For many of us, snacking is a normal part of our dietary intake, however it is important to think about the snacks that we are opting for. Opting for healthy snacks throughout our day is a good way to respond to our normal hunger cues and also assists in keeping our bodies energized and satiated between meals. If we are regularly reaching for less healthy snack options such as chips, chocolates or lollies we are likely to feel sluggish and reaching for energy-dense snacks on a regular basis may actually have a negative impact on our healthy diet, weight and overall health.
Our Dietitians top 5 tips for healthy snacking include:
Include a source of protein and fibre in your snacks
When we opt for higher sugar snack options they provide our bodies with a quick boost of energy however tend to lead to a “sugar crash” shortly after. Opting for snacks that are higher in protein and fibre provide our bodies with a slower release of energy and therefore keep us satisfied for longer.
Examples of protein and fibre rich snacks include:
- Nuts, opt for unsalted, dry or raw
- Low-fat cheese on wholegrain crackers
- Yoghurt with muesli and/ or fruit
- Lower sugar muesli bars
- Popcorn, air popper or unsalted/ lightly salted varieties
- Vegetable sticks or wholegrain crackers with hommus or peanut butter
- Roasted chickpeas
- Boiled eggs
- Chia puddings
- Soups with chicken or tofu
Opt for homemade
If you have some extra time to spare opting for homemade snacks is always the best option as you know exactly what you are putting into your food. That way your snacks won’t be filled with unnecessary added salt, sugar, fats or additives. Including the kids in the preparation and cooking of healthy snacks may help them become more excited around eating these snack options.
Watch your portions
It is important to remember a snack isn’t another main meal, it is just a smaller meal to keep you satiated between meals. Therefore snacks should be smaller in size and energy content. In order to avoid overeating try not to snack straight from a packet or box, instead portion out how much you want to eat into a container or bowl.
Have convenient options on hand
When out and about or busy with work you may not have time to prepare a healthy snack and may therefore opt for a supermarket or vending machine snack that is generally nutrient-poor and energy-dense. Instead, try to keep some convenient healthy snacks on hand at both home and work to help prevent you from reaching for the less healthy options.
Eating when you aren’t actually hungry or eating around distractions can lead to us overeating without even realising. Before reaching for your next snack take a moment to reflect on how you are feeling. Are you actually hungry? Or are you stressed/ sad/ bored? Try to avoid reaching for snacks when you are completing tasks or are distracted e.g. working, reading, talking, watching tv as this can lead to you not being present and overeating.
I hope this provides some insight around what to include in your next snack!
DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG POST IS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL ONLY. IT IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR MEDICAL ADVICE FROM A REGISTERED AND QUALIFIED DOCTOR OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.