Whether you are following a nutritional plan with weight loss goals in mind or perhaps you are trying to build and maintain muscle mass and create a lean and toned physique, your research will unequivocally confirm that you need to eat regular small meals and snacks, not cut back on the calories. It’s all about eating clean to stay looking lean.
Quantity And Quality Are Essential
Starving yourself really isn’t the answer so to see results and to, more importantly, keep them, you need to know what healthy snacks you can incorporate into your daily nutritional plan to stay on top of your health and well-being goals. Even if you already workout religiously and especially if you have carried out resistance training or gym sessions frequently and consistently, your body needs to be given a constant source of energy to keep it fuelled and running to its peak performance. Consider your body like a finely tuned engine. You wouldn’t run it on empty, and if it’s a Ferrari you won’t fill it with the cheapest fuel in the garage either! So think of yourself as a high-performance motor and fill it with the good stuff.
Make Conscious And Considered Choices
It’s all too easy to grab a chocolate bar or a packet of crisps and convince yourself that you were too busy to make a more health-conscious decision. Honestly, that is just an excuse. Whether you have time to prepare your snacks ahead of schedule or you really do need to snack and go, there are so many healthy snack alternatives open to you. You just need to make good, sound nutritional choices, which is where we can help with our top ten healthy snack alternatives.
It’s All About Eating Clean To Stay Looking Lean
We know that eating healthy can feel like an uphill battle. One day fats are good, the next day sugar is the enemy, ketones are your friend and anything with carbohydrate should be avoided like the plague. With so much conflicting information and fad diets continually being lauded on the internet as the next best thing, we know that it is confusing. Can you eat full-fat yogurt? Should you be snacking on brazil nuts? Are protein bars any good for you? Well, let’s cut through some of that hype and straight up look at some of the top healthy snacks you should have in your store cupboard, larder, fridge or your gym bag, ready to go for when your tummy starts to growl, and you are in need of a pick me up.
Our Top 10 Healthy Snack Alternatives
No matter what your goals, protein is the foundation block of building lean muscle mass, burning fat and getting a more honed and toned physique. So if you haven’t done so already, invest in a protein shaker and get yourself a tub of high-quality protein powder. Which type you invest in will depend upon your goals (building muscle or losing fat) as well as any dietary requirements or intolerances you might have (vegan-friendly, gluten free, lactose intolerant). A protein shake makes a perfect pre or post workout snack so if you’ve just jumped off the treadmill or enjoyed a resistance bands workout, then reward your body with a protein shake, and it will reward you straight back. You can whizz one up before you leave the house and just give it a good old shake later in the day when you are ready to consume. Or, you can get fantastic protein shakers with built-in powder storage systems so that you can mix and prepare on the spot. A protein shake though really is a must have healthy snack.
Smoothie bowls are great for satisfying that sweet tooth craving and a fantastic alternative to ice cream, especially in the warmer summer months. There are plenty of smoothies and juice bars popping up in every corner of cities around the globe, so you will never be too far away from – unless you are in Outer Mongolia maybe! Again they are such a natural and healthy snack to whip up at home. Just grab yourself plenty of frozen fruits like bananas, blueberries, cherries and grapes and blitz up a refreshing and tasty bowl of goodness that will replace lost glucose post workout but without causing a spike in your blood sugar levels. You can even prepare one for on the go and pop it into your gym bag in that protein shaker you’ve just invested in to enjoy later in the day.
High Protein Pancakes
An excellent breakfast alternative or a fab mid-morning snack for the weekends, make yourself up a batch of high protein pancakes. Stack them high and add some fresh berries, chia seeds and drizzle some Manuka honey to really deliver a taste sensation but so many health benefits too. All you need is a good protein powder as your base, and we love to mix ours up with crème Fraiche. They make a fantastic choice for breakfast or dessert or as a snack.
Go Nuts for Nuts
Nuts make the perfect nutritional snack and are so easy to eat on the go and perfect for a post-workout recovery hit. You can buy them ready prepared in handy gym bag sized pre-portioned packets or mix up your own. They are high in fat, yes, but it’s a good kind of fat plus they are filling and eaten in moderation can actually help contribute towards weight loss if that is one of your goals. If you’ve invested in that foldup treadmill for home and are working out religiously but overlooking what you are snacking on daily, that’s probably why you aren’t seeing the results you want. So stock up on nuts and channel your inner squirrel! Nuts don’t need to be refrigerated, there’s no preparation needed, and they are perfect for when you are away from home. Step away from the salted caramel covered peanuts! Stick to a good mixed nut selection with almonds, macadamias, pecans, brazil nuts and unsalted peanuts.
Swap Your Potato Fries For Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Carbohydrate is not the enemy! But deep-fried triple cooked goose fat fries really are! Sorry as we know they taste so good! However, here’s a healthy alternative that will help satiate you, especially post a hardcore workout when you need to get some fuel back into your system fast. Try cooking up some sweet baked potato fries instead. They are super easy to prepare and go great as an accompaniment to many a main meal as a healthy alternative side dish. They are also fantastic to snack on. Literally, all you need to do is slice up some sweet potatoes and drizzle them with olive oil. If you are feeling adventurous or want to incorporate more flavor, then add some piquant chili flakes and some freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Bake in the oven until crisp and lightly browned and enjoy! They are also backed with beta-carotene which helps to maintain healthy vision too.
Swap the Colourful Candy For Some Home-Made Trail Blaze Mix
Our brains seem to be hard-wired just to love color which is why candy is so appealing. We associate bright and vibrant colors with youth, vigor and when it comes to food and snacks, taste!! So why not trick your taste buds by preparing an alternative healthy snack in the form of home-made trail mix. You can throw all kinds of colorful combo’s into this including dried fruits like cherries and berries and even dark chocolate chips to give it plenty of texture, taste, and flavor. Make up a large batch and pack with highly quality carbs and fats and you can snack on this to your heart’s content when hunger and that demon sweet tooth strikes. Get yourself some sealable plastic bags or small plastic containers, and you can prepare a portion to pop into your gym bag and snack on post that hardcore resistance workout you just did.
Greek Yoghurt is an excellent source of protein and makes a tasty and nutritious healthy snack as well as an alternative dessert, replacing something like a cheesecake. Top your greek yogurt with colorful and nutritionally dense berries like strawberries, raspberries or blueberries and sprinkle with chopped nuts, almond flakes or seeds. Another great healthy snack that you can quickly prepare with Greek yogurt is to mix a spoonful of your favorite protein powder into your yogurt and let it set in the fridge. It becomes almost like a whipped mousse consistency, light and fluffy and full of metabolism and muscle building protein powder.
Bell Peppers with Guacamole or Hummus
Another seriously tasty and incredibly healthy snack choice is the red bell pepper. Totally nutritious snack packed with antioxidants including capsanthin, quercetin, and beta-carotene. You probably didn’t know, but peppers are also rich in Vitamin C. In fact just one red pepper contains 300% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C. Slice and dice your peppers and pop them into a container to take into the office with you. Pack a pot of either guacamole or hummus for a seriously tasty mid-afternoon snack that is high on taste but low in calories.
Cottage Cheese Accompanied With Flax Seeds and a Kick of Cinnamon
Might sound like a strange combination but its super delicious, nutritious and of course healthy too. Cottage cheese is a high protein food that is really filling and contains something called conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA for short) which really helps to target and reduce body fat. Combined with flax seeds this snack can help to control blood sugar levels that lead to those pesky cravings that can so often lead to bad nutritional decisions. We understand how hard it can be with temptation looking you in the eyes everywhere you turn, but its really not rocket science and snacking is good! We recommend adding some cinnamon to this recipe too. Just like flax seeds, cinnamon stabilizes and lowers blood sugar level and can also improve gut health. Not such a silly snack, after all, is it!
Yes really, chips have made it onto our top ten healthy snacks list today. All hail to the might kale we say! It is nothing short of a wonder food, and you have our permission to snack on it till your heart’s content. It’s great in a super mean, green smoothie to really pack a nutritional punch so blitz with your protein powder and some avocado for a serious post resistance training recovery drink. Back to the chips though! Kale is super duper healthy! Packed with fiber and antioxidants and things that we can’t even begin to pronounce like quercetin and kaempferol. You might not know what these compounds are but when we tell you that they can decrease blood pressure and help reduce the risk of colon cancer we’re pretty sure you’ll be Kale-ing it yourself from now on. All you need to make Kale chips is some kale, a drizzle of good quality olive oil and some sea salt. Mix your ingredients together, place them on parchment and pop them into your oven for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are feeling adventurous, consider adding some chili flakes to your mix too for a healthy snack that really packs a punch. Again, a great snack that you can enjoy at home or pop into your gym bag for post that body blitz gym session.
No Excuses for Not Eating Healthily
So there you have it, those are just a few healthy snack recommendations to fire up your imagination and your taste buds and to help you stick to your weight loss and nutritional goals. There really is no excuse, no matter how hectic a lifestyle you have, for not making conscious and healthy choices when it comes to your snacks. Snacking is good, just train yourself to make healthy and nutritious decisions from now on.