Calories from protein affect your brain, your appetite control
center, so you are more satiated and satisfied.
Mark Hyman, M.D.
In today’s society, being on-the-go is in everyone’s daily routine. Whether it is flying out the door to get to work on time or running late to pick up the kids from school, we are frequently moving from one event to the next. This leaves little time to stop for a full, nutritious meal, meaning we easily turn to fast food. If we don’t have time for even fast food, we will turn to snacks.
When we enter a convenience store, we are bombarded with options. It can get quite overwhelming, and this typically leads to us choosing the wrong item. These items include cakes, cookies, chips, processed bars, and candy. All of these foods are packed with sugar, additives, and preservatives that can wreak havoc on the insulin, blood sugar, gut microbiome, as well as energy levels.
Top 4 Sources of Healthy Snacks
There are many ways to make the right snack choice on-the-go; it just takes a little more effort. Here is a list of snacks to choose for most on-the-go scenarios, as well as foods to stay away from.
Sources of Healthy Snacks to Satisfy the Munchies (Guilt-Free)
Here are the top 4 groups of healthy snacks to grab on-the-go:
High Protein Snacks
Protein helps us maintain metabolism and muscle mass throughout the day. Getting 15-30 grams of quality protein multiple times throughout the day is a great way to curb cravings, maintain energy, and maintain muscle.
- Animal protein options:
- Pre-sliced natural turkey, roast beef, and chicken (high in protein, no nitrates or nitrites)
- Low sugar beef jerky
- Tuna packets and salmon packets (wild caught if possible)
- Low sodium cheese sticks (if not lactose intolerant)
- Hard-boiled egg 2 pack
- Greek yogurt—No high fructose corn syrup
- Whey protein shake – Cenegenics® offers a whey protein sources from grass-fed, hormone-free dairy and is free of artificial colors, preservatives and sweeteners
- Vegetarian/vegan protein options:
- Roasted chick peas
- 3 bean salad (pre-made with vinegar and olive oil)
- Hummus (with vegetables)
- Vegan protein shake – Cenegenics® Pea & Rice Protein is a great option, additional suggestions can easily be made upon request
Low Glycemic Carbohydrates Protein Snacks
Carbohydrates provide necessary, long term energy to perform our most basic and most difficult daily life functions. Incorporating whole food carbohydrates throughout the day is a great way to minimize energy crashes.
- Sources include:
- Whole fruit: Apples, peaches, berries, pears, oranges (fruits with skin have a higher fiber content)
- Fibrous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery (great with hummus)
- Roasted chick peas
Healthy Fat Snack Choices
Healthy fats are necessary to maintaining cell health, immune function, temperature regulation, and satiety. Adding healthy fats to snacks can make snacking easy and healthy.
Always check serving size. Fats have the highest caloric content per gram, so be aware of what a serving is.
- Sources include:
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios
- Nut butters (natural nut butter, no sugar or syrups added)
- Dark chocolate (serving size!)
- When possible, combine your macronutrients when snacking
- Some examples include:
- 3 ounces natural turkey, 1 apple, 15 almonds
- Carrot sticks with 3 Tbsp. hummus
- Vegan protein shake with 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter blended in
- Turkey rollup
- 2 slices turkey, 1 slice avocado, spinach, and some mustard
- Tuna salad made with guacamole
- 2 hard-boiled eggs and an orange
- GET CREATIVE: Keep combining foods from each category to keep it interesting!
Foods to Avoid for Weight Loss & Optimal Health
Top 4 Foods to Avoid For Weight Loss
These are groups that you should skip while shopping or looking for healthy snacks:
When searching for snacks, there are some things you should avoid at all times:
- These include:
- "Low fat options"
- These foods, typically found in crackers, bars, and other high carb products, are very high in sugar, which has replaced the fat
- Foods with any kind of syrup
- If you see the word syrup on the nutrition label, PUT IT BACK!
- These syrups are usually not natural and can spike insulin aggressively
- Processed junk foods
- Almost, if not all cakes, cookies, chips, cereal and cereal bars, candy, and pastries are processed and blood sugar bombs
- Sugary beverages
- Soda, juices, sports drinks, creamer based coffee drinks, and slushies are all massively high in sugar
People Also Asked
1. What is the best snack for weight loss?
There are many options that can included, but I suggest a combination with protein, high fiber, and phytonutrients as a best option for weight loss. The protein can yield a small thermogenic effect, while also supplying amino acids to skeletal muscle tissue. The protein and fiber will also help you feel fuller longer – likely satisfying you until your next meal. Lastly, phytonutrients to provide your body with antioxidants, vitamins, & minerals.
Examples could be Greek yogurt with berries and flaxseed meal, Cenegenics whey protein shake with a handful of baby carrots/an orange, a pouch of tuna or chicken breast on tomato slices or wrapped in greens. Anything with that structure should offer a lot of benefits.
2. What are healthy snacks to buy?
Portable protein sources (Cenegenics Whey, single serving, unflavored greek yogurt cups, nitrate-free jerky), mixed nuts (roasted/raw, salted/unsalted would be based on preference and hydration status, single-serving packs may be good for individuals with portion control issues), portable vegetable options, fruit that can stay at room temperature, avocado, etc. Selected options would vary based on in-office/at-home with refrigeration/no refrigeration, in the car, etc.
3. What are 5 healthy snacks?
High quality protein powder, oranges, apples, avocados, mixed nuts – based on ease of use and no need for refrigeration.
Healthy Snacking – In Conclusion
Nutrition is often described as the most difficult part of weight management. As discussed in our Healthy Meal Prepping Ideas blog, often failing to prepare is preparing you to fail. Don’t go to the grocery store without a list and fall prey to the trap of convenience in the form of processed foods. Although they may look enticing, most of these foods are high in sugar, have very little nutritional value, and can lead to weight gain and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Whole foods (fruits & vegetables), animal and vegetarian/vegan protein, and combination snacks are often the most efficient for curbing appetite, maintaining energy, and helping to sustain a regular metabolic rate.
Your Cenegenics® physician and clinical team work to provide custom tailored nutritional plans. They help make adjustments based on your lifestyle demands and they help you to effectively utilize your time. If you’re interested in learning more about optimizing your nutrition & overall wellness, contact us below for your free consultation.
Next Steps to Optimizing Your Nutrition & Overall Wellness
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About the Author
Joshua D’Alessandro - MS, CSCS, CISSN
Nutrition & Exercise Counselor at Cenegenics New York City
My name is Joshua D'Alessandro and I am an Exercise and Nutrition Counselor for Cenegenics in NY. My passion for fitness began at a very young age and has manifested into a career filled with possibilities. The countries largest epidemic, and quite possibly the root cause of most issues, is diminishing health. In my career, I hope to do everything and anything I can to improve the well being and lives of the people around me!
This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources:
The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation
The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy
Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT
Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.
Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS
Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.