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The Skinny on Snacking

Boost metabolism, prevent han​ger, & crush your goals.


Before we begin.... let's define hanger...

han·​gry|\ˈhaŋ-grē: the point at which one is so hungry, they are angry.

Research has shown that both eating 3 meals a day and eating 6 mini-meals a day is optimal for weight loss, making nutrition super confusing.


So... should you snack?


For some, eating 3 meals per day works great, for others, eating 3 meals, leads to midday hanger, binge eating at night, and unnecessary picking after meals. If this is you, having a planned snack or mini-meal can help.


The formula? Combine a protein and a carb. This combo creates "satiety" or the feeling of fullness, and keeps you satisfied for hours (vs. minutes) and boosts metabolism. The combo also helps to prevent insulin spikes, so you help to prevent & control diabetes as well as midday crashes.


Let's take a look at two possible situations:

Scenario 1:

8 am - Breakfast: Chilled overnight oats

12 pm - Lunch: Chicken salad (with hummus vs. mayo) + carrots & celery sticks

3 pm - Snack: Dry roasted crunchy fava beans (100 calories, 7g protein, 8 g fiber (other examples below)

6 pm - Dinner: 2 x Cod tacos with black beans, salsa, yogurt, & guac + salad (dressing recipes)

7 pm - Dessert: Banana nice cream


Scenario 2:

8 am - Breakfast: Chilled overnight oats

12 pm - Lunch: Chicken salad (with hummus vs. mayo) + carrots & celery sticks

6 pm - Dinner: 4 x Cod tacos with black beans, salsa, yogurt, & guac + salad (dressing recipes)

7 pm - Dessert: Banana nice cream + 2 cookies + chocolate granola


The difference? You reached "hanger" and dinner portions doubled as well as after dinner snacking. The addition of 100 calories as a snack saved 550 extra calories at and after dinner.



SNACK examples: (*Brands listed are examples, and not sponsored to be featured).


Protein (choose 1):

  • 1 small handful of nuts (~1/4 cup)

  • 1 Tbsp nut or seed butter (pb, almond, cashew, tahini)

  • ½ can tuna, salmon, or sardines

  • 2 Tbsp hummus or tzatziki dip

  • 1 cheese stick

Note for those avoiding dairy: dairy alternatives usually don't contain protein, which is fine, just choose something else that contains protein.

Carbs (choose 1):

  • 1 slice whole wheat bread (ex. 70 cal Dave’s Killer Bread)

  • 1 Wrap (Let’s Skip the Sandwich low carb 60 calorie wraps or Trader Joe's 45 calorie low carb wraps)

  • Fruit (1 medium sized or ½ - 1 cup) - frozen grapes, cherries, blueberries, etc.

  • 1 cup cereal less than 6 g sugar (Puffins, Kashi, Stoneground Organic, Nature’s Path)

  • Crackers (look at serving size on container) Ex: crackers with 3 g of fiber or more



Foods that contain both (protein + complex carbs):

- Cottage Cheese

  • Good Culture – plain or flavored varieties

- Yogurt

  • (Plain is best or varieties with less than 10g of sugar ex. Chobani hint of, Siggi’s, YQ) - avoid varieties that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners or stevia (unless you are diagnosed with diabetes)

- Bars: not all have this combo of protein + carbs; to name a few that do:

- Dry Roasted Beans:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Mindful Eating:

If you tend to overeat at meals or snack late a night, try not to go more than 3-4 hours without eating. A healthy snack between meals can decrease hunger cravings and keep you from overeating at meal time.


  • Pack snacks for on the go

  • Don’t wait until you are TOO hungry - this leads to poor choices and overeating

  • Portion out snack after purchase or buy individually wrapped

  • Have 2 glasses of water before you begin snacking

  • Use to hunger scale to assess how hungry you are (meals & snacks) before & after

  • Understand that hunger levels can change day to day





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Registered Dietitian & Sports Nutritionist
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