With our endlessly hectic lifestyles, healthy snacking seems to fly out of the window and when you do stop to eat the temptation to go the quick and easy route is strong and go for a bag of crisps or chocolate becomes incredibly tempting.
To ensure that you have the right snacks at hand it’s best to prepare them in advance – that way you can avoid being tempted by the high fat snacks. Having the right snacks to hand will ensure your energy levels remain consistent and that you have the fuel you need to keep you going throughout the course of the day – vital if you have a tough meeting!
Healthy snacking is an integral part of your daily diet. Not only will your energy levels remain high you will also avoid unnecessary weight gain by consuming high fat snack. You’re best to avoid foods that contain simple carbohydrates – basically sugars, like candy bars or fizzy drinks.
To keep you firing on all cylinders throughout the day choose foods that contain complex carbohydrates, which are found in foods like wholegrain breads, cereals. These can be combined with protein rich snacks such as peanut butter or low-fat yoghurt and cheese.
Smart Snacking Strategies
Here are some ways to make healthy snacking part of your everyday routine:
- Keep healthy snacks with you. Make it a habit to stash some fruit, wholegrain crackers, or baby carrots in your bag so you always have some healthy food nearby. Half a cheese sandwich also makes a great snack to have on standby.
- Make it interesting. Healthy snacking doesn’t have to be boring as long as you give yourself a variety of choices. Whole-wheat pretzels with spicy mustard, rice cakes with peanut butter and raisins, or low-fat fruit yogurt are healthy, tasty, and easy.
- Satisfy cravings with healthier approaches. If you’re really craving some chocolate why not try a mug of hot chocolate which has only 140 calories and 3 grams of fat. A chocolate bar has 230 calories and 13 grams of fat. Instead of ice cream go for a frozen yoghurt. Go for tortilla chips or a pretzel instead of regular crisps
After dinner can also be a slippery time. If you’re really feeling hungry, then don’t ignore it. Instead of giving into the sweet cravings try some dried fruit like dates or figs, rice cakes or air popped popcorn or some strawberries with natural yoghurt.
Below are some treats you can prepare yourself:
- Ants on a log: spread peanut butter on a celery stick and top with raisins
- Banana ice: Peel several very ripe bananas, break them into 1-inch pieces, and freeze the pieces in a sealed plastic bag. Just before serving, whirl the pieces in the blender with a small amount of water or juice. Serve right away. Add berries for a different flavor or top with fruit and nuts
- Health ice pops: Freeze fresh, unsweetened 100% juice in ice pop moulds or ice cube trays
- Whole grain pita and hummus: Warm a pita in the oven on low, then cut it into small triangles. Dip it in a tasty, low-fat hummus.
- Happy trails mix: Combine 1 cup whole-grain toasted oat cereal with ¼ cup dried cranberries for a health trail mix.
As with everything, moderation is the key to smart snacking. People who eat regular meals and healthy snacks are less likely to overeat and gain weight than people who skip meals or go for long periods without eating.
Remember you can indulge sometimes – all we at Planet Lifestyle say make the indulgence the exception rather than the rule and then you’ll be able to have your ‘cake’ and eat it too.