Healthy Snacking 101: Confessions of a Healthy Snacking Queen
Healthy Snack Girl has recently joined my list of office nicknames. That, along with Facebook Live Girl, and CrossFit Girl. Although, I don’t actually do CrossFit at all, I do Iron Tribe (there is a big difference... and no, I’m not being sarcastic). I’ll get into my love for Iron Tribe later, but right now I need to get back to my nicknames because that is clearly an important topic. I think I like Healthy Snack Girl the most. I, in fact, actually do bring healthy snacks with me to work every day. If I don’t, well, my colleagues will hear about it. Both from my mouth and my persistent and embarrassingly loud stomach grumblings.
I am all about a healthy snack, mainly because my metabolism is like that of a 14-year-old boy's (a fact my boss tells me daily), and I find myself having hunger pangs every two hours (cue the audible stomach rumbles). Don't get me wrong, I can get full and have that satiation last me for a while, but I really dislike the sensation of being overly full, so I typically eat five or six meals a day instead of three large ones. While there is a continuing debate on which eating schedule is better for weight management, that’s not exactly what's top of mind for me when I’m picking out meals. I eat five or six meals because it works for me. If it didn’t work for me, I’d probably eat three large meals a day. There is really no set formula that all of us can follow, I truly believe that you have to do what works best for you.
Five or six small meals, also known as my "healthy snacks," work out great for me because I am super active. I typically wake up around 5:30 am and head to a 45-minute Iron Tribe Fitness class that consists of HIIT-training, bodyweight exercises, and weightlifting. (I assume this is why my metabolism is so fast.) After my workout, I head to work where I sit some, but not much. For working an office job, I run around a lot. As I mentioned earlier, my other nickname is Facebook Live Girl, which means I run around a lot getting videos, props, food, and other items in place for live broadcasts. When I do sit down, it’s often in meetings, and then, it happens… that dreaded loud roar from my gut. Not the best time to realize that I’m starving. So, to avoid the oh-so-freaking-embarrassing stomach growl and provide energy to my body without making me feel weighed down, I sat down a while back with my Iron Tribe coach to talk about small meals dispersed throughout the day. So now, if you catch me in the hallway, I probably have a snack in my hand--thus, the nickname was born. Mind you, these aren’t just any snacks though, they’re strategical snacks combined to provide me with the right levels of protein, carbs, and healthy fats: the three essential components of healthfully fueling your body. My go-to healthy snacks consist of the following:
8:00 amSFH Fuel + 1 Cup of Almond Milk and ½ Cup of Water (Not an ad): I was not a believer in protein powder for the longest time, especially protein powder that’s packed with weird ingredients and sugar. SFH Fuel packs in 125 calories and 19g of protein with only 1g of fat, and 4g of carbs. It’s also GMO-free and comes from grass-fed animals. This blend holds me over in the morning and gives me a ton of energy (I'm surprised I haven't gotten slapped with Obnoxiously Perky in the Morning Girl for a nickname yet). Sometimes, I’ll even mix the vanilla flavor of SFH Fuel with cold coffee. If you’re a frappuccino fan, you can even blend these with ice. It tastes amazing.
10:00-11:00 am7 oz. 2% Greek Yogurt + ½ Cup Blueberries: I freaking love Greek yogurt, especially Fage paired with fresh fruit. Right now, I’m loving fresh blueberries, but I’ll typically swap out my fruits as the seasons change. I won’t even bother eating non-fat Greek yogurt, because it doesn’t fill me up at all. Go for 2% or even whole, you’ll be amazed at how much longer it keeps you satisfied. With 20g of protein, 4g of fat, 8g carbs, and 150 calories in one 7 oz container, this snack is a must in my morning routine.
12:00-1:00 pmApple + 1 TBSP. of Almond Butter: I’m not super particular about which almond butter I eat, but I typically like to either make homemade nut butters or I buy Trader Joe’s, because both are a lot less expensive than other options. I also like to buy organic apples at Trader Joe’s because, again, of cost. Their deals on fresh produce are unbeatable. This combination works because it packs in healthy fats, carbs, and natural sugars, which all give me the boost of energy I need to get through the rest of my afternoon. Plus, I just really enjoy crunchy snacks, and apples in general, so this one is not only good for my body, but feeds my apple-loving soul.
3:00-4:00 pm10 Carrots + 2 TBSP. Hummus (or sometimes, 1TBSP. Almond Butter): As I mentioned earlier, I love crunchy snacks. I love carrots. I mean love. I’m actually considering getting one tattooed on me. (I’m not kidding.) That’s how much I love this crunchy veggie. Sometimes I’ll include celery into the mix, but carrots are really the snack that I want. I make homemade hummus every time, because it’s so much cheaper, easy, and customizable. Hummus is great for snacking because it provides a nice little dose of protein, fat, and carbs.
Dinner: (Whenever I get around to it)Unlike my healthy snacks, I don’t eat the same dinner every day, but I tend to stick with stir-fries, salmon recipes, veggie noodles (spiralized zucchini and/or spiralized sweet potatoes), and Greek salads.
I'm all about sticking to a plan, so this works for me. It may look boring on paper, but when life gets hectic, I need to stick to the things that I know work. Instead of eating random unhealthy things when I’m stressed, I have my healthy snacks with me on the daily. Keeping healthy options on me and being consistent helps me maintain a balanced lifestyle and the energy flowing. It may not work for everyone, but hey--if your current meal plan isn't quite doing it for you (i.e. you find yourself tired and hungry throughout the day), I'd definitely recommend giving the healthy snacking track a try.