There are so many misconceptions surrounding the idea of snacking. Snacks are typically viewed as something “bad”, yet advertised and marketed in such a way to make people feel ok about snacking. In reality, snacks can often contribute to dieting plateaus or weight gain, because it’s hard to draw the line between a healthy snack and a full-on binge.
When utilized correctly, snacking can be beneficial for weight loss or even lean weight gain. Eating snacks with the right ratio of macronutrients, with the right calories, will help keep your body energized and burn fat.
Our bodies require protein to fuel the growth of muscle, which in turn increases our metabolic rate, ultimately using up energy (calories) faster. Protein takes longer to digest in relation to carbohydrates and fats, therefore keeping us feeling full for longer.
The key is to snack with the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats.
There is a common misconception that carbohydrates make you fat. When eating them in moderation and when your body needs the energy they provide, they contribute to the growth of muscle.
After carbohydrates are consumed, they are broken down into glucose, which can then be broken down further into a form of energy for the body. Glucose can then be either used as energy for the body when there is demand or stored and converted into fat if there is no use for it.
Because protein is slow digesting, eating protein with carbohydrates slows down the production of glucose. Fat is also slower digesting than carbohydrates, so eating a combination of protein, carbohydrates and fats at every meal (big or small) helps lower the rate at which glucose is stored as fat.
Here are some snacks that are suggested to limit the amount of fat stored in our bodies, and work with the balance of protein. Each snack contains at least 10 grams of protein:
Greek yogurt, fruit and nuts
This snack would contain approximately 20g of protein, with calories varying depending on the type of greek yogurt and fruit selection.
For a lower calorie option, ¾ cup plain, non-fat greek yogurt with ¼ cup berries and 12 almonds would be the best choice. This would equate to appropriately 20g protein, 15g carbohydrates and 7g fat for a total of 200 calories.
For a higher calorie option, 1 cup of plain, non-fat greek yogurt with ½ cup berries and 24 almonds would be about 25g protein, 20g carbohydrates and 14g fat for a total of 375 calories.
One cup of edamame has about 15g of protein, 10g of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fat and is high in fiber, making it a filling, protein-rich option. Season with a bit of salt to kick your savoury cravings.
Jerky is such an easy snack to pack in your lunch. It does not require refrigeration, and it's easy to pick up at a convenience store when on the run. It is actually quite lean with approximately 1g of fat per serving, but very rich in protein, and it's low-carb. For an entire package there is approximately 30g protein, 15g carbs and 4g fat. It’s a good option for those who like to nibble on something here and there.
High calorie pepperoni or lower calorie turkey, there are options for both. Since they contain few (or zero) carbohydrates, this snack pairs well with fruit or crackers. Opt for the lower fat turkey pepperettes and add in a few slices of cheese.
Sliced turkey with avocado
Wrap sliced turkey breast meat around slices of avocado, creating a great protein and fiber filled snack. Half of a small avocado with 4-6 slices of turkey sandwich meat would be approximately 15g of protein, 7g of carbohydrates and 10g of fat for a total of 150 calories. For a higher calorie option, opt for the whole avocado. Sprinkle on some salt and enjoy!
A great on-the-go breakfast or afternoon snack and easy to adapt for any type of diet. One scoop of protein (macronutrients based on canadianprotein.com whey concentrate), ¼ cup of berries and 1 cup of almond milk would be on the lower end of calories with 25g of protein, 7g of carbs and 3g of fat for a total of 150 calories. By adding yummies such as banana, peanut butter, or yogurt, you can significantly increase the carbohydrate and fat content as you please.
Edamame dip with pita and veggies
One and a half cups of peeled edamame beans, 1 clove garlic, 1 tbsp chopped onion, ¼ cup nonfat plain greek yogurt, ¼ cup water, ¼ cup lemon juice, 1 tsp garlic salt and 1 tsp salt blended in a high speed blender or food processor until smooth. Then add 2 tsp olive oil while the blender is on for 30 more seconds. This will make approximately 4 generous servings of dip, with each serving containing 10g protein, 8g carbohydrates and 7g fat for a total of 135 calories.
For lower calorie options: dip veggies to give you extra grams of protein and carbs; and/or use baked pita bread slices for higher carbohydrates.
Protein ‘cookie dough’
This one is for the sweet tooth! Mix together 2 tbsp of oat flour (just blend oats in any kind of blender until they turn into a flour consistency), 2 tbsp of powdered peanut butter and 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder. Then add ¼ cup pumpkin purée and 2 tbsp of milk (any kind) and mix together. Fold in some (1 tbsp) chocolate chips at the end and refrigerate for 15 minutes or more. With 30g of protein, 25g of carbs and 5g of fat this is a very satisfying “snack” on so many levels! Sweet tooth cravings are satisfied, with adequate protein to slow the digestion process down leaving you feeling full as well.
About the author
Maggie Morgan is a competitive powerlifter and former bodybuilder, as well as a devoted macro-counter. She’s passionate about lifting, nutrition, and sharing her learned knowledge with as many people as possible. She is an online nutrition and training coach at Maggie Morgan Fitness, and strives to help others reach their goals in the most enjoyable way possible.