Snacking in between meals is extremely important to help maintain a steady flow of energy and to help boost your metabolism. If our blood sugar levels drop too low, we may feel dizzy, nauseous, or light-headed which in turn will cause our bodies to slow our metabolism. By having “smart snacks” on hand, you can help to boost your dwindling energy levels throughout the day. “Smart snacks” are those that combine a serving of carbs, fat, and protein to help steady our energy levels. Carbohydrates like fruits, veggies, and granola provide the body with a burst of energy. Meanwhile, protein and fat sources like eggs, peanut butter, and hummus help to curb and keep hunger at bay. Down below I’ve included further detail on why these snack options are worth trying out.
Option #1: 2 sliced carrots + 1 tbsp hummus
Carrots and hummus are one of my favorite combinations. I like to substitute chips or crackers for carrots or celery because of their crunchy element. Carrots are high in Vitamins A and C as well as in fiber. They are a low-calorie carbohydrate and are a perfect match for the creamy and delicious hummus. Hummus is made from garbanzo beans and is a great source of healthy fat and protein. I chose my favorite artichoke and spinach flavored hummus, but any type would be just as delicious. All together this snack has your carbs, fat, and protein and is a great option to grab and go.
Option #2: Apple + Hard-boiled Eggs
Much like option #1, this option provides a balance of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. I used the apple I had on hand, but really any fruit can be used in its place. Fruit is the perfect ready to go snack and when paired with hard-boiled eggs, it provides a natural boost of energy. The egg white provides 6 grams of protein (per egg), and the yolk provides 5 grams of fat (per yolk).
**As a precaution, limit egg yolk consumption to only one per serving. Egg yolks contain some saturated fat which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Option #3: Yogurt + Granola
Yogurt and granola are a delicious duo that provides a balance of carbs, fat, and protein with the added benefit of probiotics. Probiotics are cultured bacteria (the good kind) that are found in products like yogurt and help to increase the good bacteria in our gut. The balance of good bacteria in our gut is extremely important for our overall health, but we can talk about that later. One thing to be careful of is your granola. Choose a granola that is lower in sugar and higher in fiber to avoid blood sugar spikes and use about 1/4 cup. Also, feel free to use whatever yogurt you prefer. For added protein, choose greek yogurt but be sure to add a handful of sliced nuts for a healthy source of fat.
Option #4: Banana + Peanut Butter
This option is similar to the carrot and hummus combo with a sweet twist. Peanut butter and banana are a classic combination that is so satisfying providing a balance of natural sugar, fat, and protein. Feel free to use whatever nut butter you’d like to provide a serving of fat and protein. Meanwhile, banana provides a serving of carbs along with potassium and fiber. Feel free to swap the banana for slices of apple or any other fruit.
Please note that almond butter is lower in protein than peanut butter.
Easy Lunch Idea
An easy example of a healthy lunch would be a delicious and balanced salad. The kale and carrots provide a healthy serving of fiber, vitamins A, and C, and are low-calorie carbohydrates. The egg whites provide a healthy serving of protein while the yolks provide fat to help satisfy hunger. An optional tweak that would make this lunch a little bit lighter would be to remove the egg yolks all together which would leave the cheese as the only source of fat. Also, another tip that makes all the difference would be to massage your dressing of choice into the kale. Kale is extremely fibrous and massaging the dressing into the kale leaves helps our body to break it down easier.
Before I wrap this up, I also wanted to mention that the portions of these snacks are general guidelines but may also be modified to suit your individual needs. The photo above serves as a reference to show you my protein needs in a snack versus that of my boyfriend. For me (I am 5’4 and about 116 lbs), two eggs provided 12 grams of protein which is a healthy serving for a snack. Whereas my boyfriend who is larger in size than me (he is 5’9 and 180 lbs) required a slightly greater amount of protein. Generally speaking, individual protein portions can be estimated by using the palm of your hand as a guide. Although it’s not full-proof, it can help to act as a guide when you are trying to plan out your meals. To prevent from complicating things, I’ll talk about portions in greater detail at a later time.
If you like these snack ideas, be sure to follow the blog or follow on @lifeatthemesa on Instagram to be updated on any new blog posts so you never miss a beat. As always, I hope you found this helpful and I wish you the best of luck. ♥