What is you exercise level?
‘Normal’ exercise isn’t your thing. You need a challenge to get excited about, whether that’s a marathon, a triathlon or some kind of outdoor pursuit.
High calorie protein bars, nuts and peanut butter. You’re doing considerably more exercise than the average person, so calorie consumption isn’t a worry. But do choose your snacks according to the intensity of your workouts. If you’ve got a particularly long training run coming up, eat a wholemeal bagel topped with sliced banana and peanut butter a couple of hours before.
You exercise five days a week and your workouts are well-planned. Strength training is a big part of your routine.
Bars high in protein, homemade energy balls, tart cherries and cottage cheese. Just like the EXTRAs, you do a lot of exercise and need a high intake of calories to keep you fuelled. But strength training often means you’re looking for snacks that will aid muscle recovery. Protein does just this so go for a HiLo bar to up your intake. Cottage cheese is up there, too, and – if you’re vegan – homemade energy balls are a great option, just add in plenty of nuts and seeds. Cherry’s anti-inflammatory agents have also been shown in studies to decrease oxidative stress, particularly after marathon running, which explains the popularity of this nutrient for sports people 1 – so get snacking!
You exercise three times a week. This leaves you feeling healthy, without taking up too much of your spare time. Any more would unbalance your fun vs healthy life mantra.
Nut butter, rice cakes, vegetables with hummus and nuts. On ‘exercise’ days a pre-snack may well be necessary, so go for a sliced apple with a measured amount of nut butter. This will give you the energy you need for whatever activity you’re doing without filling you up too much. Rice cakes are very low calorie – so a good option if you’re trying to stick within your recommended calorie intake per day. And nuts are very moreish so will keep your energy up for the rest of the afternoon – keep your intake to a handful, though, as most varieties are highly calorific.
You’re too busy to exercise in the week and pushing yourself when it comes to gym classes just doesn’t suit. A leisurely stroll or park-run at the weekend will suffice.
Dark chocolate, yoghurt and berries. If you’ve had balanced lunch – think a high fibre carb, some protein and vegetables – it’s likely your 4 pm slump is down to a sweet tooth craving. While this is completely normal and a day-to-day struggle for a lot of us, try not to get into the habit of reaching for a high sugar snack. Dark chocolate is great for curbing a craving and not only that, it’s high in antioxidants - double win. Yoghurt and berries are both good options, with berries providing that hit of sweet as well as a dose of vitamin C.
1 Pigeon, W; Carr, M; Gorman, C; Perlis, M (June 2010) Effects of a Tart Cherry Juice Beverage on the Sleep of Older Adults with Insomnia: A Pilot Study, NCBI.