Following on from my last column - "What a Rugby Players eats" I thought a good follow-up to last week would be to cover the always thorny issue of "snacks and snacking"
I always recommend to people they try to eat little and often.
In an ideal world it would be better to have four to five small meals a day, than three big meals. However I do understand life-style and circumstance often render this difficult to achieve. Unless of course you have tried Foods For Fitness, who create a bespoke meal plan for you and then deliver to your door cheaper or certainly on a par as to what it would cost you to buy and cook the food yourself. Click here for more info.
So controlled "healthy snacking" is always a good way to attain a good source of protein and those all important carbs on-board.
Of course I should point out the definition of a "tasty snack" to a rugby player or other professional athlete, doesn't necessarily coincide with the definition the general populous might give!
The ideal "snack" would be to cook actual meat and vegetables: healthy chilli or chicken fajitas for example.
However if you are on the run or in the office then you can't really do this unless you take the old primus stove with you! Therefore I have put a list together of some good snack options to help.
If you do a lot of driving on the road, remember; generally at the service station, amongst the serried rows of fizzy drinks, crisps, donuts and chocolate bars, there is very little in terms of "healthy food" on offer, which is good for you. So you might need to plan ahead, although you might just get lucky at certain service stations.
Some of these snacks are a little left field, but you can get them from most good health food shops.
• Nuts are a source of good fats and are healthy. Just make sure they aren't roasted or salted. Walnuts, Organic pistachios - you can buy ones which have been blended with sea salt and garlic, which taste fantastic.
• Cottage cheese with some healthy rice cakes go down well. You can add seeds, like pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds or china seeds to it to spice it up. If you can find them, try roasted Amazonian seeds
• Cold cuts, like turkey, non-processed ham, chicken bits which are rich in protein and very good for you. If you are adventurous, then try some wild boar salami!
• Beef jerky or biltong is great in moderation. Again there are loads of types out there. Check the labels on the packet, as you don't want one's loaded with salt. However it is a very good source of protein. You can even get salmon jerky in some shops now. We offer a fantastic version here. [Link to http://www.jameshaskell.com/learn-more-beefit-biltong]
• Instead of crisps, reach for a bag of organic smoked sea-salt popcorn. If you can't find this then any non-sweetened popcorn is a good choice. But again you need to be careful. Don't eat the ones drenched in caramel or loads of processed salt!
• Tuna is an old favourite as well as being a tremendous source of protein. This is now available in a load of different flavours.
• Protein shakes - are always a great in between meal option. Find a good brand and depending on what you are trying to do i.e. either gain weight or lose it - use one which has lots of protein but is either low carbs or higher, if you are looking to bulk up.