While getting a healthy array of body-friendly food at crucial mealtimes - breakfast, lunch and dinner - should be the cornerstone of your overall nutritional approach, it is the in-between times that can often make or break your physique. If you're chained to a desk all day, for example, you may find it difficult to keep on track with your food intake. As a result, your energy and metabolism come to a screeching halt, leaving you staring blankly at a computer screen and slowly widening at the hips. Getting the right snacks at the right times could make all the difference in how much progress you're able to make. Follow these guidelines for healthier snacking during the day.
The Anytime Snack
When: This is a meal that's not tied to a particular activity (for instance, working out) or time. It can be eaten whenever you're not noshing on one of the other, more specific snacks. And on nonworkout days when you won't be burning as many calories, eat one anytime snack and cut the pre- and postworkout snacks.
What: It provides sufficient protein, slow-digesting carbs and healthy fats to keep your metabolism humming and your insulin levels and attention span steady.
How much: Eat 20-30 grams of protein, 20-30 grams of slow-digesting carbs and about 10 grams of healthy fats.
- 1 oz. raisins
- 1 oz. roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 oz. beef jerky
Combine the raisins and seeds to make a trail mix; chop the jerky and add it for a salty kick or eat it separately.
Nutrition Facts: 293 calories, 19 g protein, 30 g carbs, 13 g fat
- 2 oz. sliced deli turkey breast
- 1 stick light string cheese
- 5 whole-wheat crackers (such as Akmak)
How you eat this snack is up to you: Make mini-sandwiches, peel the cheese apart and roll it up in the turkey slices, or eat all three components separately.
Nutrition Facts: 228 calories, 22 g protein, 21 g carbs, 4.5 g fat
- 1 cup boiled, shelled edamame (soybeans)
Edamame is super-simple: Boil unshelled edamame in salted or unsalted water for 10 minutes, then cool and peel away the shell before eating or bagging for later.
Nutrition Facts: 254 calories, 22 g protein, 20 g carbs, 12 g fat