3 tips to healthy snacking
Snacking can boost your mood, concentration, energy levels and intake of essential nutrients. It can also help maintain optimal blood glucose and insulin levels. Therefore it is a good idea to always keep a range of healthy snacks on hand for when hunger strikes. Here are 3 tips!
1. Listen to your hunger signals
Listen to your body and choose your snacks carefully. Many people snack on autopilot, which can easily derail healthy eating habits. 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 a mid-morning snack.
2. Make smart choices
The next step is to make sure you’re making smart choices when you snack. Smart snacking means always having a healthy choice on hand for when hunger strikes. So, what exactly is a great healthy 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 sticks that are waiting in the fridge when you come home.
3. Shopping for healthy snacks
When you’re shopping around for a range of healthy snacks, focus on those with ingredients such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, dairy and wholegrains. It is also a good idea to use our nutrition-information guide (below) to know what to look for on food labels.
Nutrition guide for healthy snacking
Follow these guidelines to choose the best kind of snacks.
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 - Protein will help keep you feeling fuller for longer. 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.
Next time hunger calls, make sure you have a smart snack within easy reach. Whether you’re at home, at work, shopping, exercising or just out and about, there are plenty of delicious snack options you can choose. Just plan ahead so you have the right ingredients, and take snacks with you when you head out the door so you’re not caught empty-handed.