Are you, like many people, someone who needs a snack or two throughout the day - just to get through in one piece?
If you don't plan your snacks, you might end up craving something sugary or fatty which does more harm than good in the long run. Don't let snacks be the enemy, mid-morning and afternoon are key times to top up your engine and prevent you from hitting the wall.
Why else could snacking be beneficial? If you don't snack, it could mean you will end up binge eating at your next meal and not having a level head to choose what your body needs not just what smells the best in the food court. Sound familiar?
Also did you know, snacking can actually help you meet all the food groups you need in a day! Nearly all of Australians do not eat enough fruit and vegetables. You can use snacks to make sure you add a serve or two of fruit or vegetables which will boost your body’s health with added fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals needed for the healthiest version of you.
Though, snacking does require preparation to be successful. The 'golden rule' of snacking according to our in-house dietician is: Protein and Produce. You can utilise this rule whether you're craving a sweet or savoury snack.
The key to successful and healthful snacking is...
Plan Your Snacks for the Week!
This means creating a shopping list and thinking about the snacks you want to include over a week or a few days in advance. Variety is the spice of life but also helps you meet all your nutrition needs.
Plan and see how you are eating over a day and if you see areas where you are not including enough of a food group. Try thinking of snacks in a balanced way, including a serving of vegetables or fruit and then half a serve of protein and half a serve of whole grains. Examples could include:
- 200g yogurt (both a carbohydrate and protein source) + 1 cup of frozen berries
- 2-3 protein balls using Australian Natural Protein Company Organic Artisan Cocoa Whey Protein, banana, nut butter, rolled oats, almonds, and milk.
- 1 cup of vegetable sticks like celery, carrots, capsicum, cucumber + hummus/ricotta + 2-3 wholegrain crackers
- 1 piece of wholegrain toast + 1 large boiled egg + 1 cup of cooked mushrooms/spinach to add on top
- Smoothie - 1 cup of Australian Natural Protein Company Pure Vanilla Bean Whey Protein +1 tablespoon of oats + 100% peanut butter + 1 banana
- 30g (small handful of nuts) + 30g air popped corn
- Small bowl of soup + piece of bread + 1 teaspoon of olive oil for bread
- 95g tinned tuna in spring water + 2-3 Corn Thins + piece of fruit/vegetable sticks
Unplanned snacks can get you into nutritional trouble.
It's too easy to get caught into the cycle of eating or drinking whatever is accessible, especially in our busy lives today. Unfortunately whatever is accessible is often full of sugar, fat, and nasty chemical additives which are just going to make you feel worse, and not fuel you properly.
Pre-prepare a bunch of snacks that YOU KNOW you are going to want to enjoy eating. If you won't enjoy it... then you aren't going to be consistent. Plus make them readily accessible so that when you are on the run, you can have it ready to go exactly when you need a little boost. If you aren't used to planning your meals, don't worry, it gets easier with practice. Check out our Recipe's page for more inspo or follow us on Instagram or Facebook for regular healthy snack options.
Take home message
Snacking can be beneficial if you do it right. Snacking can give you the energy you need to top up before your next meal and tick all the boxes of food groups your body needs for optimal health.