My Top Ten Favourite Snacks that Unlock the Potential of Food
I’m so excited to be part of this year’s Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month Campaign.
We are celebrating Nutrition Month 2019 by helping Canadians unlock the potential of food to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and bring us together. Dietitians are key.
Along with my fellow dietitian colleagues, I will help illustrate that food has the potential to:
Fuel: Stay energized by planning nutritious snacks into your day.
Discover: Foster healthy eating habits in children by teaching them to shop and cook.
Prevent: Understand how food can help prevent chronic diseases like type 2
diabetes and heart disease.
Heal: Learn how food can promote healing and how dietitians work in health care teams to make a difference.
Bring us together: Enjoy the benefits of bringing families and friends together with food.
As you know, in my practice I work with athletes, but there are so many dietitians who work in other diverse areas of nutrition too! Did you know that you can find dietitians working in many places, including hospitals, grocery stores, community health centres, universities, rehabilitation facilities, seniors’ residences and long-term care settings?
We all have one thing in common: We love food – it unites us all! Whether we are counselling a patient recovering from a heart attack, teaching a cooking class or taking students through a tour of a grocery store, we are all passionate about the potential of food and its connection to health. You will learn so much this month about the amazing potential of food!
To make Nutrition Month come alive, I’m going to be focusing on fueling your day with tasty and healthy snacks. In the past, I’ve blogged about what you are looking for in a post-workout snack, but here I keep it simple and target snack ideas.
Here is a list of my top 10 favourite snack ideas for athletes!:
Fruit and Nuts
I love this snack for its ease and portability. Throw an apple and a small container of unsalted nuts in your gym bag, and you’re ready to go. Did you know that in addition to being a fantastic source of heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fat, nuts are also a rich source of fibre, and vitamin E, folic acid, niacin, magnesium and potassium amongst other nutrients? For more about the health benefits of nuts check out this review in Nutrition.
Protein Packed Sandwich
Many athletes dismiss sandwiches as a snack idea as they see them as more of a main meal kind of food. But, a protein-packed sandwich is the perfect pre- or post-workout fare. Peanut butter and banana, or a meat sandwich, work well or come up with your favourite combo. Just avoid any fried sandwich options. Can’t stomach a whole sandwich? Eat half before your practice, and half afterwards.
Avocado and Rice Cakes
Loved by foodies and Instagrammers, avocado toast is also great for fueling. I’ve suggested rice cakes here as an alternative but if you prefer to stick to classic toast that works well too. Just keep in mind that avocado is high in fat and may or may not sit well in your stomach before a workout.
Kefir and Homemade Energy Balls
Kefir is all sorts of good for your gut and energy balls are great for adding precious carbs for energy and refuelling. Check our site for great recipes for energy balls.
Oats, Milk, and Fruit
Oats are a fantastic pre-workout idea because they sit well in the stomachs of most athletes. If you are an endurance athlete and need extra salt, you can choose packets of instant oats. If not, oatmeal prepared from scratch is a low sodium alternative. Either way, it’s super easy to make and delicious.
Raw Veggies and Hummus
Most of us need to add more vegetables to our diet and snacking is one of the best ways to do it. Precut your vegetables at the beginning of each week and store them in the fridge in a bit of water. Pop the veggies into a container each morning, and you can snack on them at school or work. The crunch can keep help keep you alert, and the added vitamins and minerals can help stave off illness.
Shakes are a fantastic way to add extra fruit and veggies to your diet. They are also an excellent way to add in protein and carbs. Even “good fats” can make an appearance if you add a spoonful of seeds like hemp, chia or flax. The biggest bonus is that liquids are digested more quickly than solids, making shakes a good pre-workout idea for those who struggle with stomach upset while exercising. If this is you, be sure to include the shake well in advance of your exercise start to give your body a chance to absorb the liquid. If you’d like some recipe ideas you can check out our blog.
Greek Yogurt, Fruit and Homemade Granola
Like the shake, this snack checks both the protein and the carb boxes. Opt for plain yogurt to limit added sugar unless you need to amp up your carbs post-workout.
Cheese Strings, Melba Toast, and Raw Veggies
Cheese strings are simple to toss in your snack bag for the day, and if you’ve cut some veggies ahead of time, this one is a no-brainer. The cheese and veggies are great for your teeth, and the snack combo is surprisingly satiating.
Apple, Peanut Butter, and a Glass of Milk or Plant-Based Beverage
Spread peanut butter on apple slices and if you like, top the PB with raisins. A twist on the classic celery and peanut butter, this version with apple is a favourite of kids and adults alike. Pair your apple treat with a cold glass of skim milk or a plant-based beverage like soya milk. The addition of a glass of milk helps to add some of the muscle-building amino acid leucine to your diet. Apples aren’t your jam? Pears and bananas also work well.
Use these snack ideas to inspire your tasty ideas. Unlock the potential of food this Nutrition Month!
Nutritional planning is integral to achieve your optimal athletic performance. Gazelle Nutrition Lab delivers one on one or group nutritional counselling and consulting to both recreational and high-performance athletes. Also, the Food For Thought Blog is a free resource for healthy recipes and health tips. Have questions? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch!
This post was inspired by Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign. Learn more at www.nutritionmonth2019.ca.”