My guide to healthy snacking

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I have finally climbed out from underneath my festive season rock and reached for my laptop. Happy NY! Each year we pledge to eat cleaner, get fitter and all that jazz. So there is plenty of nutritional advice floating about across January. I thought I’d jump on the band wagon and kick of the year by getting back to healthy eating basics.  Eating between meals is something we all do, but often we don’t snack for the right reasons or choose the best snack food. So when is the right time to snack? And amid all the muesli bars, yoghurts, crackers, nuts and packaged fruit snacks, what food choices should we be making?

  1. Consider your meal timing: eating every 3-4 hours is optimal for your metabolic rate (and food can typically sit in your stomach for up to 4 hours, so we usually get hungry around this time) – this ideally reflects a meal pattern which includes a mid-arvo snack to break up the longer stretch between lunch and dins.
  2. Listen to your body: we should only be snacking when we feel physically hungry. Be mindful that psychological hunger in the form of food cravings or a strong desire to eat food can often get confused with genuine hunger. Be on the look out for a grumbling stomach and hunger which can be satisfied with any type of food, rather than psychological hunger or cravings which can often only be satisfied with a specific food.
  3. Be prepared: avoid getting caught out feeling hungry between meals without a snack to reach for, this can often result in reaching into the office cookie jar or heading to the nearest vending machine. Keep a container of dried fruit or nuts in your desk/bag, or a couple of yoghurts stocked in fridge.
My fave healthy and slightly more exciting than your-average-apple-or-carrot snack choices:
  • 1 x rye vita with cottage or ricotta cheese +/- sliced tomato, black pepper or strawberries with cinnamon
  • boiled egg
  • 150-200g yoghurt: low fat greek or natural are my top choices, with close seconds including flavoured Jalna or Chobani
  • be natural trail bar/uncle toby’s body wise bar/goodness superfoods fibreboost/freedom foods bar
  • veggie sticks with 3 tbsp low fat dip (hommus/tsatziki/black swan skinny range)
  • 1-2 cups pop corn – popped at home from corn kernels or macro brand (available at most supermarkets)
  • 30g or 1 handful of trail mix or dried fruit/nuts/seeds combined
  • 1/4 cup wasabi peas
  • celery or capsicum sticks filled with cottage cheese
  • 1 apple with 3 tsp light peanut butter
  • 1/2 wholemeal wrap with 1/2 sliced banana and 1 tbsp ricotta +/- cinnamon and a sprinkle of sultanas
  • 2 x light cruskits with avocado and sliced tomato
  • 1 x cup of edamame beans
  • 1 x slice wholemeal fruit bread
  • ‘Thick-shake’ made with 3/4 cup frozen strawberries, 1 tsp vanilla essence and 100ml low fat milk
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