Snacking can add unwanted calories to your diet but if done healthily, can actually improve your diet and wellbeing.
When we go long periods between eating, such as between breakfast and lunch, our blood glucose levels can fall, we can lack energy and that’s when we reach for snacks, often making unhealthy choices as our hunger dictates us. Planning ahead and having healthy snacks at the ready can help to avoid the pitfalls of calorie-laden unhealthy snacks like crisps and chocolate bars. Read on for recipe ideas and tips on how to snack smarter and enjoy the food you eat.
Nutritionist Nicola Selwood says...
"Research suggests that healthy snacking between meals may help you eat less at your next meal, but that is not a free pass to graze all day. Calories add up and consuming more calories than you need in a day will lead to weight gain. So let’s start planning ahead and have the healthy snack choices at hand for when hunger strikes - let’s snack smart."
Nicola’s top tips
1. Most importantly, make your snacks count nutritionally. Fruit and vegetables add to your 5-a-day, dairy snacks like cheese and yogurts are a great source of calcium, nuts and seeds are full of minerals, and dried fruit has useful amounts of iron.
2. Portion control is key - have pre-portioned snacks such as a banana, a small yogurt or a wrapped cheese portion. Opening up a large bag of nuts or cutting from a block of cheese may cause you to take more than you need! Check out our portion guide here.
3. Combine protein with carbohydrate, for example a few nuts with an apple. The carbohydrate provides energy whilst the extra protein can help you feel fuller for longer, fighting off the hunger pangs until your next meal and making it less likely to crave more snacks throughout the day.
4. Don’t snack mindlessly. Snacking from a bag of popcorn or a bag of nuts in front of the telly or at the desk can lead to overeating, so ensure you pre-portion your snacks and opt for the healthy ones.
Shop healthy snacks