My typical day includes 3 small meals and 3 snacks in between. All of my snacks have some protein and either a vegetable or piece of fruit. The protein helps to sustain you longer and the fruits and vegetables give your body the nutrients it needs. You may also notice that almost every one of my snacks come from whole foods. Processed foods come with a lot of things you don't want or need so I avoid them as much as possible. For fruits, I enjoy Apples, Oranges, Bananas (only occasionally), Cantaloupe, Pineapple (fresh), Watermelon, Grapes, and Kiwi. Note - These snacks are targeted for my calorie intake, you may need to adjust the amount to suit your own needs. Here are some of my favorite snacks:
2 Oz Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup of Grapes
I really like the combination of cheese and grapes. You get that sharp cheddar flavor followed by the sweet grapes.
2 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter
Slice the apple up and spread the peanut butter on the slices as you eat them. This is a delicious snack; just be sure to use natural PB to avoid extra salt and sugar.
2 celery stalks
2 ounces of Cream Cheese or 2 Tablespoons of Natural Peanut Butter
1 cup of Cantaloupe
254 Calories (Cream Cheese) 264 Calories (PB)
Spread the cream cheese or PB on the celery and eat. This is great if you are looking for something crunchy.
1 Can Albacore Tuna
Yes, many people have told me this sounds disgusting, but this one of my favorite snacks! You just can't beat the low calorie, high protein can of tuna. I used to have a few crackers with it, but crackers are high in calories so now I just eat the tuna plain.
4oz Boneless Chicken,
1 Cup Pineapple
You can prepare several of these whenever you have chicken for dinner (see below).
4oz of your favorite lunch meat
196 Calories (Oscar Mayer Shaved Turkey)
If you don't have time to cook, just pack up some lunch meat. I just squirt some mustard on it and eat it plain slice by slice. One warning, lunch meat is high in salt so do this snack sparingly.
1/2 Cup Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt
1 Cup frozen blueberries
Throw the frozen blueberries in the yogurt and by the time you are ready for the snack it's melted enough to give you a nice cold treat.
2 Small Kiwi
Got a little extra steak from dinner? Heat it up at break time and enjoy it as a snack.
1 oz. Almonds (about 30)
1 Cup of Watermelon
This is good snack when you just need a little something to hold you over. There's not a lot of nuts so you definitely don't feel full when you are done.
1 Cup of Green Tea with Honey
1 FiberOne bar
I have this almost every night for my evening snack. It's a nice little treat to end the day.
Preparing your snacks
When you have to eat 3 snacks each day, you could easily spend a bunch of time just preparing them. Here are a couple suggestions to save some time:
- Invest in a bunch of small plastic containers to keep your snacks in. I've got some that perfectly hold 4 oz. of meat or 1 cup of fruit.
- When you cook dinner, just throw in an extra 4 or 8 oz. of whatever meat it is you are cooking (be sure not to eat it at dinner!). When you are done you can just cut up the remaining amount and throw it into containers.
- On the weekend I (my wife) cuts up a whole pineapple or melon or watermelon. Then we (my wife) put it into a bunch of small containers so it's ready to go.
- Keep a box of FiberOne bars and a can of almonds in your desk drawer at work. That way if you forget to bring snacks you'll have something to hold you over.
These are some of my favorite snacks and they are all healthy and satisfying. I've found that if I eat every 3-4 hours, I'm never starving at meal time and it makes it easier eat a healthy size meal. As I said above, snacks don't have to be weak and boring; with a little creativity you can find lots of healthy ideas that don't have a lot of calories. Got any healthy snack ideas that you like? Leave a comment; I'm always looking to try new things. Stay Strong!