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  • Meal and Snacks – Some Ideas, knowledge & inspiration. Excuses and behaviour

    Posted on 9th February 2020

    One of the most common things we get asked for is healthy snack ideas


    Below are some ideas and snack suggestions for you 



    In basic terms the below are all good snacks. Good snacks don’t have to be perfect if they are small and the rest of the day is good.


    In food people often ‘know’ the answers already, but still experience doubt and uncertainty. Typically if its not junk and is a small portion its a good snack. Coke, crips, muffins, cakes, sweets – not good.  So many things do make good snacks. 


    The very best advice is not given about ‘a snack’ in isolation but rather in context of the day, taking into consideration timing , other food in the day, the goal and if it is an exercise/non exercise day – but we need a way to deliver that understanding in simple steps. 


    Our food coaching process of assessing and giving feedback in context of the daily/weekly food and exercise record enables us to  keep things simple but give really good accurate contextual advice – One day at time and then in broad context of the week – its the best way to learn about food, exercise and your goals bar none.  The other powerful aspect of the food photo diary is not  knowledge – but influence, taking the pics, sending the pics and receiving feedback from your own picture diary – is very  influential. Images are powerful influencers – especially when the images are yours and a record of your own actions.  


    For ideas on handling macros across your day or specific methods like ‘Keto’ , we will need a different article, though there is some comment below on macro and Kcal content that is general.


    Snack ideas 


    Lets start with natures classics – Fruit and Nuts


    Apple, pear, banana, berries – any fruit is a good snack


    pear healthy snack banana


    Nuts, Raisins – a good snack 



    Dont panic about ‘fruit sugars’ from fruit or high Kcals in nuts from the ‘oils’


    Fruit typically wont exceed 30g or so of fruit sugar (carbs) about 120 Kcals per snack 

    Oils in nuts are very nutritious – most oil and fat in food is….it’s only fat in junk food or fat fried food that you need to worry about 


    Other Snack Ideas 


    Small portions of healthy meals – often tupperwared from extra volume prepared when cooking the evening meal.


    lamb chop - healthy snack tortilla - healthy snack halloumi healthy snack fish and new potatoes healthy snack


    This could be chicken and rice (Tofu, fish or lamb chop equally good as chicken), spanish omellete, stir fry, halloumi and salad. Any meal that isnt junk in a small portion – typically carbs should be up to half a cup for snacks or around 20g and having some protein and vegetables is also good. Snacks can be with or without any of those 3 things ( Carbs, Protein, Vegetables) they are not right or wrong in themselves for containing all of those or not – we have to look at the whole day for that , and this is beyond the scope of this article …. in this article we will just idenitfy ‘good snacks’ and say that with or without carbs is a seperate subject we can come to later and on its own.  


    General ball park: 150Kcals (50-200) up to 25g Carbs, 10-20g protein. Things that don’t meet this criteria exactly but are obviously not junk are fine to be part of the broad picture.


    Snack  Bars and Packaged 


    There are many packaged protein and snack bars , also shown are other off the shelf ideas.


    bounce ball healthy snack protein bar nature valley healthy snack nakd bar healthy snackproetin bar grenade healthy snack pop corn healthy snack babybel  only healthy snack


    No or ultra low carb snacks: Fish, boiled egg, chicken, meat, soya, tofu, qourn, cheese, non strarchy vegetables


    Most things you think of (and know are not junk) are good in small portions 


    Muffins, fizzy drinks, crisps are junk and are not good snacks. 


    Most important 


    Never use the excuse ‘I don’t know what to snack on’ to eat rubbish – all these ideas are fairly obvious, perhaps you need a little re-assurance but here it  is – you know, you may doubt the precise make up of portions, Kcals , Macros ( carbs, protein, fat) but if you’re ‘trying’ then your onw best judgement will be fine   …. if its not junk or sweets or sugar filled pastries its okay in small portions 


    For exactly what those portions are – its a different subject in a way.


    Roughly speaking snacks could be around 150 Kcals (50-200)


    Carbs could be around 20g, Protein would be good less than 5g is negligable, its more meaning ful 10g and up, any nutritional qualoties are good.




    Knowledge and inspiration are EXCELLENT tools to overcome the behavioural and will power challenges – dont use them as excuses.


    IF you don’t have a new ideas and you’re bored so you drink fizzy drinks and eat muffins  –  the problem isn’t what you do or don’t know. 


    DO ask for new ideas and inspiration, but better yet – try new things yourself. Explore and try. Exploration and discovery will aid motivation. 


    Own your decisions good or bad.


    We will support you. We have proven methods to help you with.


    Food and the pursuit of pleasure is as compulsive as any addictive substance. For many the behavioural side of food is a very difficult journey. So if that is what the challenge really is – let us be addressing that and not pretending it’s a lack of knowledge or inspiration. We are so much more likely to succeed facing the target. 


    Truth and traction are most important. If you really want your goal –  be bored if you have to , engage will power.


    We can support and coach you. but never give your self excuses. Always face the facts – no one ever really thinks a muffin is a better idea than a pear for your goal. You may benefit from ideas and you may not have a nutrition degree  but don’t use these things as excuses for poor decisions. 


    Tough talk over. We have plenty of knowledge and inspiration for you – anytime that needs a freshen up , just ask.


    Remember the top of this article , there are ideas and suggestions… we completely acknowledge the role of fresh ideas and inspiration in helping you to  succeed.  




    Should there be carbs in snacks ?


    Depends on your goals and chosen method but in ‘lean and athletic’ baseline advice then ‘yes’ ‘mostly’ but its okay if ‘not always’ .


    This is because blood sugar should be kept even and the body should be nourished enough to avoid becoming catabolic. Research shows starvation can decrease metabolism by up to 25%. The body DOES have a starvation mode and if you trigger it you will undermine your performance, motivation and outcomes – you do not see athletes avoiding carbs, and look at the health and physique of athletes.  


    Regular exercisers can choose different methods for different goals (another article) – but ‘Lean and athletic’ is a good baseline  for a general physique goal or a nourishing but fat reducing goal and a good starting point.


    Protein and nutrients are equally important and valuable – so its  good  to see these in snacks too.  


    Ideally for physique goals following ‘lean and athletic’ there will be a Kcal deficit but the body will not experience food or fuel scarcity as the dominant state in the week. This means regular small portion food input. The overall weekly deficit will be moved in satisfying proportion then from body fat as the regular exercise stimulus promotes a value on lean tissue and stimulates fitness progress adaptations (anabolism) which need both energy and materials(protein). Metabolism is raised as the body is pursuing athletic progress. Energy is borrowed from fat since food consumption is in deficit to requirements. Positive deficit is the increased Kcal deficit as a result of an anabolic state. 


    Let me say that only carbs really affect blood sugar at a rate where the food consumption and energy release is faster than demand. Let’s not get into a discussion on Ketosis here – thats a different subject. So a small amount of carbs throughout the day is typically good. Indeed carbs are sometimes referred to as a ‘protein sparer’ if one of your meals or snacks misses carbs, thats no problem. if you miss carbs before or after exercise that is more aggressive but not always wrong – since there are seven days in the week, some days can be more aggressive and others more nourishing and supportive of the desired anabolic state. Carbs should not be excessive.


    A food week provides broad context and enables the client to lean their food habits more in the direction of deficit and fuel scarcity some of the time and more in the direction of nourishing some of the time. For example one day might might have a little carbs every few hours and another might have longer gaps. Its not within scope of this article to debate the shape and content of the whole days and weeks , especially once we start asking about exercise and non exercise days – but suffice it to day that the base advice is you can miss carbs in meals and snacks sometimes but not all the time. It  is also baseline advice to suggest being fueled by some small carb consumption both before and after exercise the majority of the time. This is in context of a 4 x week exerciser and at least 2 of those events vigorously challenging. 


    IF Kcal deficit is too great or blood sugar is too low then the body will become catabolic ( burns lean tissue, greater tendemcy to store fat, decrease in metabolism, decrease in energy for motovation/performance in exercise) and this undermines results.


    Thus – carbs can be absent form some meals – but should not be absent too frequently. Carbs should be small or moderate 10-25% of visual food portion.



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