6 superstar on-the-go snacking tips
Let's talk about snacking
Snacks are often a source of delight in our day: a little something to break up the morning or get us through the afternoon. You might think of them as a treat, but snacks actually have an important role to play in keeping you healthy and energised.
“Healthy snacking can improve your health, manage your hunger, assist with weight management, regulate your mood and give you energy to keep going throughout the day,” explains dietitian Alex Parker from The Biting Truth. “Snacking is also an opportunity to sneak in nutrient-rich foods like fruit and vegetables.”
Not all snacks are created equal, though: poor snack choices can impact your healthy habits and weight loss efforts, and leave you even hungrier. The problem is, it's all too easy to make unhealthy choices, especially when you're hungry - that's when crisps, biscuits and chocolate bars start to look very tempting!
If you've stocked your kitchen with healthy ingredients and planned your meals and snacks in advance, eating healthily at home can become a daily habit over time, and may even start feeling like second nature.
But what if you're out and about? With unhealthy options around every corner, going into town or out for the day can prove tricky when you've got a SmartPoints® Budget to stick to. When hunger strikes, how can you guarantee you'll stay on track?
Try these 6 superstar snacking tips:
1. Know your needs
Whether or not you snack is totally up to you, and how hungry you feel. As a general rule, eating every three to four hours is a good idea, as it can help to stabilise blood sugar levels and maintain your energy, notes dietitian Rachel Scoular. “Often that looks like breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner,” she says. “If you wake up early or exercise first thing, you’re probably looking at a morning snack too.”
2. Be prepared
Try to work out roughly how long you'll be out for. If you're likely to need a full meal during that time, you could prepare something to take with you, or stop at a restaurant and use the WW app to help you choose a SmartPoints-friendly option from the menu. App tip: open your app, scroll to the bottom of the homescreen and tap 'Restaurants' to explore all the delicious things you can enjoy.
If you'll only be out for a few hours, prepare some healthy snacks to take with you that will keep hunger at bay. Or, pop into the supermarket to grab a fruit salad, a yogurt or even a tin of tuna. Just remember to pack a spoon!
3. Prioritise protein
When prepping snacks, try to prioritise protein and fibre. “These take longer to digest and break down, helping you feel fuller for longer,” explains Scoular.
She also suggests thinking about how your snacks will help you reach your daily intake of fruit and veg. “That way you, aren’t eating empty calories,” she says.
Delicious snacks that fit the brief include veggie sticks with hummus, low-fat cheese on wholegrain crackers, strawberries dipped in natural yoghurt, a portion of air-popped popcorn sprinkled with cinnamon, a pack of salt & vinegar chickpeas, plain fat-free yoghurt with a piece of fruit, or a small handful of raw nuts.
4. Check the label
Sometimes, snacks are made to look like they're a healthier option, when in fact they're high in sugar and saturated fat. It's worth checking the ingredients list of packaged foods and choosing products with fewer ingredients (and ingredients that you recognise, rather than ones you can't pronounce!). Energy bars in particular can be loaded with sugar and SmartPoints.
5. Stock up and portion out
Stock your kitchen with healthy options so you can grab and go.
6. Stay hydrated
Sometimes, thirst registers as hunger, so try to always carry a bottle of water and sip regularly to ensure you’re properly hydrated. A water tracking bottle can help you stay on track with your hydration goals.
3 snacking tips from WW members
- “I just reach for a banana. They are magic!” Jenny Currie
- “I make apple and cheese ‘sandwiches’ from apple slices and cheese.” Carmen Gibson
- “Planning is key. I divide my snacks into individual bags and take some with me when I’m going out. Just in case I’m away longer than I think… Then I always have something on hand and know its SmartPoints value.” Ann Leaman