Snacking is an important part of your diet. No one really learns how to snack, and it’s often associated with bad eating habits and unhealthy behavior. But, it doesn’t have to be that way at all. If you’re working towards increasing muscle and gaining mass, you need to be intentional and strategic when you plan out your nutritional plan. Most athletes and bodybuilders do a good job of planning their meals, but forget about their snacks. Put together a plan for snacking as well. You know when you’re hungry between meals. Perhaps it’s at night or just after a workout. Maybe you get ravenous an hour or two before your meals. You’ll eat healthier if you’re prepared.
As someone concerned with muscle, you’re going to want to build a snacking system that focuses on protein, energy, and healthy fats. These are some excellent snack ideas that are not only packed with the essential ingredients you need, but also tasty and filling.
Handmade Trail Mix
Make large quantities of trail mix and then divide them up into smaller containers or even plastic baggies so you can grab a snack on your way out the door or as soon you as finish a workout. There are plenty of trail mix options in stores, but most of them add unnecessary salt, fat, and sugar. You can create a healthier version that saves you calories and gives you only what you like.
Start with nuts. Choose almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, cashews, or Brazil nuts. You can select your favorite nut, or combine a number of different nuts. Then, add some dried fruit. Popular trail mix fruits are raisins and dried cherries or dried cranberries. You could also try dried mango or even prunes. Once you have combined the fruits and the nuts, get creative. Try some coconut flakes or some seeds, like sunflower seeds, flax seeds, or pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle some sea salt or cayenne pepper into your mix. Add some cinnamon. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth but you want to keep it controlled, small pieces of dark chocolate can be an excellent addition.
Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches
Peanut butter (or almond butter, if you prefer) is a great snack because it is satisfying and high in calories without being unhealthy for you. As a bodybuilder, you have a lot to gain from peanut butter, like protein and smart fats. You’ll also have high quality carbohydrates that provide energy and keep your endurance level high.
Bananas are a great fruit for bodybuilders because they are full of potassium. If you are prone to getting cramps, bananas can help. Combining peanut butter with banana is a healthy, high calorie snack that provides great benefits to your workouts, your mental health, and your physical sense of fullness. Spread some peanut butter on a piece of whole grain bread or even a bagel, and top it with thick slices of banana. If you like a little seasoning, sprinkle some cinnamon on top.
Fruit and Cheese
For a simple snack that’s fresh and yummy, try something like fruit and cheese. Slice a green apple thinly and place shavings of Parmesan cheese on top. Take chunks of pear and layer them with Pecorino cheese, a little honey, and some walnuts.
The cheese is a valuable snack because it provides you with calcium, which shores up your bone strength. As you get stronger and increase your muscle mass, you need to be sure you have the skeletal structure to support it. The fruit is filled with vitamins and antioxidants, making it a perfect snack for someone who is healthy and trying to stay healthy.
Avocados are high in the right kinds of fats for a bodybuilder. Those fatty acids contribute to protecting your heart and also feeds your muscle tissues the proteins they need to get bigger and stronger. They also contain high levels of potassium and fiber. They have a lot of nutritional value, and they make excellent snacks. Chop some up with tomatoes and garlic and spread the mixture on a piece or two of whole grain toast.
High Protein Smoothie
Smoothies make great snacks. Not only are they filled with fruits and even vegetables – you can also add things like whey protein to make them even more beneficial to your workout and your bodybuilding plans. Toss some of your favorite frozen fruits in a blender, such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. Add some bananas or even some grapefruit slices. Mix in some almond milk and some protein powder, and you’ll not only feel full – you’ll also improve your ability to increase muscle mass and strength. Smoothies are sometimes meal replacements; they can also be snacks.
Pay attention to your snack habits. Whether you’re careful with your calories because you’re cutting, or you want to increase what you eat because you’re bulking – the snack portion of your diet is almost as important as the meal portion. You need to fill your day and your body with healthy, purposeful snacks that contribute to your bodybuilding goals and plans.