4 Snack Foods to Feed Muscle & Hold Off Hunger by Stuart MacEwan
- Greek Yogurt – A plain Greek yogurt from a brand like Fage (sold at Costco, plain 2%) has 170 calories with 5g of fat, 9g of carbs and 23g of protein per cup. If you don’t mind the slightly bitter taste, it’s great on its own as a snack between meals with plenty of protein to keep your tummy full and your muscles fueled. If the taste is a little too blah, then adding tart berries like raspberries, blueberries or strawberries will really make a tasty after workout recovery meal. Berries have a wide variety of micronutrients like vitamin c (important for helping the body to create muscle and collagen tissues) and vitamin k (essential for helping your blood to clot and strengthen bones). If berries get boring or are of season, try mixing your Greek yogurt with honey instead. Honey is a wonderful natural sweetener that the body readily converts into glycogen and glucose (perfect for after a hard workout to bring your blood sugar back to a nominal level). Adding ½ cup of berries or 1 Tbsp of honey will add about 11-17g carbs to your high protein snack to help bring your body back to an anabolic state.
- Cottage Cheese – Whether you pick a non-fat or 2% low fat cottage cheese, this food makes a great in between tummy filler that will deliver 28-30g of muscle building protein. Cottage cheese is easy to wolf down on hot days or when you aren’t super hungry (its really easy to chew and swallow if you don’t want to put the energy into powering down a sandwich). The vitamin d and calcium are essential for building and maintaining bone density, but are also vital in allowing your muscles to contract while moving and exercising. Some folks find that cottage cheese can taste a little boring, but this can be easily fixed by adding sliced tomato, or fruits like sliced pears or peaches. Similar to adding berries to Greek yogurt, the carbs from fruit can help the body recover after an intense weight training session.
- Bananas – Look, I love bananas. I’m talking love here. The only banana’s I don’t like are super bruised bananas. Not only are they tasty and easy to eat, they come in a handy peel that allows you to take them anywhere. Plus, nobody steals your banana’s if you leave them lying around (except Sara, but she replaced that one the next day). Banana’s have a wide variety of important nutrients including potassium (helps muscles function), b6 (helps your body metabolize food into energy), manganese and vitamin c. Eating a banana is a relatively quick thing and can be done with minimal mess, unlike eating a Quaker oat bar which is impossible to do without vacuuming the floor afterwards. Nobody ever got fat from eating bananas; think about it, when was the last time you saw somebody eat bananas and not fit into their pants later. Here’s a fun fact about bananas; banana’s have a ‘3 banana rule’. The rule states that you will never see someone eat more than 3 bananas in one sitting. That’s just for your own trivia knowledge there.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is easy to make, stores in the fridge for a day without going bad and is a great carb to snack on in between meals. Don’t get instant or quick oats; they are overly processed and digest much too quickly. Instead, buy rolled or old fashioned oats. They should take 20 minutes or so to cook. The thicker, less processed oat will digest slower and won’t spike your blood sugar like instant oats will. Oatmeal can be delicious with a little Splenda mixed in. 1 cup of oatmeal is around 300 calories, 50-60g carbs and 11g protein. Oatmeal is an easy meal to Tupperware and take with you around town for a snack. As with the aforementioned banana, nobody will steal your oatmeal.
And finally, one thing to avoid if you are looking to get or stay somewhat lean… alcohol. Alcohol from any source is metabolism quicksand. Alcohol is a toxin; enough alcohol will kill you (alcohol poisoning). When you drink alcohol, your liver slows all of its otherwise important metabolic duties to focus on breaking down and removing alcohol from your body. A glass of wine can slow down your metabolism for 6 hours. Drinking several drinks can retard your metabolism by 12-24 hours. It’s not uncommon that a new client of mine will start losing weight immediately when we first work together simply by eliminating alcohol from their diet. If you like to have a drink and don’t want to completely remove it from your life, then consider only drinking on Friday and Saturday, leaving Sunday through Thursday as progress days to refocus on making gains on losing fat and staying lean.