fuller for longer as it is a more complex nutrient that takes more time to digestion. Smart carbs would be whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread or crackers, vegetables, and fruits. Popular proteins to pair it with can include eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk, beans, and meat. When you pair protein and carbs together, you also slow down the energy release of the foods leaving you fuller for longer.

Why am I snacking?

One reason why you may be reaching for a snack and one reason why we recommend grabbing a snack can be that you're not eating enough! Do you ever feel like you get intense cravings and your energy drops low in the afternoon? The reason why might be is that when you're not eating enough, your body has to be creative with how it's asking you for energy. Cravings can be one way it does that. Your body is craving that quick hit of energy from carbs (which is why you're craving savory, crunchy snacks). Try INCREASING how much you're eating at meals, yes, you have to eat more than 300 calories at a meal to help prevent those cravings and binges between meals. Check how much you're eating throughout the day and at meals, then, likely increase your intake to make sure you're eating enough!

Here are some of our favorite recommendations for snacks that give you nutrients and energy. Try pairing popcorn and cheese for a whole-grain snack with protein for long-term fullness. Nuts and yogurt can be a classic combination of sweetness and crunch. Craving something salty? Grab chips with jerky for salty satisfaction that helps with fullness. Or, a sandwich can be an easy snack option, too!

Those are the 3 most common questions I get about snacking and this is your ultimate guide to them! What are your favorite snacks to munch on? Need help making your meals and snacks more satisfying, grab a spot inside of our Signature Nutrition Coaching Program today where we can help you navigate meals and snacks to help you reach your goals.


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