Good snacks

I get asked ALL the time if a particular food is a good snack or not. Here I give you an ‘easy’ three step procedure to decide. If I only had a dollar for each time I got asked …

Is peanut butter a good snack?
Is an apple a good snack?
Is yougurt a good snack?
Is cheese a good snack?

Pillow Scream! No nutritional question can be answered in isolation!

To answer if any given food is a good ‘snack’ or not, you need to follow this three step procedure.

  1. Based on you fitness goals and metabolic rate come up with your daily calorie, protein, carbohydrate, and fat needs using my free and easy to use calorie calculator.
  2. The protein should be divided into 6 equal portions and consumed at even intervals during the whole day, every 2.5 to 3hrs.
  3. The fat and carbohydrates can be distributed to fit your needs. Most people find that consuming their carbs early in the day rather than at the end of the day is a good idea. Most people also find that the earlier meals in the day need to be larger because this is when your body needs the energy. The meal before bedtime is usually quite small because you dont need that much energy for sleeping
If you want to know if a given food is a good snack or not, you are going to have to tally the calories, protein, carbs, and fat of every single food you eat during the day. If your “snack” fits into this plan without busting your daily budget of calories, fat, carbs, or protein – then its a good snack. So, back to your original question. Is peanut butter a good snack? You have two options here, you can pay a nutritionist $800-$1000 to make you a personalized nutritional plan and tell you the answer, or, you can figure it out yourself using the free information on my website with a little label reading and record keeping.
Lets me show how you can do this for yourself. Lets say the following person wants 1/4 cup peanut butter for a snack, is it a good snack or not? Here are this persons stats:
  • 18 year old
  • 5’6″
  • 180 lbs
  • 25% bodyfat
  • exercise 3-5hrs a week
  • goal – lose fat slowly while gaining muscle
Figure their caloric needs using my calorie calculator. Here is what we find they need:
  • 2653 calories a day, average 442 calories in each of the 6 meals
  • 26g protein, 6 times a day
  • 360g carbohydrate during the day, average 60g per meal
  • 54g fat during the day, average 9g per meal
OK, now to know if peanut butter is a “good snack” we look its nutritional data up here. First we need to know that there are 16 tablespoons in a cup so their are 4 tablespoons in a quarter cup, gotta love Imperial units!!! We set the serving size to 2 tablespoons on the website and then double the values to get the nutritional data of our snack:
  • 288*2 servings = 576 calories
  • 8g protein * 2 servings = 16g protein
  • 16g fat 8 2 servings = 32g fat
So now, is this a good snack or not? Well first I see that this one “snack” contains almost our entire daily allotment of fat. If we have this, everything else we eat during the day is going to have to be virtually nonfat. Second I see that it has a whopping amount of calories, 150% more than a meal should have. Its hardly a “snack”, its a meal and a half. Not only that but it only has 16g protein and even one of our normal 442 calorie meals needs to have 26g protein. So is peanut butter a good snack for this person? No! Its horrible!
Building a great physique takes lots of work, not just in the gym but in the kitchen as well. The kitchen work isnt just chopping and cutting either, it involves a lot of meal planning as I have illustrated here. If learning about nutrition and doing your meal planning is too time consuming for you, then you have two options: either hire a nutritionist to do it for you or you will have to realize that you will probably never achieve your fitness goals.
Alles Klar?