Snacking has been given a bad reputation within the fitness and health world. I can't count the amount of times friends of mine have given up snacking between meals in a bid to quickly lose weight before a holiday or important event. It has been drilled into us that we must eat three meals a day, at set times a day, and god forbid anything carby enter your body after 6p.m. (do you really think your body knows or cares what time of day it is?!) In reality, we should eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full... just like we used to back in cave man days when there was no 'breakfast isle' in Tesco advising you that sugar filled processed cereal is evidently a suitable way to start your day. Food is fuel, and we should treat it as such... In fact I can't remember the last time I actually ate three meals in a day. Before jumping to conclusions that I must be unhealthily restricting my diet (I'm not), or constantly snacking on crisps and chocolate (I definitely am not), the reality is that I train extremely hard most days, meaning I eat to refuel that body as and when it is needed. I am a picker, and always have been. I hate large meals, I hate feeling full and would much rather nibble on things when my body is telling me that it needs some more energy, NOT like clockwork at the same time every day. And you know what? As long as your body is hitting its calorie and macronutrient goals then it really doesn't matter. The only situation when snacking becomes a problem is when it is adding additional and unnecessary calories to your daily total.
So if like me, you're a self confessed snacker, but want to expand your horizons and try some new and healthy 'clean snacks' (and really can't be bothered whipping up your own), then give some of the products listed below a try! All personal favourites of mine and all refined sugar free, gluten free and high in protein.
001. Vita Coco Coconut Water - Personal fave: lemonade flavour. I don't need to harp on about the benefits of coconut water post workout as I'm sure you've read it all before, but the long and short of it is it's a great and natural way to rehydrate, replace lost electrolytes and it tastes absolutely S E N S A T I O N A L. If I could be put on a drip of this stuff I would.
002. Vivid Matcha Green Tea - Pictured above is both the pre-made unsweetened matcha green tea drink (super refreshing and great served cold or blended in a Nutribullet with ice to make a green-tea-slushy-come-little-piece-of-heaven), and the natural powder form which can be used to make your own. Matcha is basically green tea in its purest form- when you drink matcha you consume the entire leaf meaning 100% of the nutrients and around 100 times more antioxidents than regular green tea. Amazing for metabolism, fighting infections, strengthening immune system and providing energy post workout.
003. Fit Bites - My new favourite thing. I discovered this really recently in the Selfridges Food Hall (and don't get me wrong, £2.99 a packet is hefty price tag) but the taste more than makes up for it and these are so worth it for a more indulgent clean snack. There are lots of flavours to choose from, but all are 100% raw, organic and natural. My favourite so far being the 'maca, figs, almonds and coconut' balls. High protein energy balls of dreams. Try them.
004. Bounce Balls - There really isn't a lot to say about these balls of yumminess - they come in a vast variety of flavours, some marketed as high protein hits, some as energy bursts, some for their antioxidant ingredients. At first glance these can seem quite high calorie with averagely 170-220 calories per ball depending on the flavour, but they are so filling and one of these post workout can keep me full for hours afterwards.
005. Saf Raw Activated Nuts - Being allergic to wheat and potato, savoury snacking becomes an issue. I can't even tell you how often I see someone eating a bag of salt and vinegar crisps and my mouth salivates at the thought of that flavour combination. I have searched high and low for some form of healthy salt and vinegar snack that is allergy friendly and finally I have found these salt and balsamic vinegar seasoned nuts and they literally live up to every salt and vinegar expectation that I have concocted in my head over the past 2.5 years.
006. Trek Peanut Power Energy Bars - I am a peanut fiend. Anything peanut flavoured has me sold, and these energy bars are a perfect replacement for more sugary post workout protein bars. No words. Just try.