Healthy Snack Ideas Take 2

Don’t reach for that doughnut just yet. Here are some guidelines for choosing healthy snacks.

When snacking, it’s a good idea to think about blood sugar levels. If you consume a sugary snack, chances are your blood sugar levels will spike. And although you may feel a temporary rush of energy and an elevated mood, you’ll most likely feel like you’ve hit a brick wall and experience a crash shortly after snacking on high-glycemic index foods.

After crashing, you’ll feel hungry again and repeat the vicious cycle.
A little background …
It’s important to keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. Therefore, when we eat snacks, we want to apply the same fundamental rule to that of each of your regular meals. (Hopefully, you’re eating breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, to maintain steady blood sugar and help burn fat.)
Our fundamental rule is that we always want to combine the following three macronutrients when eating:
  • protein
  • carbohydrates
  • natural fat
Combining macronutrients ensures that you’ll feel full longer and won’t need to binge on sweets. In fact, if your regular meals have a good ratio of the three macronutrients, you might find you may not have to snack at all.
Pay attention to your body
Start paying attention to how you feel after eating a meal. If you feel full for three to four hours after eating and don’t have bloating or a drop in energy, then whatever you just ate is the right macronutrient proportion for you.
For example, a breakfast of two eggs, one piece of sprouted whole grain bread with a little dab of butter and two small slices of all-natural bacon may satisfy you for several hours.
To keep your blood sugar levels steady, it’s a good idea not to go more than four hours during the day without eating. So taking the breakfast example above, say, eaten at 8 a.m., you’ll want to eat lunch at about noon.
Maybe you don’t get home till 6 p.m. If you wait till then to eat dinner, you’ll likely be tired and cranky, so it’s a good idea to have a late afternoon snack.
What are some healthy snack choices?
Here are some examples of healthy snacks that combine all three macronutrients:
  • Celery and raw almond butter: celery is a carbohydrate; almond butter is both protein and natural fat.
  • Cheese and crackers: opt for grass-fed cheese for higher essential Omega 3 fatty acid content if possible and gluten-free rice crackers for less intestinal bloating.
  • Hummus and carrot sticks: hummus contains a little protein and natural fat.
  • Nitrate and nitrite-free jerky: containsprotein and natural fat; you don’t always have to include a carbohydrate if you can digest meat efficiently.
  • Edamame sprinkled with sea salt: edamame is the whole soybean and it contains both protein and essential trace minerals if sprinkled with sea salt.
  • Greek yogurt: unless you’re on a restricted diet, go for the full-fat variety, which will keep you full for longer and includes all three macronutrients.
  • Apple slices with honey and olives: perfect for those who crave sweet and salty.
  • Organic turkey breast slice with crackers: turkey contains both protein and natural fat. (It’s easy to bring a package of healthy deli slices with you to work; just make sure your coworkers don’t steal it!)
Even nutritionists, dieticians and health coaches fall off the wagon. If you do and reach for a doughnut, the best thing to do is to eat a little protein and natural fat (preferably before eating the doughnut) to stabilize your blood sugar levels.
But if you adopt these healthy snacking ideas, hopefully, your cravings for sugary junk food will subside.

A Beginner’s Shopping List: Quality Food For The Best Results!

A Beginner’s Shopping List: Quality Food For The Best Results!

As a beginner, weight training always comes first in one’s mind. You hit the gym and train like a freak, loving every minute of it. Be it that you are looking to lose weight or gain muscle the gym is the first place you focus on. Some of you will clean up your diet, but more often than not when I hear the statement: “I am eating better.” This means to me, you are just eating a little better than normal.

You really have not taken the time to research what are good foods and what are bad foods. Yes, you have cut out fast food and candy, but are you really eating high quality foods? High quality foods will help you obtain high quality results. Soon you wonder why you’re not losing more weight or increasing your muscles. You have done the same thing that 90% of all lifters do. You have put too much time and energy in the gym and not enough in the kitchen.

Below I am going to list all the foods that should be in your shopping cart and the ones that shouldn’t. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a cheat meal from time to time but sticking with the good foods will help you reach your goals a lot faster than the latter.

Good Sources Of Protein:

  • Egg – Grand Daddy of all foods. I like to have 1 whole egg for every 3 whites. So breakfast might include 6 egg whites and 2 whole eggs.

  • Liquid Egg Whites – This is just pure egg whites. More convenient than cracking all the eggs and discarding the yolk but will cost you a little more.

  • Skinless Chicken Breast or Cutlets – Lean, inexpensive, high quality protein; staple of every diet.

  • Lean Ground Turkey – Lean high quality protein. Little more expensive than chicken breast.

  • Top Round Steak – Lean cut of meat. Has more fat than chicken but great source of meat. Definitely something you want to have in the off-season and can be eaten while dieting in moderation.

  • Filet Mignon – Tasty lean cut of meat. Expensive but worth it every once in a while.

  • Buffalo – Lean red meat, very tasty but super expensive. Give it a try.

  • Flounder – Inexpensive lean fish.

  • Cod – Inexpensive lean fish.

  • Pollock – Lean fish.

  • Wild Salmon – Healthy fatty fish. I get my salmon wild because the quality is a lot better but that results in a higher cost.

  • Canned Tuna – Lean inexpensive fish. If you worry about your sodium you might want to cut down on this. Make sure you get the one in water not oil.

  • Turkey Bacon – Leaner than regular bacon, not something I have all the time but I am a bacon lover so adding this to my breakfast in the off-season is something I like.

  • Lean Ground Beef – Make sure you get something that is at least 90% lean. This can be a great off-season source of protein.

  • Cottage Cheese – Slow digesting form of protein. Great for having when you have to go a long time in-between meals and also excellent to have before bed.

  • Pork Tenderloin – Inexpensive lean protein.

  • Wild Sea Bass – Lean high quality protein. Expensive side.

  • Wild Swordfish – Lean high quality protein. Expensive.

Nothing says protein like a nice juicy steak. And if you’re careful to choose a lean cut, you can get all of the protein with far less fat. In fact, a lean cut of beef has barely more saturated fat than a similar size of skinless chicken breast.

Protein That You Should Stay Away From:

  • Skinned Chicken – The skin just adds extra fat that you don’t need.

  • Breaded Chicken – The bread crumbs adds simple carbs that you don’t need.

  • Deli Meat – Made with too many chemicals. Low quality of meat.

  • Bacon – Too Fatty, but so tasty. I love this food but it is not the best for you.

  • Farmed Fish – Have less omega-3s than wild fish, recent studies show that the farm raised fish’s fat is very unhealthy.

  • Fatty Ground Beef – Any ground beef that is below 85% is too fatty for me. Yes, they make tasty burgers or meatballs but that amount of fat is just too high to have on a regular basis.

  • Fatty Cuts of Red Meat – Just look at the steaks, if the outside of the steak has some fat on it but the body of the steak is all red then that is fine. All you have to do with those steaks is cut the fat off the edges. If the body of the steak is riddled with white fat you are getting a low quality highly fatty steak that might taste good but won’t be good for you.

Good Sources Of Carbohydrates:

  • Oatmeal – I like the slow cooked version but the quick one minute is fine. I have oatmeal with my first meal every day. It is a great slow digesting carb.

  • Steel Cut Oats – Similar to oatmeal. Slow digesting carb.

  • Fruit – All fruits are great but some are better than others for different reasons. Blueberries are at the top of the list for antioxidants and bananas are great for post-workout carbs. The majority of them digest faster than complex carbs so they are best used in the AM or pre and post workout.

  • Vegetables – Like fruit you really can’t go wrong when you eat veggies. During the off-season all veggies are great to have but when you are looking to diet I stick with just the green ones as they have less calories and net carbs. Veggies are a great source of fiber. Try to have some in every meal.

  • Sweet Potatoes/Yams – Tasty slow digesting carb. Add a little Splenda and you will be in heaven.

  • Brown Rice – Staple of a slow digesting carb.

  • White Rice – Faster digesting carb. Not a big fan as I think the brown rice is better overall option but white rice is good to have in the off season as it gives you the ability to bring in the carbs and calories need to grow.

  • Whole Wheat Bread – I like to have Ezekiel bread as it is not processed and not made with white flour. Great slow digesting carb.

  • Cream Of Wheat – Substitute for white rice. Faster digesting carb.

  • Cream of Rice – Substitute for white rice. Faster digesting carb.

Most high-protein diets limit grains to a couple servings a day, so you want to make sure the grains you do eat are pulling their weight. That means staying clear of white breads and pastas, which have little to offer nutrient-wise, when compared with their whole-grain cousins. Whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas, on the other hand, are rich in fiber, which might otherwise be in short supply for people on a high-protein diet.

Carbohydrates That You Should Stay Away From:

  • Cereal – Most cereals today are loaded with sugar. Oatmeal is a better option. Add some blueberries and truvia to it and I promise it will be as sweet as you need. On top of that you will be getting a much healthier carb source.

  • Candy – Loaded with sugar.

  • Chips – Loaded with simple carbs and bad fats.

  • Ice Cream – Loaded with sugar.

  • Soda – Diet version is fine but the regular stuff is just sugar water.

  • Sugar Juice – I am not a big believer in any kind of juice even most fruit juices as they are mainly sugar water. I would rather eat the entire fruit which has all the nutrients and is better for you.

Good Sources Of Fats:

  • Olive Oil/Flaxseed Oil – Great source of fat. Great to add to dishes.

  • Fish Oil – Staple source of healthy fats.

  • Almond Butter/Cashew Butter – Derived from the nuts but a good source of fat.

  • Almonds – Great source of fat and small amount of protein.

  • Pecans – Great source of fat and small amount of protein.

  • Walnuts – Great source of fat and small amount of protein.

  • Cashews – Great source of fat and small amount of protein.

  • Natural Peanut Butter – Not processed. Great source of fat and some protein. Love adding this to my shakes during the day.

  • Avocados – Healthy fat source. Love it in my sushi.

Fats You Stay Away From:

  • Fried Anything – I know that the government is making restaurants get rid of making saturated and trans fats in fried foods but you should still just stay away from fried food.

  • Butter and Margarine – Not healthy to add to the bread. Add oil instead.

  • Palm Oil and Coconut Oil – Not healthy fat source.

  • Vegetable Shortening – Not healthy fat source.

The List

Now you have an idea about many of the foods that you see at the super market. I am going to give you a shopping list to help you get started. If you don’t like the foods that I picked it is ok to substitute some things out.

Protein:

  • Eggs

  • Chicken Breast

  • Top Round Steak

  • Cottage Cheese

Carbs:

  • Oatmeal

  • Fruit: Apples

  • Blueberries

  • Bananas

  • Vegetables: Spinach

  • Broccoli

  • Onions

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Brown Rice

Fats:

  • Olive Oil

  • Fish Oil – You can get the pill form if you like.

  • Almonds

  • Natural Peanut Butter

No matter the emphasis on protein, make sure you leave room for fruits and vegetables in a high-protein diet. These nutrient gold mines contain powerful antioxidants that aren’t found in most other foods, and research suggests that people who eat plenty of fruits and veggies may lower their risk of cancer.

Conclusion
The list above is a shopping list of things that will help you get the best results possible. By no means should you only eat these things as life is no fun without the treats and goodies. I am just laying out a blue print for what should be the staples in your refrigerator.
Remember hard training needs to be supplemented with a great diet so stick to the good sources of food above and your results will be great also. Good Luck.
Author: Alex Stewart
Website: www.BetancourtNutrition.com
Bodyspace: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/BigStew/
Contact: alex@betancourtnutrition.com








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