Snacks, what to have and when to have them. For us, like all our food, our snacks are part of a calculated training diet based on a few really important goals that are important to respect and keep to. First and foremost is foods got to be fun taste great and be a part of the balance. Its very easy to get into the relaxed mindset that main diet is achieving the aims and meeting goals, and snacks are small so they really don’t count in the over scheme of things. Maintaining a disciplined diet 100% of the time is crucial be it for diet, health, training, lifestyle or any other reason. (Disclaimer, I am not a nutritionist this is based on my diet habits, seek advice for yourself)
(Disclaimer, I am not a nutritionist this is based on my diet habits, seek advice for yourself)
Everybody is different and all our bodies have different needs and nutrient intakes. The nutrients are the same in general but its the quantities and frequencies that change drastically. Tracey and myself basically eat the same food types when we train, which is all the time, however I tend to eat near double and can get away with a lot higher carb and good fats intake; without the consequences of the unwanted growth in areas not needed. Overall our choices for snacks are part of a total calculated diet but to keep it simple we generally avoid pre packaged foods sugars and bad fats in excessive quantities. If your training hunger is a generally a sign your body needs food, proteins and carbs for growth size and strength. Sugars and fats (not the good kind) are generally just a mental craving and not a genuine need. That mental craving dissipates over time as diet discipline comes around.
We train early so first snack of the day is normally rice crackers with about a teaspoon of good quality no added sugar peanut or mixed nut butter spread over them and thin sliced chicken, awesome preload before training. Post training comes the favourite meal of the day, rolled oats with added plant based protein powder, and in serious pre comp training added egg whites. Normally chased down with an espresso extra strength coffee, the second for the day after the pre training short black.
Morning tea time we tend to mix it up and change out the snack from time to time, but the nutritional values are about the same. Some mornings it Tuna (canned in spring water) with a handful of cubed oven baked sweet potatoes or pumpkin. Possibly the same rice cracker snack we had for our wake up and pre training snack. If I’m on the road, don’t have access to any of my food or just really want a treat; I might go for a protein bar or protein cookie available in most supermarkets and service stations. Generally speaking its the same for afternoon and evening snacks, except Tracey might opt for fruit diced with a tablespoon of cottage cheese and a tablespoon of nuts. And the evening snacks only if still feeling hungry, not just for the sake of eating. If you just want to eat, eat veges. Cooked or cold they make you feel full and are great for you.
Evenings before bed are important as diet and timing of food intake can and does have an impact on sleeping. So evening snack, if you are going to have anything, should ideally be an hour and a half or more before bedtime. About an hour before bedtime we like to have a cup of herbal tea. We avoid black teas and anything that has caffeine or stimulant content. Online shopping for good quality tea mixes is often really simple with a lot of the better websites giving clear descriptions and even options based on time of day and benefits of the teas. We aren’t too bothered about health benefits and claims, more that it tastes great. Possibly the only one I regularly go for is dried chamomiles, no idea if it works as a sleep thing or not but mentally I’m convinced it helps.
And as a treat we nearly always have a small piece of chocolate, selectively we always choose 85% or higher cacao content or dark chocolates, just our preference and again not a stimulant on the sugar front before sleep.