Diet plays a very important part in a person’s health and well being. Contrary to traditional beliefs, today’s nutritionists are recommending shying away from three large meals and replacing them with five to six smaller meals and snacks throughout the day. In fact, it is recommended that a person eat something nutritious every two to three hours. This is especially recommended as a means to maintain a steady metabolism for those who incorporate exercise into their daily routine.
Importance of Eating Multiple Meals and Snacks
For those who are exercising in order to build muscle mass, it is imperative that these meals and snacks contain both a high percentage of lean protein to build and repair muscle tissue and an added complex carbohydrate to help with the absorption of that protein as well as to provide energy for the workout. In addition, one needs to consider not only what is being eaten but also when it is being eaten. It is recommended to consume a lean protein/carbohydrate snack within one hour prior to working out as well as approximately half an hour after the workout is completed. While it is generally acknowledged that beef, eggs, chicken and milk are all high-protein foods that can rather easily be incorporated into breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it can be a bit more of a challenge to incorporate these items, mixed with a carbohydrate, into a convenient snack.
Everyone is familiar with the go-to protein bar; however, to help vary the snacking diet, listed below are five recommendations that should prove to be simple, nutritious, and tasty options for at-home or on-the-go snacks.
5 Healthy Snacks to Help Build Muscle
1. Soy Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Shake: A delicious mid-morning snack that meets the protein requirement by incorporating both soy milk and peanut butter, and the oat flour is an added bonus as a complex carbohydrate. Best of all, it is simple to make. Combine 12 ounces chocolate soy milk, 3 Tbsp. oat flour, and 3 Tbsp. peanut butter; blend with ice; and enjoy.
2. Hard-Boiled Egg: Packed with protein and quite convenient as multiple eggs can be hardboiled at one time and then refrigerated until ready to eat. For added flavor, add a bit of soy sauce. And if getting ready for a workout, a small apple can be added as a complex sugar.
3. Tuna: Another simple and convenient high-protein option as it is now being sold in convenient, easy to open packages. Add a slice of whole-grain bread for added energy.
4. Yogurt Parfait: If convenience is not an issue, take the time to layer Greek yogurt, agave nectar, raspberries, and granola with flaxseeds or sliced almonds for a delicious, nutritious post-workout snack.
5. Whey Protein Faux Ice Cream Sandwich: A sweet post-workout treat that can be prepared ahead of time for convenience. Puree 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt, 1 banana, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1 scoop whey protein. Freeze (stirring periodically) until it has reached the consistency of ice cream. Scoop and serve between two low-fat graham crackers.