So often we're told a handful of nuts suffices as a good snack but, for a lot of men, this is not quite enough.
Men generally have a higher basal metabolic rate than women, meaning their bodies burn more energy while at rest. This is because the average man usually weighs more (the heavier you are the more your body burns) and has more muscle mass (a higher muscle percentage burns more energy).
These differences in metabolism and body composition mean men need to eat more food. So if you’re feeling hungry for an afternoon snack, depending on your energy requirements, a few almonds or crackers just might not cut it.
It can be tempting to eat a whole box of Oreos or packet of chips, but the energy isn’t going to sustain you or give your body the nutrients it needs.
“It’s important to fuel your body well. If not, you are more likely to not concentrate well, not achieve body composition goals and you're more likely to get sick,” accredited practising dietitian Chloe McLeod told The Huffington Post Australia.
“Eating healthy snacks is important, as poor choices are likely to result in being hungry sooner, not concentrating well or gaining weight.”
To ensure you’re getting in enough energy, McLeod recommends assessing your energy requirements and planning ahead. If you train frequently and your goal is to gain muscle mass, your energy needs will be higher than if you don't exercise as much.
“Planning ahead is a good idea," McLeod said. "Think about what else you’re eating that day -- for example, if you’re having a big lunch, you may not need a snack."
Obviously, this is not to say these snacks are only suitable for one gender -- they’re just a bit more energy dense to match those higher energy requirements of men.
“All of them are suitable snacks that I recommend for everyone. It depends on your energy requirements,” McLeod said. “Often guys don’t want to be sitting there picking at vegetables, so these are things you might want to include.”
1. Boiled egg on whole grain crispbread
“This snack provides good quality protein from the egg and low GI carbs from the crispbread, which will help you stay satisfied,” McLeod told HuffPost Australia. “It also provides important nutrients, and it’s tasty."
To make sure you’re getting the most from this snack, choose a whole grain crispbread, such as Vita-Weats or Ryvita.
2. Avocado on toast
“Avocado on toast has healthy fats, complex carbs and is filling,” McLeod said.
Again, opt for a whole grain bread for more fibre and to help keep you full for longer.
3. Mixed nuts
Although having a few nuts might not fill you up, grazing on enough will help to sustain you until your next meal.
“This is a portable snack full of healthy fats,” McLeod said. “I think for guys, nuts in particular are a great snack. Like Oreos, they’re easy to pick at.”
“Fruit provides fibre and micronutrients, and is a good way to satisfy a sweet tooth,” McLeod said.
If you’re not a fan of eating whole fruit, try making a fruit salad with all your favourites.
5. Flat white (or other milk-based coffee)
“Having a flat white is a good way to get an energy boost. It also has high bioavailability protein from the milk,” McLeod said.
“Bioavailable protein refers to how easy the body can take up and use the protein. Dairy milk is highly bioavailable, which is good from a recovery perspective after exercise.”
6. Banana protein smoothie
“You can also make a banana smoothie and add in good quality protein,” McLeod said. “It provides an extra serve of fruit and is great option pre- or post-workout snack.”
7. Green smoothie
Don’t be put off by the colour -- a handful of baby spinach, along with fruits like banana, berries or mango, doesn’t affect the flavour too much and is a great afternoon snack.
“Having a green smoothie is an easy way to add in extra veggies, too,” McLeod said.
“Yoghurt is a delicious portable snack with good quality protein,” McLeod said.
“The healthiest option would be a plain Greek-style yoghurt, and it depends on the individual to choose a low fat or full fat option.
"You can flavour it yourself with fruit, cinnamon or a drizzle of honey. Or if you want to get a flavoured one, aim for one that has the lowest amount of sugar possible but not one that’s artificially sweetened.”