Meal prep is great and all, but in my opinion, the real key to success with nutrition is being on top of your snack game. SNACKS. Aren’t they the greatest? I don’t know about you, but I am constantly hungry, and pretty much always in the mood for a snack.
A lot of feedback I get about meal prep is that people are afraid of being hungry, or that they don’t think the meal will be enough food. Well, that’s kind of the point, and that’s also where snacks come in. By eating lighter meals and then having small snacks throughout the day, we are constantly fueling our bodies for the day! And by having nutritious snacks prepared in advance, you won’t need to worry about going hungry at all.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you should be chowing down on chips, candy or just anything you can get your hands on. I’m talking about planning balanced, nutritious, and tasty snacks to keep your metabolism going all day long and to prevent yourself from getting hungry.
The Rules of Snacking
Snacking is often vilified as some evil thing that makes you fat and unhealthy. Let me shake that stigma. Snacking shouldn’t be something you do when you’re bored, but more so something you do every couple hours or so when you need a boost of energy, if you’re feeling a little hungry, and to keep your metabolism going.
Ideally, you should try to eat one snack between every meal, before and/or after a workout, or late at night if you’re hungry but don’t want to eat a big meal before you sleep.
A good snack will have protein and some carbs (slice of cheese and an apple). Maybe some healthy fats (such as avocado or peanut butter or nuts). I usually crave savory things in the morning, and sweet things in the afternoon, so my snack schedule will look something like this, for example:
- Mid-morning (after breakfast, before lunch): 1/2 cup baby carrots with 2 tbsp hummus
- Mid-afternoon (after lunch, before dinner): small apple with 2 tbsp peanut butter
Before a workout I’ll usually go for carbs with a little protein for energy (think, slice of toast with peanut butter). After a workout I’ll usually go for some protein so I can build some muscle! (usually I’ll go for a protein shake or some eggs or chicken sausage)
How to Prep Snacks
Snack size Ziplock bags and multi-compartment reusable storage containers are your friends. I personally love to create little “Snack Boxes” to bring with me to work each week. I made these for my guy to bulk up at the gym too, and he loves them! Snack boxes are good for portions, and heck, they’re just fun. Look at em. Prep them on a Sunday, throw them in the fridge, and grab one every day before you head out the door to work.
Healthy Snack Options
The goal here is to watch your servings. Shoot for 100-200 calories per snack, and pay attention to your portions!
- 1 chicken sausage link
- 1 cup grapes
- 2 boiled eggs
- 1 handful unsalted nuts
- 2 oz cold cuts like turkey breast or salami
- string cheese
- 2 tbsp hummus & 1/2 cup baby carrots
- 1 small apple & 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 slice toast with 1/4 avocado mashed, or 1 tbsp peanut butter
- Greek yogurt with blueberries & drizzle of honey
- Protein shake
- sliced strawberries & string cheese
- Protein bar (lower in sugar, the better)
There are soooo many other snack options out there, but just by looking at these, it doesn’t seem too difficult to prep some snacks right? Happy snacking everyone!