Attack the Snack!

Snacks, snacks, and snacks. We all love them. In fact, the snack has become a staple of American culture and diet. Snacks by definition, from the Oxford dictionary, are “a small amount of food eaten between meals.” Broken down further, we know that the purpose of food is to provide us with energy to accomplish the tasks of the day. And this is where we go astray. One, we take on the mindset of enjoying a snack for its taste instead of its intended purpose to provide us energy. We grab sugary treats and fried items from bags which are poor energy choices. We’ll often snack out of boredom and not because we need energy to accomplish a task. It gets worse, we grab snacks at night, often immediately after dinner, at a time when our energy requirement is the lowest it will be all day long. And finally, when we’re taking our nutrition seriously and desiring aesthetic results from our workouts we often choose to “forget” about the snacks we ate when we’re logging our day’s food intake or thinking about why things aren’t going the way we had hoped.

We’re here today to take responsibility for our snacking. We’re going to define and then put strategies in place to make sure we’re snacking for its originally intended purpose, energy so we can crush our day.

First thought, snack time! In kindergarten this was the part of the day I looked forward to the most. A fun treat to break up the day and get me through from breakfast to lunch. This elementary school concept is genius. It is planned in at an exact hour. You know what to expect, how long you’ll have to wait, and you can count on it like clockwork. Knowing snack time is coming will help you fend off the urge to snack mindlessly and off course. Plan snacks into your day as intended, a small amount of food between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. Just enough to keep your energy level revving.

Secondly, pre portion your snacks, regardless of nutritional quality. This is important. If we take a large bag of chips we’ll likely over consume. Pre portion your snacks to prevent this leaving no room for overeating. Use reusable zip locks or paper bags. You’ll find that the smaller portion is just what you need to get through. You’ll be pleased that you’re not over eating and this small step could save you from sabotaging your hard work. Even healthy food like fruit and nuts shouldn’t be over consumed. Target snacks that are about ⅓ of your average meal size. So if you eat 600 calorie meals, target 200 for a snack which will likely be about what you could fit in 1 hand.

Next up, set yourself up for ultimate success with this idea: You will eat what you buy. So often we buy junk at the store thinking that we won’t eat all of it or that when we do go to eat it we’ll be in complete control. We tell ourselves those lies over and over. Sometimes with good intentions but in reality we often don’t have the habits in place to exert control over our salt and sugar addictions. Point being, don’t buy junk to take home and keep on hand. Buy healthy, whole, unprocessed foods and keep them in plain sight so that you eat them. Fruit basket in the middle of the kitchen. Veggies in front of the fridge instead of tucked away in a drawer. When you look in your cabinets find nuts and nut butters, whole grain products and seasonings. Maintain good food at home and you’ll eat more good food.

Aim for balanced snacks that are ingredients not made up of ingredients. An example could be slices of apple dipped in peanut butter instead of a packaged cookie. The apple and peanut butter are the ingredients when compared to the cookie which is made up of 8+ ingredients. Choose items that you can clearly define as a protein, fat or carbohydrate. This also makes it much easier for you to track what you’re eating.

Finally, understand what your triggers are and scale them down. If you’re struggling with food but want to get better, know that you don’t need to snack perfectly at this moment. Just try to make some progress. Identify your trigger foods. Those foods that once you have one bite something comes over you and you can’t seem to stop yourself from continuing. For me personally that would be tortilla chips, sour candy and milk chocolate. Once you identify the triggers think of ideas to scale them down one notch this month and then maybe another notch after that. Instead of kettle cooked chips try pretzels. Instead of milk chocolate try a darker chocolate with less additives. Instead of a soda try a 50/50 blend of sparkling water with juice and then move towards sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh orange, lime, lemon or all 3. Scaling down your triggers might help you stop sooner and prevent snacks from becoming full meals.

Try some of these strategies and let me know how they work out for you. As always, if you need help I am here when you’re ready.

-Coach Derrick

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Niko Garcia


Niko comes to Earned Fitness with a wealth of coaching experience having trained under the Yamada’s for 6 years. His enthusiastic yet detailed approach to coaching allows his athletes to excel and find love for a more active lifestyle. 


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I find great joy in celebrating the success of my clients with them. I specialize in program design so that every session moves you towards your goals while pairing a meticulous eye with simple instruction to ensure that each rep builds you up and keeps you healthy.


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