Author: Nicole Saliba, Accredited Practising Dietitian Date Posted:4 December 2019
Snacking for some people is often used as a way to deal with boredom and procrastination or to cope with any negative emotions be it sadness or stress. For others it is often associated with unnecessary overeating and excess unwanted calories. However, when timed and chosen properly, snacking can be a useful way to boost your energy, help you prepare and recover from exercise as well as meet your nutrient needs for the day.
To snack, or not to snack?
Healthy snacks can be part of a healthy diet, however, the first rule of snacking is to only snack if you are actually hungry or when it is necessary in order to meet your daily calorie needs. For example, a lot of active people may not be eating enough calories during the day to support the amount of exercise they are doing, and therefore snacking between meals can help them reach their daily target. Whilst it is normal to sometimes eat when we are not hungry, for example we may eat a slice of cake to celebrate someone’s birthday simply because the occasion calls for it, snacking regularly when you are not actually hungry can lead to excess calories and unwanted weight gain. Learning to deal with boredom, stress or negative emotions without always turning to food is important.
What to include in a snack?
In general, snacks should range between 100-300 calories. Try your best to reach for a snack that includes one or more of the following;
- Some fruit or vegetable such as fresh fruit, fruit salad or veggie sticks
- Protein to help keep you full such as greek yoghurt, tinned tuna, eggs, protein powders, nuts and seeds
- Fibre such as whole-grain seeded crackers, roasted chickpeas or fava beans, fruit and vegetables
- Healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds and nut butters such as natural peanut butter
What are some ideas of healthy snacks?
In general choosing 1-2 of these between meals to help tide you over is a sensible snack portion:
- Fresh fruit
- 1 x cup fresh fruit salad
- Home-made healthy banana bread e.g Activate foods banana bread
- Low sugar nut bar e.g. Nice and natural protein nut bar
- Dried seaweed
- Apple or pear slices topped with almond butter or natural peanut butter
- Bliss balls e.g. activate foods bliss balls
- Protein balls
- Veggie sticks and hummus, cottage cheese, tzatziki or home-made avocado dip
- ½ avocado seasoned with lemon juice and a little salt and pepper
- Boiled eggs
- Mini egg muffins or brekky egg slice e.g. Activate foods Paleo Breakfast Bar
- Raw or dry roasted nuts e.g. Activate foods Activated Tamari Nuts
- Home-made trail mix: shredded coconut, pepitas, raw nuts, seeds
- Roasted chickpeas or fava beans
- Greek yoghurt topped with granola or fresh fruit
- Chia pudding
- Smoothie made on 1 cup of milk of your choice, 30g nuts or chia seeds, banana or frozen berries, two spoons of yoghurt of choice
- Whole-grain crackers topped with tinned tuna or salmon, hommus, cottage cheese, avocado or almond butter
- Edamame beans
- Sushi rolls made on brown rice
- Sourdough or seeded bread topped with cottage cheese, avocado and tomato or natural peanut butter and banana
- Celery filled with natural peanut butter and a few raisins
- A cup of home-made vegetable soup
- Miso soup
- Home made or air-popped popcorn
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