With the advent of metabolic training and metabolic eating it seems worthwhile to understand how to snack and stay true to this concept.
The principle is quite simple really and we’ll review it first then recommend a few ideal snacks.
For your body to function properly you need a combination of macronutrients. Macronutrients include proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. To maintain a stable level of energy, during different levels of activity during the day, eating (accompanied by hydration) is first and foremost to accomplish this.
Thus, our goal is to provide enough energy to maintain a stable blood sugar level so that we always feel in balance. We want to avoid feeling fatigued and equally important, stay away from feeling too full (from over eating).
Basic snacking guidelines are directly related to our activity level. If our day is relegated to waking up, getting ready for work, driving to work, sitting at a desk at work for 8 hours, driving home, and watching television for a few hours before retiring, our need for food is limited. Our snacking should reflect this.
A small handful of nuts or celery with peanut butter, (accompanied with a glass of water) would be an appropriate snack in the morning or afternoon because the snack includes protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The combination of these three, when eaten together, creates a feeling of satiety and offers good taste and nutrients to boot.
Unfortunately, if you have a piece of fruit or a soft drink (even diet soda) your brain will record a sugar spike and your body will go up in energy then, at some point, drop down to fatigue. This is the carbohydrate cycle when no protein and fat is there to balance things out.
Now, let’s say that you woke up and, instead of going to work, headed to the gym for an hour. If you work out hard for 60 minutes your body will need extra energy to restore what was used in exercise. A small snack of yogurt, or fruit, or juice before working out may help you get through the workout. This, in my experience is a personal thing and to be tested. Many people find it difficult to eat first thing, especially before rigorous exercise.
After your workout however, it is extremely beneficial, in many ways, to eat some carbohydrate and protein (with healthy fat) shortly after finishing. It helps rebuild muscle and replenish stores of glycogen in the body while also maintaining the all important blood sugar balance. A higher ratio of carbohydrate, along with some protein, seems to fit the body’s needs while not storing extra as fat.
200 – 300 calories of food is just about right as a snack after a 60 minute workout with the ratio being about 2-3 parts of carb to 1 part of protein and healthy fat as it comes with the natural food.
¨ 1 - 8 oz glass of chocolate milk, 9g protein, 27g carbohydrate
¨ 11 oz coconut water, 15g carbohydrate, 1 hard-boiled egg, 7g protein
¨ 1 Bar - KIND Brand Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt, 6g protein, 13g carbohydrate, 16g fat
¨ Mini Bar - LARABAR ALT Brand Peanut Butter Cookie, 5g protein, 13g carbohydrate
The more active you are, the more you can eat. This is a no brainer! However, to eat wisely and to keep our bodies satisfied and fulfilled nutritionally, the balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat should be a part of each and every time we eat. This is a new way of thinking…
And finally, don't forget to drink water.
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