January 24, 2017

7 Smart Snack Choices (200 calories or less)

7 Smart Snack Choices (200 calories or less)

Working 8 hours or more a day can make it difficult to eat healthy unless you plan ahead. Even if you don't have a desk job, snacking can often fall by the wayside, creating an imbalance in our blood sugar or leaving us vulnerable to making poor quality choices which in turn can throw off the rest of our day.

Research shows that eating every four hours can keep your metabolism charged and energy levels optimal.

The Four Pillars of Snacking

Quality: Different calories act differently in your body. Sugar or starch calories slow metabolism, whereas calories that come from high-quality fat and protein speed up your metabolism. Keep in mind that every time you make a food choice, you are altering your gene expression, either turning on health genes or disease genes. Your food choices also instantly affect your hormones, your gut microbiome, and your inflammatory process. There is infinite power at the end of your fork.

Quantity: A snack should be sized to keep us 50% full, so aim to make it 1/3 – 1/2 the size of a meal.

Nutrient Balance: Aim to have protein, fat, carbs, and fiber in every snack to satisfy an all-star macronutrient profile that will keep your body happy.

Frequency: Every four hours depending on what you had for your previous meal. You don't always need a snack, so let your body decide if it's snack time. When you do snack, aim to have it four hours after breakfast and four hours after lunch.

With these seven great, super fast and easy options below, we implore you to skip the vending machine and opt for high-quality, low-calorie, nutritious snacks instead.

  • 8 ounces organic, grass-fed full-fat yogurt (140 calories) with 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds (51 calories) = 191 total calories

This snack will give you a boost of probiotics for which your gut microbiome will thank you. Your hormones will love the dose of calcium, your skin will soak up the Vitamin E and B1, and your nervous system will benefit from both.

  • 14 almonds or cashews or 1 tablespoon almond butter (95 calories) with an organic green apple (70 calories) = 165 total calories

Rotate your fruit choice weekly to stay in harmony with the seasons and enjoy a snack that fulfills your fiber, fat, carbs, and protein requirements and will leave you feeling satisfied and energized.

  • 6 tablespoons hummus (160 calories) with carrot, cucumber, and celery sticks (40 calories) = 200 total calories

When selecting hummus, always check for good quality oil like olive or flax. Leave it on the shelf if it has canola, soybean, or safflower oil. Enjoy a massive dose of iron and good gut health-promoting fiber that chickpeas provide and get filled up with all the nutrients from raw veggies with live enzymes.

If six tablespoons of hummus sound like a lot for you, you can cut it down to three tablespoons and add a hard-cooked pasture-raised egg.

  • 4 tablespoons guacamole or 1/4 avocado (80 calories) with 10 whole grain gluten-free crackers (120 calories) = 200 total calories

Avocados are loaded with heart and skin-friendly fats that your brain and body will love. High-quality whole grain crackers will provide slow-releasing carbs and a touch of protein to keep you feeling full.

  • 1 packet of organic, plain instant oatmeal (100 calories) with 1 scoop grass-fed collagen (36 calories, 9g protein) and ½ teaspoon coconut oil (60 calories) = 196 total calories

A dose of cholesterol-lowering oatmeal is good for the heart, lowers inflammation, and can be very comforting in cold weather. Adding protein and fat to this instant oatmeal is the key to making the snack complete so that it works for and not against your metabolism.

  • ¾ of a healthy bar that is not loaded with sugar

Today, we're showing the widely available Lara Bars that meet the minimum requirement of 5g of protein. They are a bit higher in carbs, ringing in at 23g. My preference is Primal Kitchen’s Grass-Fed Collagen Bar with 15g of protein and only 10g of carbs which makes them highly functional as well as delicious.

  • 1 scoop Fit365 Protein Powder (or alternative protein powder that works for you that is 80 calories or less) with 1 cup of unsweetened almond or coconut milk (60 calories), shaken in a Blender Bottle with a 1 cup organic berries (62 calories) = 202 total calories

Follow these four rules of thumb along with the four pillars of snacking above when putting together your own snacks, and your body will be in for a biological upgrade that you can see and feel!

Rules of Thumb for Snacking

  • 200 calories – to sustain your metabolism and blood sugar
  • 3 grams of fiber – it will be digested slowly to sustain your energy and keep you full
  • 5 grams of protein or more – to release hormones that make you feel satisfied
  • 12 grams of high-quality fat or less – to keep your daily intake of fat to 25-30% daily

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