What a Dietitian Really Eats, Part 3: Snacks
Because my routine varies so much, so too do my snacks. Some days I eat snacks and other days I don't; it all depends on my hunger level. You don't have to eat 3 meals and 2 snacks to keep your metabolism revved. This is a myth.
Whether or not you need a snack depends on you, your schedule, and whether or not you think you can make it to meal time without a snack. Check in with yourself before automatically going for a snack. Make sure you're truly hungry and not tired or bored. If you're tired and not hungry, the following snacks won't sound appealing. If you're seeking out a high sugar, high carb food, chances are you're probably tired, bored, or stressed. Try a walk or deep breathing instead of eating. Here are my staple snack foods:
- Apples and almonds
This doesn't require any prep or refrigeration so it's easy to throw in my bag or keep in my car for an on-the-go snack.
- String cheese wrapped in turkey
High protein and under 100 calories, if I'm ravenous in the mid-late afternoon, I nosh on this to keep hunger at bay.
- Beef jerky (or homemade elk jerky when available)
Again, no prep or refrigeration required so it makes for a great portable snack.
- Protein bars
I'll admit these aren't the ideal choice, but I'm certainly not perfect and your diet doesn't need to be either! On super busy days when I need something to hold me over, I choose a bar under 200 calories with 2–4g of fiber and 5–10g of protein.
Either homemade with a sprinkle of salt or a 100 calorie snack bag.
I stay away from crackers, pretzels, and other carbohydrate heavy "snack" type foods that lack protein and fiber, a filling combination to keep energy levels up.