As registered dietitians and personal trainers, when people come to us and want to get leaner and healthier, we typically notice two road blocks that most people are faced with when it comes to meeting their goals. The first difficulty usually surrounds snacks—people aren’t prepared and either want a quick energy boost during the day or before the gym—or they find themselves ravenous mid-day and they end up making a desperate food choice (think vending machine) that zaps energy and adds a lot of calories. The second stumbling block (click here to see how to prevent this) seems to be after work or post- workout, at dinner-time, when people are tired and hungry (especially if they didn’t have a good snack) and grab take-out or a quick dinner at home that is high in calories and leaves out the good stuff, like nutrients to refuel workouts.
The great news is that both of these road blocks have simple fixes—and in fact, they just got a whole lot easier—and so did achieving that healthy and fit dream body!
• Here’s what you need to keep in mind when choosing the ideal snack. The snack should provide long-lasting energy without causing energy crashes and the subsequent cravings and need for a quick pick-me-up. The key is being armed with a protein and fiber-filled snack.
- Protein is essential for lean and svelte muscles; it strengthens the immune system and keeps you feeling full longer.
- Fiber fills your stomach and helps to provide a gradual release of energy into the blood stream for longer-lasting fuel.
• The snack should be convenient and portable. After all, a snack can be a fantastic energy –booster but if you can’t easily transport it, then it doesn’t do you any good–especially if you’re out and it’s sitting at home because it was too messy to travel with you!
Being prepared by having a snack you can grab that fits this bill can make the difference between achieving your goal or ending up making a poor choice and later feeling lethargic, heavy and craving more food.
Here are a few of our snack faves:
- Apple with a tablespoon peanut butter (peanut butter to-go packs are great for this)
- Any piece of fruit with a hardboiled egg or with a string cheese (if it’s going to be eaten in a couple hours).
- Veggies cut in slices (carrots, zucchini, celery, etc.—we especially love red bell peppers) with individual hummus packets.
- Healthy Trail Mixes. Gourmet Nut makes a great variety of on-the-go options that come in a resealable bag and many are gluten-free and vegan. They’re now sold in GNC, and even if you forget your snack, chances are you’ll pass a GNC on your way to the gym! They are a great post-workout, convenient and portable snack.
- We really like the Gourmet Nut Energize Me Protein Mix, with 150 Calories, 7 g protein and 3 g fiber per serving. It’s great for refueling the muscles after a workout. The nuts have antioxidants that are important for muscle recovery.
- Greek yogurt with a piece of fruit or nut mix sprinkled on top. Try this simple 2-step Almond Cranberry Crunch Power Yogurt that can be whipped together in less than a minute! Simply add nut mix to yogurt and voila!
The Nutrition Twins work with Gourmet Nut to help people enjoy healthy foods.