16 MayHow to snack well – Is your snacking distracted eating or part of a plan?
This is an area that can really make or break our health and nutrition goals. Done right, snacking can be an opportunity to provide our bodies with healthy nutrients or fill in the gap when we don’t have time for a full meal. But done wrong, snacks can hold many hidden temptations and hold us back from a healthy lifestyle.
When choosing whether or not to snack, have a think about the following questions.
What is the purpose of this snack? Does it fit in with my nutrition goals? Is it to provide a nutrient dense, filling snack to fill in the gap between meals? Or is it because it’s mid-afternoon and it’s available/I’m tired/stressed/it’s part of the routine?
If you do decide to snack, here are some tips to help you put together a good choice:
1. Practice mindful snacking – ask yourself why am I eating this snack? How can I make it nutritionally dense? IS it satisfying a craving and will I be able to stop at just one?
2. Consider snacks as mini-meals and keep them small – they should still be balanced and focus on protein and fibre for satiety.
3. Choose snacks with nutrients like protein and fibre. Fruit, yoghurt, whole grain crackers, air popped popcorn and veggie sticks with guacamole are all good options
4. Have a pantry overhaul – remove the temptations to snack on poor quality foods like chips and biscuits
5. Stock the fridge with healthy, tasty options like fresh fruit and veggies or yoghurt; if it looks appealing you’re more likely to eat it!
And if you choose not to snack, here are some tips to help you move on:
· Change the environment – get out of the kitchen by choosing to read a book in a different room
· Change the routine to make sure you’re not getting hungry whilst you’re in an at-risk area (eg at the shops)
· Go for a walk – if you’re hungry in half an hour then consider putting together a quality snack
· Make sure your main meals are big enough to keep you full until the next meal
If snacking is something you struggle with, see our Accredited Practising Dietitian to discuss snacking strategies that can work for you.
Louise Cato – Accredited Practising Dietitian