Do you ever get a mid- morning or mid-afternoon slump? Do you want to know better food choices so you aren’t reaching for the chocolate or bikkies?
Here are some tips and healthy snack go-to’s to keep you energised throughout the day.
WHAT DOES AN IDEAL SNACK LOOK LIKE
1. Protein – every cell in our body needs protein (we are made of it) so we need regular amounts throughout the day. Protein also helps to keep us full for longer. Aim for 5-7g in your snacks.
2. Healthy fats – the production of hormones and other bodily processes relies on healthy fats. They help make food taste delicious, balance our blood sugar levels and keep us feeling fuller for longer.
3. Complex carbohydrates – opt for wholegrain and wholefood ingredients, such as brown rice, oats, legumes and vegetables vs white flour based products.
4. Fibre – this keeps us fuller for longer, whilst supporting a healthy digestive system. Wholegrains and wholefoods such as vegetables, nuts and seeds are great sources of fibre. Chia seeds are a high source of fibre and great addition to smoothies and puddings. Caution – always increase fibre slowly and increase water intake.
5. Colour – as always when it comes to food, think about eating the rainbow. Eating a variety in colour means you are getting the variety of nutrients you need to maintain good health.
6. Low in sugar – we want to always opt for natural sugars and try to keep snacks to under 7grams of sugar per snack. Healthy fats help to slow the absorption of sugar (and the effect on our blood sugar levels) so where sugar content is higher, make sure the healthy fat content is too, to avoid an energy rollercoaster.
OUR TOP 6 EASY SNACKS
1. VEGETABLES – if in doubt, grab a vegetable out of the fridge and eat it! Hummus and pesto make great protein and healthy fat rich dips! We always want to try and eat as many veggies as possible to maximise nutrient, antioxidant and fibre intake – snacks are a great time to get more in!
2. NUT BUTTER – whether almond, cashew, chia, hazelnut or peanut, We always keep a jar in the cupboard for a quick, delicious and satisfying snack. On veggies, apple, banana, berries, crackers or straight from the jar, it will leave you feeling full and satisfied : )
3. NUTS + FRESH BERRIES – a small handful of almonds are a great go-to but make sure to mix it up to get variety in nutritional content – cashews, walnuts would be others at the top of my list! A piece of fruit or some berries for a low sugar option, will satisfy any sweet cravings, whilst the healthy fats from the nuts fill you up.
4. SMOOTHIE – super quick and easy go-to! Sneak in those extra greens by adding spinach leaves and/or frozen zucchini. (See recipe on the portal).
5. CHIA SEED PUDDING – easy to make a batch of and have in the fridge for when you want something pudding like yet healthy. I always make with cacao and a bit of plant-based choc protein to satisfy my chocolate cravings! (See recipe on the portal).
6. LEFTOVERS / MINI-MEALS – there’s nothing quite like delicious leftovers thrown in a bowl to make a great mini- meal (aka snack). Check for protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. One of these lacking? Add-in ideas include…
Protein: poach or fry an egg, sprinkle with hemp seeds, add a tin of salmon, tuna (no more than once a week), salmon or chickpeas.
Healthy fats: add avocado, an egg, nuts, seeds, tahini.
Complex carbohydrates: add vegetable/s, legumes or a small amount of brown rice or quinoa.
CRAVE SUGAR, EAT FAT
This is one of our favourite sayings.
When our blood sugar levels get low, we crave sugar, as it is the easiest way for our body to get energy. This is when we reach for the Tim Tams, muffins or biscuits because simple sugars are the quickest for our body to breakdown.
However, it is a short term gain because it causes a spike in our blood sugar levels and the other side of that rollercoaster is a drop in both our blood sugar levels and our energy. The result… it is not long before we are reaching for more sugar for our next ‘fix’.
However, when we eat fat (the healthy ones of course), it does not take long to feel full, ‘satiated’ and we eat less. Healthy fats are also far more beneficial for our health.
Fat slows the absorption of sugar so eating fat with sugar helps to regulate your blood
sugar levels and keep energy balanced.
YOU EAT WHAT YOU SEE
Put your fresh fruit and vegetables (those that are ok out of the fridge) on your kitchen bench top. The more you see these healthier wholefoods, the more your brain will be stimulated to eat them.
Push your biscuits, chocolate and other ‘treat’ or indulgent foods out of sight to the back of your cupboard and pull the more healthful choices you want to make everyday, to the front!
WHY DO YOU WANT TO SNACK?
ARE YOU HUNGRY? Eat!
DEHYDRATED? Drink water or herbal tea.
BORED? Get inspired (e.g. Ted Talks, podcasts, read a blog you like) , move – walk around the block, do x10-20 of each: squat jumps, lunges, knee lifts.
EMOTIONAL OR STRESSED? Put on a guided meditation (e.g. on Insight Timer app), do some breathing techniques or yoga.
COLD? Try some easy warm up exercises +/or put on more layers, a blanket, make a hot drink, soup or hot water bottle, turn up the heating!
Whatever reason has you reaching for the snacks, just remember there’s plenty of options to keep you feeling fuller, more satisfied and give you boosted health, immunity and energy at the same time.