How to snack smart
Healthy snacks can boost your energy and concentration, control blood sugar and insulin levels, and help you meet daily nutrient requirements. When it comes to managing or losing weight, a nutritious snack can help keep your appetite on an even keel and prevent overeating at mealtime. Let’s take a closer look at how you can build a smart snack strategy.
Try and reach for unpackaged snacks where possible, such as fruit and veggies. These don’t have few additives or preservatives and contain natural sugars rather than added sugar and salt. Not to mention unpackaged snack are generally always cheaper. So reach for an apple or kiwifruit when you get peckish. No prep required!
With an ever-increasing range of grab-and-go items available, it can be tricky making healthier choices. Our SmartPoints system will guide you towards healthier choices but as a general guide you can look for these items:
Kilojoules: As a rule of thumb a snack should have around 500-600kJ or less.
Saturated fat: Compare similar products per 100g and go for the lower option.
Sugars: 1 teaspoon of sugar is equal to about 5g. Just keep in mind that lactose in milk and fructose in fruit are natural sources that increase the total sugar count of a food. However it’s the added sugars that you should watch out for.
Dietary fibre: Sources of dietary fibre have at least 2g/serve, whereas excellent sources have 7g/serve. Dietary fibre helps you feel fuller for longer, so the greater the amount the better.
Salt or sodium: Low salt foods must have less than 120mg sodium/100g. Salty snacks over 500mg of sodium/100g should be limited to a couple of times per week.
Plan your snacks
Portion control - Smart snacking means having a healthy, portion-controlled choice on hand when hunger calls. Keep healthy options such as almonds in your glove box, work drawer and gym bag. In a study by mindless-eating expert Dr Brian Wansink, participants given larger portions ate 77 per cent more food at snack time, yet they didn't report any stronger feelings of appetite satisfaction than the group that ate the smaller portions.
Fuel your fitness - If you’re heading to the gym after work, have a healthy afternoon snack such as a banana or yoghurt before you go.
Think differently - Don’t be afraid to shake things up – a small bowl of warm porridge with cinnamon makes a comforting winter afternoon snack.