In Defense of Snacking: 33 Options to Satisfy Your Craving Without Compromising Your Fitness

Let’s skip the part where we discuss the pros and cons arguments about snacking.

For the purpose of this article, let’s assume three things:

  1. You like to snack.
  2. You care about fitness.
  3. You would like to enjoy your snacks without derailing your fitness.

Without going into a deep discussion of why we feel the need to snack, we’ll just say that you are looking for something to satisfy you at that moment. (Something in the form of food. Haha)

What kind of snacker are you?

This is important. If you find exactly the right snack, you are much more likely to feel satisfied once you’ve eaten it. You mentally and mouthally (not a real word) want to feel that what you ate “hit the spot.”

Your snack experience should be over when you are done. Thinking about what you really like will keep you from eating something else, and then looking for more to satisfy what you really wanted.

Ever really wanted some peanut butter but thought it was bad for you so you had a piece of fruit, but that didn’t satisfy you, so you went on to eat a few pretzels, and then some cheese?

Eating what you actually want for your snack will leave you less likely to eat around what you really want, a practice which often has you consuming more calories in the process, and never feeling satisfied because you never ate what you really wanted.

Take the #cosmoquiz!

Crunchy: Your main goal is to crunch on things. You like the mouth feel of something crunchy. You’re into nuts, carrots, seeds,

Salty: Ooooh, guurrl you so salty. You love things like pickles, beef jerky, and salted peanuts. Something about salty food hits the spot.

Sweet: You’ve got that sweet tooth. You love anything sweet. That includes watermelon, chocolate, candy.

Cold:  It’s always 98.6˚ in your mouth, so you want something cooooold. You like popsicles, ice cream, frozen berries.

Fuel: You don’t give a f*ck about any of this. You eat for fuel and because you are hungry. When you aren’t hungry, you don’t eat. BAM.

But what if more than one applies to me?

No worries! Rate them in the order of what you like best! Also, some of those will naturally go together. For example, peanuts and pickles can be both crunchy and salty.

Let’s Snack!

I wouldn’t be writing this for a fitness blog if I were only going to suggest you buy the 100 calorie pack of Cheez-its. In fact, we are going to try to avoid packaged foods branded as snacks.

That doesn’t mean we won’t talk about packaged foods—but we won’t talk about packaged foods that are marketed as snacks, especially branded as low calorie snacks.

What’s the difference?

Some foods that are packaged, like nuts, dried fruit, or even some cereal, may be ok for a snack. Packaged snacks, like flavored chips and low calorie candy, are crafted by food scientists so that you will always want more.

Let’s Snack!

We are going to look at two choices.

First Tier: Your most fuelsome (also not a word) options, these are all real food. Of course, you want to eat everything in “reasonable portion.” More about that a little later. But, when it comes to veggies, you are pretty much worry-free about calories. (Unless you eat an entire bags of carrots, which are higher in sugars, and will make your hands orange. Maybe don’t do that.)

Second Tier: These are packaged foods, but not engineered to make you crave more.

Crunchers

First Tier

  • Raw veggies, like sliced carrots, cucumbers, raw bell pepper
  • Nuts
  • Roasted edamame
  • Kale chips

Second Tier

  • Pretzels (unflavored)
  • Cereal (some)
  • Flax chips, veggie chips

Salty Guurls

First Tier

  • Dill pickles
  • Salted almonds
  • Olives
  • Feta cheese

Second Tier

  • Pretzels
  • Flax seed chips (if you haven’t tried these, you should. They look like Fritos with spots, and they crunchy and salty.)
  • Pea snaps

Sweet Thang

First Tier

  • Fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • Siggi’s vanilla yogurt (low in sugar!)
  • Quest bar (this is packaged, but packs a lot of protein with low sugar, so we are keeping it first tier)

Second Tier

  • Chocolate (dark chocolate has some health benefits)
  • Sea Salt Caramel Kind bar (low in sugar!)
  • Carob chips
  • Fruit roll up

Give me chills

First tier

  • Frozen fruit (grapes, bananas)
  • Green smoothie (home made)
  • Frozen banana ice cream (mashed bananas that are frozen)

Second tier

  • Ice cream
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Popsicle
  • Enlighten fudge bar

Fuel

It’s worth noting that if you’re really snacking because you’re just plain hungry, probably protein with a little fat for the win.

  • Cheese
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Apple (carb) and peanut butter
  • Peanut butter and cheese.

Keeping it real

Portion

I’m sure you noticed that some of these snacks are higher in fat/calories than others. So here’s the deal with that. I mean, how much is an amount that reasonably fits into your macros for snacks like nuts, chocolate, chips? Let’s assume here that reasonable means you had just enough to satisfy your snack desires without destroying your fitness dreams.

Your answer is…

  • Fats, like nuts,  and chocolate: 2 tablespoons
  • Flax seed chips/mini pretzels: 20
  • Cereal: ¼ cup
  • Ice cream/fro yo: ¼ cup
  • Anything that comes as one serving, like popsicle or Kind bar: 1

I mention the portions for two reasons. First, because we made the assumption that you care about the macros, so you will have to account for your snack. Second, because sitting down with a pint of ice cream or pretzels is not a “snack” most of us will choose to indulge in every day. But if your tastebuds are craving a sweet snack or something salty to munch on, you can have a reasonable amount without destroying your fitness dreams.

All the feelz

This article does not touch on some of the emotional reasons we eat, and some of foods that f*ck with our brains. If you know that eating a reasonable portion of ice cream is not enough—ever—and you continue to think about it for hours, and then go on to dream about a three-way with Ben and Jerry—you will want to explore that separately, and I recommend that.

*Zenefit (also not a word—but clearly should be)

Eating what you really want, by conscious choice, and in a calm and controlled way, takes some of the artificial value we place on food as being good or bad. No food is inherently good or bad.

Once we take away some of that self-invented value, over time we chip away at its power over us. We can enjoy food for the taste and texture, and we are freer to choose what we want by listening to what we really want.

WANNA LEARN HOW TO PREPARE MORE TASTY SNACKS THAT WON’T KILL YOUR MACROS? SIGN UP FOR STELLA’S FREE BEST LIFE SUNDAY WORKSHOP HERE.


Stella is an OG Ninja from before there was a Mark Fisher Fitness Clubhouse. She is the editor for the MFF blog, and runs the Tasty Ninja recipes page on Facebook. She loves to share what she’s learned along the way, especially with unicorns and Ninjas.

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