There’s different opinions on whether it’s a good idea to snack between meals or not. I’m personally a fan of snacks as they keep my blood sugar on an even keel and research has proven that they help keep metabolism high. If I don’t have something between meals I find that I am much hungrier when I do eat, and can end up overeating to compensate. I also get an energy slumps and have been known to get a tad cranky…!
Knowing what to snack on seems to be an issue for some people and if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight then it’s important to make good choices. If you’re choosing snacks that are quite high in carbs or fat then you’re probably adding unnecessary calories to your daily intake and could even be undoing your good work at mealtimes. The key with snacking in my opinion is to think outside the box a bit and use your imagination. Try not to reach for the traditional snacks, like for instance crackers and cheese, but put a bit of thought into other healthier options that you would like. With a bit of imagination you can come up with healthy options that also taste good, and will keep you full until lunch or dinner.
When it comes to snacks, try to aim for high protein and low fat sources, and include low calorie fruit or veg where possible. Fruit and veg have a high water content so they will ‘bulk up’ your snack and fill you up. They also have fibre and lots of nutrients which is great for general health. Protein doesn’t have to mean meat, there are lots of non-meat protein sources that make good snack options and will be easier to make or transport if you’re on the go. It can be a challenge to make snacks tasty AND healthy as many ‘healthy’ foods can be a little bland but this is where the imagination is needed! There are ways to add taste and interest while keeping it clean and healthy!
The good thing is once you get into the habit of ‘thinking outside the box’ snack-wise it gets easier. You will have your regular reliable to fall back on and you’ll also find other combinations and possibilities that you can try. You do have to be a bit adventurous here – trying a new snack is not going to kill you and the world wont end if you don’t love it! In order to eat healthy you need to experiment and keep adding variety to your diet or you’ll get bored and just choose the easier (and nearly always unhealthier!) option.
So with all that in mind here’s just 5 suggestions of some snacks that I like and that I would consider to be healthy…and quite edible! Depending on what foods you like yours may differ, but even just use this list for ideas and then get making your own ‘snack list’. If you’re really committed you can pin it on the fridge for days when your brain just isn’t up to thinking!
1. Vegetables and Hummus
I buy the Old McDonald’s Farm Hummus because in my opinion it’s as close to the homemade kind as you can get! If you want to make your own – even better, there’s not that much to it! As I mentioned earlier, vegetables are filling so make sure to include plenty of carrots, pepper celery etc. to dip and don’t overdo it….hummus is healthy but in moderation! The recommended serving is a golf ball sized portion which I find handy as a guide. But I have been known to eat slightly more…!
2. Greek Yoghurt and Fruit
Greek yogurt is high in protein, very low in sugar and I find it really filling. The Liberte one I buy in SuperValu has a lovely creamy texture but it can be a bit bland so I add low GI fruits like blueberries or kiwi to give it more flavour. You can also add a dollop to your smoothies to give them more substance.
3. Cottage Cheese
I love cottage cheese but I know some people hate it! It’s a really good snack choice though as again its low fat, high protein, a good source of calcium and contains very little sugar. There’s actually a few ways you can have it – I like it on Rivita crackers with tomato and scallion or my cousin likes to mix it with cinnamon and apple…says it’s gorgeous! I’ve also heard of people mixing it with blueberries…which may sound strange but then people have grapes with cheese or eat cranberry cheese so I think a lot of these ideas are just in our head! Remember…think outside the box!
4. Fruit and Veg Combos
As I mentioned fruit and veg are full of fibre and water with very little calories so they are a good filler between meals. I have started mixing veg with fruit so I don’t OD on the fruit sugars and yet have some taste and sweetness in my snack. For example I would mix chopped cucumber with blueberries…which is actually very refreshing! It makes the cucumber more appealing and its quick just to chop up the night before and throw into a tub for work. Other combinations you could try are cucumber with cherry tomatoes drizzled in balsamic vinegar or celery and apple in crème fraiche which is a popular salad at the deli counter.
5. Rice cake and Nut Butter
As I said I try to keep my snacks low fat as I see them as just a filler between meals but I do also make sure to get in lots of good fats to my diet so this is one of my favourite snacks. Nut butters like natural/organic almond butters (Meridian do a good one) are gorgeous and taste great on a rice cake. Almonds are also good for regulating blood sugar so this snack should keep you on an even keel. Again just don’t go overboard on the portions as it is high in calories. You can also slice some banana on top or sprinkle with desiccated coconut….As I said my most favourite of all – YUM!!!!
I hope that’s given you some ‘food for thought’ for new snacks. Feel free to comment below if you have any good snack ideas to share!