14 Jan 2015

How to snack healthily...

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Snacking between meals is sometimes more a habit than a necessity - it's easy to inadvertently establish a pattern of eating when you are not really hungry, and "topping up" on convenient, unhealthy snacks. We asked our Nutritionist, Fiona Williamson, to provide some some healthy snacking tips, and here's what she had to say.

Are you hungry? 

If you're reaching for food out of boredom rather than hunger, try distracting yourself in other ways; go for a short walk, put on your favourite tune, or strike up a conversion with someone. Tiredness can also often be mistaken for an urge to snack, so if possible, have a short nap or get some fresh air to make you feel more alert. 

More commonly though, thirst is mistaken for hunger, as your body struggles to differentiate between the two. When you start feeling peckish, try drinking a glass or two of water then wait around 15 mins to let your body re-regulate, and if the ‘hunger’ subsides you'll know you just needed to re-hydrate.

Choose healthy snacks! 

That said, healthy snacks can be a great way to keep your energy levels up and help you stick to a healthy eating or weight loss plan. When "real" feelings of hunger appear, be prepared by banishing crisps and sweets from your home, and keeping your fridge and cupboards well stocked with good foods. I've outlines some healthy snack suggestions that you might want to try out in addition to your Diet Chef snacks, as well as some additional 'snacking tips'. Good luck! 

Keep in the fridge
Take on the go
Dips (hummus, cottage cheese, salsa, sugar free peanut butter) with dippers (carrots, peppers, celery, crackers)
Handful of mixed nuts (brazils, pecans, cashews, pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, etc)
Frozen fruit such as grapes, chunks of watermelon. Frozen mashed banana gives the texture of banana ice cream!
Baked kale - toss leaves lightly in oil and bake for 10 mins at low heat - good crisp substitute!
Pot of Greek yoghurt
Fruit – dried and fresh
Home made ice lollies - add some berries into the moulds before freezing
Pot of low fat custard
Mixed fresh berries
Hard boiled egg, ready to peel and eat
Fruit slush – freeze fruit juice in ice cube trays, then add to a smoothie maker until ‘slushed’
Microwave popcorn
Tablespoonful of olives and sundried tomatoes

Mug of heated milk; add flavour with spices such as cinnamon

Two squares of dark chocolate

Handful of toasted seeds, such pumpkin and sunflower

Snacking tips

Eat 'fiddly foods'...

Opt for foods that are ‘fiddly’ or time consuming to eat, such as pomegranates and pistachios. You'll eat at a slower rate and consume fewer calories in the process, compared to something you can unwrap and eat straight away.

Top up on protein... 

Try to choose high protein snack items. These will tide you over until the next meal without you having to consume a high amount of calories to feel full.

Keep healthy snacks handy... 

Keep healthy snacks in eye sight - e.g. keep a fruit bowl at your desk, so when the "in-between meals hunger" strikes, fruit is easily accessible and the first thing you reach for first.

Remember the water... 

Similarly, always keep a bottle or jug of water to hand to curb thirst.

Treat snacks like a meal...

Instead of snacking absentmindedly, treat the food like a meal; putting in on a plate and sitting at a table may help you to eat slower and ultimately less.   

Portion out snacks... 

Avoid eating straight from packets. Instead, dish yourself a sensible portion into a tub or bag, then put away the pack to stop you accidentally over-eating more than one serving.

What next? 

We hope you found this blog post helpful. You may also want to... 


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