Snacks are a wonderful addition to your healthy eating plan. Snacks in between meals can help you keep hunger at bay and can also help you get the appropriate amount of macronutrients for the day. Depending upon your caloric intake needs, snacks are usually somewhere between 150 – 200 calories with a combination of both protein and carbohydrates. When you are choosing foods to snack on, make sure you take these tips into account and fuel your body with the appropriate kind of snack. Snacks that do not fit into these guidelines can really sabotage your weight loss goals.
I love fruit as the carbohydrate portion of my snack. Fruit is easy to pack and I add a protein of nuts, nut butter, mozzarella cheese stick, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs or Biochem protein mixed with water. This photo is 159 grams of strawberries which is about 50 calories. Combine this amount of strawberries with 2 scoops of Biochem vanilla protein powder (110 calories) and you have the perfect snack!
Standing in the line at the grocery store, shoppers are enticed by impulse buys like my favorite, peanut M&Ms. Chocolate and peanuts, what better combination is there?! The picture below is half the serving of the share bag. I can easily put away that bag right by myself! However, just half the bag (46 gram serving) is 240 calories with 12 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein. Just that small amount is more calories than I eat for snack and not nearly enough protein. If I eat the entire bag, that’s 480 calories!! More calories than what I typically eat in an entire meal!
Another popular snack is the potato chip. If you love crunchy and salty, this is most likely your go-to snack. Depending on the chip, the usual serving size is 1 ounce or between 10 – 12 chips. The photo below is 1 ounce of corn chips and that small amount is going to cost you 140 calories with most of the calories coming from carbohydrates (19 grams) and fat (6 grams.) There is a minuscule amount of protein in them. Personally, I have rarely eaten just one serving of potato chips. With each additional chip, your calories and macronutrients increase. Think baked chips are better? Not much. A 1 ounce serving still gives you 120 calories, 3 grams of fat and 22 grams of carbohydrates. See what happened there? Yes, a few less calories and a little less fat but more carbohydrates than fried chips.
Nuts are another good snack for people who like crunch. Serving size is important with nuts. They are a healthy source of fat but if you mindlessly eat out of the bag, you can rack up a ton of calories. Pictured below is one ounce of plain almonds which account for 164 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs and 6 grams of protein. When I incorporate nuts into my snack, I typically eat 1/2 ounce or 1/4 ounce with an additional protein source (like Greek yogurt or Biochem Protein Powder) since the main nutrient I get from nuts is fat.
There are many snacks out there that are marketed as healthy but actually are not. Take Veggie Sticks for example. You may think it’s made from vegetables and that’s healthier than a potato chip, right? Take a look at the Nutrition Facts on this bag of Veggie Sticks:
What is the first ingredient? It’s a vegetable, but it is a POTATO! The second ingredient? It’s pressed sunflower oil. That’s right, fried potatoes. Still going to cost you 140 calories, 6 grams of fat and 20 grams of carbohydrates coming from fried potatoes. There is some spinach powder and tomato paste in the sticks, but not enough to count for your vegetable intake.
As you can see, with any snack, knowing the serving size is a must! Take a look at the Nutrition Facts on the package to find out the serving size. Measure the serving by using a food scale. Depending upon your caloric intake and macronutrient breakdown, this will help you figure out what snacks are best for you. I encourage my clients to incorporate fruit and vegetables into their snacks and then add in a protein dense food like Eggs, Greek yogurt, or Protein Powder.