Eat better

The key to healthy snacking

To snack or not to snack? Here how to create a smart snack strategy.

Snacking right


Snack right
Snacking can be a smart strategy for your weight-loss plan. It can boost your mood, concentration, energy levels, and intake of essential nutrients. It can also help maintain optimal blood glucose and insulin levels. But when does snacking become mindless munching?

Listen to your hunger
Many people snack on autopilot, which can easily sabotage weight-loss efforts. The key to smart snacking is to let hunger be your guide. If you’ve enjoyed a satisfying, healthy breakfast of low-GI oats with cinnamon and apple, you may not need mid-morning fuel. And when everyone else is reaching for the biscuit barrel, stop and assess your hunger levels.

Keep snacking on track
The first step is to work out your typical snack patterns and then try to track ahead so you always have a set budget ready for snacks and treats. For example, you might want to keep a certain allocation of your SmartPoints allowance aside each day for snacks throughout the day or at certain times such as after exercise or in the evening.

The key to healthy snacking
The next step is to make sure you’re making smart choices when you snack. Smart snacking means always having a portion-controlled, healthy choice on hand for when hunger strikes. So, what exactly is a great portion-controlled snack? Fruit snack tubs or wholegrain nut bars that pop easily into your bag when you’re on the go; cans of soup that fit neatly in your desk drawer at work; and pre-cut vegetable crudités that are waiting in the fridge when you come home.

How to shop like a pro
When you’re shopping around for a range of healthy snacks, focus on those with ingredients such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, dairy and wholegrains. And use our nutrition-information guide (below) to know what to look for on food labels.
 

Nutrition-information guide

Follow these guidelines to choose the best kind of snacks and sweet treats. 

Glycamic index

Look for low-GI products for their slow, sustained release of energy. 

Kilojoules

About 500kJ is a good rule of thumb, but let your hunger signals be your guide. 

Protein

This is important for busting hunger. The best choices have at least 5g per serve. 

Saturated fat

Keep this number low – saturated fat may raise cholesterol levels 

Sugar

One teaspoon of sugar weighs about 5g, so it’s easy to calculate how many teaspoons you’re getting per snack when reading the nutrition information panel. 

Salt or Sodium

Go as low as you can on this. Foods labelled ‘low salt’ must contain less than 120mg sodium per 100g.