I’ve always been a snack person. I find having regular nutrition breaks can help level out my energy on long work days and keep me on track for choosing healthy dinner options.
Not everyone requires well-timed snacks to stick to their eating plan. But if you find yourself tempted to finish off a bucket of ice cream while you microwave some popcorn instead of cooking some veggies and chicken for dinner, you may want to consider a mid-afternoon healthy snack. Even a small amount of the right foods can level out your blood sugar, prevent you from getting too hungry, and sharpen up your judgment when it comes to making dinner.
If you’re on my Precision Nutrition program, you already know that my snack recommendation is to choose healthy foods that fit into the PN approach. In other words: whole foods, vegetables, fruit, protein and fats are all fair game, with minimal processed foods, sugars or starches.
I tend to eat the same snack almost every day and don’t get bored. But if you’re like most normal people, you need some variety. Here are some simple ideas with enough choices to suit anyone’s palate:
- Protein smoothies (go here for some ideas on how to make protein smoothies)
- Roasted legumes, like chickpeas
- Pepperettes with minimal preservatives (Farmers Market)
- Jerky (made from soy, seitan, ostrich, salmon, and anything in between)
- Raw veggies and hummus
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Canned sardines, salmon or tuna
- Roasted seaweed
- Roasted Cauliflower Poppers (coat the cauliflower pieces in olive oil, butter paprika, salt and pepper to taste – bake for 45 minutes at 425 deg F, turning frequently)
- Sesame Roasted Snap Peas (coat with sesame oil, black sesame seeds, sea salt, bake at 475 for 10-15 minutes, turning once)
- Nut butter and fruit (apple or pear) or celery
- Yogurt, ground flax seed and berries
- Mixed nuts / seeds
- Savoury tempeh bars: Marinate a chunk of tempeh (balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, tamari, garlic, olive oil, and thyme), bake or roast it, cut it into bars, and throw it into ziploc bags.
- If you are five years old at heart, try out these celery snails and caterpillars
I find it challenging to find a pre-made nutrition bar that is low in sugar and high in protein. Simply Protein bars are readily available, but many of the others have too much sugar. I have included a recipe for a home-made snack bar from the folks at Precision Nutrition:
The Near Perfect Bar (40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fats)
- ½ cup organic molasses or agave nectar (may need slightly less is you use agave – only use molasses if you LIKE the flavor)
- ½ cup organic (raw if possible) nut or seed butter (e.g., hemp seed, peanut, cashew, almond, macadamia, etc.)
- ¾ to 1 cup vanilla or unflavored protein powder
- ¾ to 1 cup organic dried cranberries, diced dates, diced figs, raisins, dark chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, goji berries (pick your favorite, or mix some together)
- ½ cup organic shredded coconut
- 2 tsp of greens powder if you are feeling daring
Work all ingredients together, adding the protein powder in small batches so the mixture is firm but not crumbly. Shape into the size and number of bars you prefer. Chill in fridge or freezer.