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Centr Team

How to perfectly time your snacks

Centr Team

They’re three of the most beautiful words in the English language: “snacks are allowed." If you’re anything like us, you’ve been cruising the Centr snack recipe collection and drifting away on thoughts of tasty smoothies, protein balls and oven-baked chips.

It turns out, delicious snacks are actually an essential building block of your daily macros. “Centr meal plans include snacks as part of overall nutrient needs,” says advanced sports dietitian Lisa Middleton, “so it's important to include these most of the time, especially for muscle build plans.”

But depending on whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or maintain, it can be tough working out exactly when to fit your snacks in throughout the day. Here are some helpful tips from Lisa to assist you in timetabling your snacks. As for deciding which ones to make, well, that’s up to you!

Ditch the morning snack if you’re watching your weight

If your goal is to lose weight, you could get through from breakfast to lunch without a stop at the fridge. “If you’re trying to lose weight, you may not require morning snack,” Lisa says. “Just coffee or a piece of fruit may be enough to keep you going.” Remember, sometimes “hunger” pangs are actually dehydration. Keep a water bottle with some fruit or herbs infused in it and have a glug whenever you feel the snack collection calling. If you’re still hungry after that, definitely eat.

Afternoon snacks for evening workouts

A mid-afternoon snack can mean the difference between a so-so workout and smashing your goals at the gym. “If you head straight to training after work, you may not have eaten since lunchtime,” Lisa says. “Heading into your session hungry and depleted will make it difficult to get the best results from your training.” An afternoon snack with some good carbs and protein gives you the fuel you need to achieve your strength and fitness goals.

A plate with several coconut caramel bliss balls next to a cup of coffee.

Our Coconut Caramel Bliss Balls will get you through long afternoons at work

Post-workout snacks to feed your recovery

If you work out at different times each day, you might need a snack to fill that post-workout window. “If your next meal is more than, say, 1.5 hours after exercise, aim to fit a snack in between,” Lisa suggests. “If your next meal is due (say you’ve worked out just before dinner) then you don't usually need an additional snack post-workout.” The exception to this rule is when you’re on the muscle building plan, and you might need to add extra snacks in order to meet your daily caloric and macro needs.

Rethink your evening “on the couch” snacks

Whether you’re used to dessert, or to curling up for a TV marathon with a plate of goodies, nighttime might not be the right time to snack. “A lot of people overdo snacks at night,” Lisa says. “It may be better to get more snacks in during the day because often evening snacking is just habit.” Try to approach evenings mindfully: if you’ve had your snacks during the day, by the time you eat a healthy dinner, chances are you aren’t actually hungry anymore. When in doubt, have some water or herbal tea first and then see if you are still truly hungry.

Bedtime snacks to build muscle

On the other hand, if you’ve been dutifully following Torre Washington’s workouts but aren’t seeing the muscle growth you’d hoped for, chances are you need to give your body something to snack on overnight. “A snack pre-bedtime is essential and should contain protein to help support muscle protein synthesis,” Lisa advises. “Research has shown that a protein snack in the evening assists in overall muscle gain.”

To read more about snacking on Centr, check out the snacking guidelines.

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