My friend Erica G’s, an ace nutritionist and trainer at Brick CrossFit New York, latest write up is on snacks (her original piece is here). Snacks are one of the hardest meals to keep clean. Below is her advice, with my comments in italics. Thank you, Erica.
The main thing to remember is that an ideal snack has some protein or fat in it so that you are satiated. If you’re only having something with carbs then that snack isn’t going to hold you over quite as long. Why is that? Protein and fat take longer to digest and absorb than carbs.
Here’s your list of quick snacks. Depending on how much time you want to spend in the kitchen, the ideas are endless!
- Beef / Turkey Jerky: Look for one that is ideally gluten and soy free. Steve’s Paleo Goods makes delicious ones. Krave jerky is delicious (all of them are gluten-free, some of their flavors have soy sauce). The key with jerky is be careful of sugar content and artificial additives,
- Shrimp cocktail
- Deli meats + fruit or veggies: I love apple and turkey slices.
- Hard boiled eggs
- Tuna salad (use an olive oil based mayo) by itself or with gluten-free crackers or in a lettuce wrap. Tuna bells!
- Guacamole with bell pepper slices
- Avocado slices with a sprinkle of salt on its own or wrapped in romaine lettuce or with tomato
- Nuts and seeds (whole or as a nut butter). Try to limit to a handful or 1 – 2 tablespoons. Have this on its own or with a piece of fruit. Nuts and seeds can be a slippery slope as portion control is so difficult. It’s also very easy to somehow end up with chocolate chips or M&Ms or something like that in your trail mix.
- Fruit (if you are going to eat a meal within a couple hours)
- Plain Greek yogurt with berries (if you tolerate dairy). Only if you aren’t specifically trying to lose weight. Goes for most dairy, such as the two below.
- Ricotta cheese and tomatoes (if you tolerate dairy)
- Cottage cheese and fruit (if you tolerate dairy)
- Small portions of meals. Leftovers rock. Grab a bite or two.
- Fuel for Fire
OK, OK… you want to know what bars to have. Try to not let yourself get addicted to bars. Have real food as much as possible. When you need a bar though, these are my favorite: Be very wary of bars. Like Erica mentions, it’s all too easy to get addicted to bars and way too many people use them as a meal substitute rather than a quick and rare snack. A good rule is absolutely no more than one a day and a better rule is one every other day at the most.
- Quest bars
- Epic bars (savory!)
- EXO (cricket bars)
- Perfect Foods Bar (I get the “lite” one. But if you’re a growing person, go for the regular.)