Your Nutrition Questions Answered

Extensive series of several doctors with various patients in a medical exam room.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, our team of top nutritionists (including Joy Bauer!) came together to answer the burning nutrition questions that you sent in via Facebook and Instagram. From your ideal daily calorie intake to why we stay away from fake sugars, they tackle it all.

I was wondering how I calculate how many calories I am supposed to eat in a day and what resource I use to determine how many calories each food item has? – Antonietta

To calculate the number of calories you need in a day, multiply your weight (in pounds) by your activity level factor (which ranges from 13 for sedentary to 16 for a training athlete). The whole calorie thing can be confusing! That’s why we dedicated an entire blog post to it – read about it here.

There are also a lot of great apps and websites that can help you calculate how many calories you’re consuming. We like Lose It!, MyFitnessPal, and the Self Nutrition Data site.

I noticed sugar and canola/sunflower oil are used in several flavors. May I ask why you use sugar instead of stevia? And other oils instead or in addition to coconut oil? – Kate

While the research suggests stevia is likely safe, the science is still pretty new. There are some small studies that show concern. Also, keep in mind that the majority of foods that contain stevia are not using pure, whole leaf stevia; they’re using a version that’s heavily processed and manipulated to mimic a sweet, sugary taste.

We prefer using a small amount of the real deal (fruit, fruit juice, cane sugar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, etc.) While we have lots of snack options that have no natural or added sugar whatsoever, the ones that do require sugar will never have more than 10 grams—and that’s a combination of natural sugar coming from fruit and a dash of added sugar from one of the sources mentioned earlier. In fact we play with all different formulations under the sun until we nail the perfect texture and taste.

As for oils, we choose oils that complement the flavor and fit the roasting profile of each unique snack—sometimes that’s canola, sunflower, safflower, coconut, etc. No matter which oil we choose, they are always non-GMO and trans fat free.

What are the best snacks to eat after a hard workout or competition (such as a half-marathon or marathon)? Are protein shakes or solid foods better in aiding muscle recovery? – Lisa

During an intense workout or race, your muscles endure stretching and microtears, so it’s best to consume protein (in combination with carbs) shortly thereafter. When it comes to shakes versus solid food, one is not necessarily better than the other. It all depends on which you prefer, but the rule of thumb is to try to consume at least 8 grams of protein within 20 minutes. Think: Raise The Bar-BQ, a small container of Greek yogurt, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter with an apple.

Plan for a substantial protein-rich meal a few hours after. In this case, aim for whole food protein sources like beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, seafood, poultry, meat and dairy. If you’re training on a regular basis and need to supplement, protein shakes can be a great option.

And of course, hydrate to replenish fluids lost through sweat and respiration. You can read more about our recommendations for workout fuel here.

I’m trying to limit the amount of carbohydrates that I eat for snack time. I’m wondering if you intend to make any new snacks with lower carb levels? – Joanne

Though it’s not our focus, it’s possible that a low-carb recipe will be in our future. Also keep in mind that the majority of carbs within our products are slow-burn carbs, meaning they contain fiber so they won’t spike your blood sugar.

What are your thoughts on eating carbs after lunchtime? Yes or No? – Amy

Carbohydrates are not the enemy. They’re one of the 3 main macronutrients (the others being protein and fat). That said, it is important to focus on the quality of your carbs and aim for those that are nutrient and fiber-packed. Think: veggies and fruits, beans, legumes and whole grains. These stellar complex carbs are digested more slowly than simple carbs like white bread, white rice, crackers, cookies and sweets.

Why does this matter? Slower digestion ensures there won’t be a spike in your blood sugar. Complex carbs trickle into your bloodstream and provide slow burning fuel, which means you stay satiated longer. By avoiding the spike in blood sugar, you also avoid the insulin surge that causes fat storage and inflammation (and that’s a good thing!)

You can further blunt the rise in blood sugar by balancing your carb intake with protein and healthy fats. And, of course, the amount of overall carbohydrate does matter (read on for how many carbs to consume.)

How many carbs do you suggest for each meal? Snack time? – LuAnn

Instead of getting into complicated formulations, here’s the easiest way to keep track of your starchy carb intake (consider vegetables unlimited!).

Stick to one to two servings at breakfast, lunch, during snacks, and at dinner. One serving of starchy carb is roughly equivalent to 1 slice of bread, ½ cup cooked pasta or rice, a piece of fruit (like an apple or orange), or one Nourish Snacks bag.

From time to time it’s inevitable we’ll overdue it on starch at a meal. No sweat—just pull back on the next. If you enjoy a pasta entrée at dinner, compensate by whipping up a vegetable omelet (hold the toast and fruit) the next morning.

It’s not an exact science; it’s a balancing act, and there’s certainly wiggle room. But this is the easiest way to stay on track without over-thinking it.

If you want to get really technical, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbs make up 45-65% of your total daily calories. On a 1,200 calorie diet, that’s about 540-780 calories from carbs. At 4 calories per gram, that translates to about 135-195 grams of carb per day.

Don’t know your calorie needs? Learn how to calculate them here.

How do you decide what items get packed in the Sampler Collection? – Paula

We designed the Sampler Collection for people who want to taste a little bit of everything—salty, sweet, chewy and crunchy. It’s a great way to get to know our snacks and our brand so you can hone in on the flavors you like best. We choose the snacks that make up the sampler pack based on our best sellers, and that changes periodically depending on the season.

When trying to lose a few pounds, what is best to cut carbs or cut fat? -Kim

We wish there was an easy answer for this! The bottom line is that you should follow whatever healthy eating plan you can stick to longterm.

There are all sorts of health gurus that preach eating the perfect amounts of fat, protein, and carb. But at the end of the day, we’re not robots. Most diets fail because they’re too restrictive. The key to success is to enjoy delicious meals and snacks that satisfy you both physically and emotionally.

That’s what we’re all about at Nourish Snacks— delicious, good-for-you snacks…in perfect portions.

DISCLAIMER

While we wanted to answer every question we got, unfortunately for legal reasons we could not address those questions that were medical in nature. Please use this as general information and not as a replacement for consulting with your medical practitioner.

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