Snacking is always a difficult one for people to get right, most people tend to automatically go for the sugary/carbohydrate based snacks.
As usual your choice of snack depends on a whole host of factors including but not limited to; your location, how much time you have, your personal preferences, food allergies/intolerances, your environment and who you are with. That being said the same “guidelines” apply, we try to look at food on a continuum rather than a black and white, this food is “good” and that food is “bad” approach. More of this and less of that is the way we would try to approach nutritional choices. As much as possible we still look for minimally processed, whole foods, but remember one poor choice will make very little difference, it is what you will do on a consistent basis that will count more towards your overall goals.
I think sometimes people are surprised to hear that as a trainer I still occasionally eat takeaways, pizza, crisps, chocolate (not usually all in the same sitting). I’m not a big drinker, I don’t smoke and I have no interest in fizzy drinks/sodas. My point being, is that you can still maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep a relatively low body fat % while enjoying the occasional indulgence.
How occasional I hear you ask? Well that depends on your goals, your genetics, and what you are willing to sacrifice to get there. There is a big difference in sacrifices needed between wanting to enter a physique competition and get to 5% body fat and just leading a healthy life.
Below you will find a very useful infographic from Precision Nutrition called
“25 ways to eat well on the go”. It has a lot of useful information on how to manage different situations that life may throw at you.
The key in all of this comes down to two things, planning and preparation, trying to prepare the night before or the morning before an event or a trip is crucial. As a sporting hero of mine likes to say
“fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. Again we are not looking for perfection, there are going to be things thrown at you that you don’t expect or road bumps but the idea is to make the best decision within the particular situation. My own go-to snacks are natural/greek yogurt with cashew nuts, blueberries, raspberries, small square of dark chocolate (>80% cocoa) and some chia seeds. It can just as easily be brought with me in a container on the go or eaten at home in a bowl. A handful of nuts, almonds or cashews and some fruit would be another one. Whey based Protein shakes would be my go-to when I am pressed for time.
For savoury snacks I usually go with hummus and carrot sticks (full carrot chopped ideally).
I have no issues with eating a similar fairly limited range of snacks the whole time but as usual this depends very much on the individual.
Try to develop a little menu of snacks for yourself, ideally that can work in different situations. If you are completely caught out just try to make the best choice and remember one poorer choice isn’t going to make a big difference in the grand scheme of things, it is what you do on a regular basis that counts. Check out the article below and let me know what you think in the comments.
I’m off to make a snack!