- Filling up on snacks with high nutritional value will keep you fuller longer
- Yoghurt, fresh or dried fruits and whole grain cereal make good snacks
- A snack that ticks all the boxes ideally needs to be portable and convenient
It’s easy to reach for sugary treats to graze on when the mid-afternoon slump hits, which is why snacking is often cited as one of the reasons the pounds creep on.
But if you steer clear of the unhealthy stuff, snacking can actually be good for you.
The key is to plan ahead, fill up on nutrient dense foods and when in doubt reach for the nuts, experts say.
Doughnuts are a no-no! If you steer clear of the unhealthy stuff, snacking can actually be good for you
Here Azmina Govindji, nutritionist to KIND Snacks, shares her golden tips for healthy snacking with FEMAIL
Filling up on snacks with high nutritional value will help you feel fuller for longer in-between meals and control hunger. Having one or two planned snacks will help you stop over-indulging, lessening the chance of giving in to temptation whilst passing the bakery!
Choose nutrient dense snacks
Nutrient-dense snacks are foods that give you more nutrients per calorie compared to others.
A bowl of whole grain cereal, for example, gives you about 250 calories and it brings along fibre, vitamins and minerals, as well as calcium and protein from the milk.
A chocolate bar has the equivalent of 250 calories but doesn’t carry nutritional goodness. Choose snacks that offer you healthier ingredients such as fresh or dried fruit, nuts or yoghurt.
Cereal bars (left) are often packed with hidden sugars whilst peanut butter (right) is a natural source of protein and helps maintain energy levels
Protein rules over carbs and fatty foods
Research suggests high protein foods fill you up more than carbs or fatty foods. Protein rich snacks include nuts and nut bars, edamame beans, hummus, Greek yogurt and popcorn.
Healthy fats are OK
Do you steer away from foods that contain fat? Think again. Many foods bring you healthy fats. Fats are abundant in Mediterranean style dining (think avocados, olive oil, nuts and fish) and research suggests that this diet could be one of the healthiest in the world.
Convenience is key
We aren’t all perfect at planning every meal ahead of time. A snack that will tick all the boxes ideally needs to be portable and convenient, a source of protein and fibre, low in sugar and calories – and of course, tasty!
TEN SNACK SWAPS TO MAKE TODAY
Nutritionist Dr. Sarah Schenker told FEMAIL: ‘So many people are misled by snacks which we’re told are healthy, in reality, people need to be thinking about the nutritional content and how that can help you maintain your energy levels.
‘Snacking still has negative connotations that need to be overcome – which I fully support. Introducing convenient and nutritious foods can overcome the stigma of snacking and help us to become more active and healthier.’
Here she shares snacking swaps you can make to ensure you are consuming all the right foods.
SWAP: Low-fat biscuits
FOR: Oatcakes with hummus
Oatcakes have much lower sugar content than many low-fat biscuits on the market and are a great source of fibre. Top this with hummus for a fix of essential vitamins and minerals.
SWAP: Cereal bars
FOR: Peanut butter on wholemeal toast
Cereal bars are often packed with hidden sugars which can undermine any nutritional value. Peanut butter is a natural source of protein and helps maintain energy levels, perfect if you have a big day ahead.
SWAP: Lighter crisps
FOR: Vegetable sticks and avocado dip
Light crisps are often high in salt, as an alternative, swap for vegetables sticks and an avocado dip. Avocados are high in antioxidants and provide you with good, monounsaturated fats that can help keep hair and skin healthy.
SWAP: Processed fruit bars
FOR: Mixed raisins and nuts
Whole fruit has a much higher water content contributing to hydration, helping to prevent dehydration that can be a root cause of the afternoon slump.
FOR: A glass of milk
A glass of milk provides essential calcium and minerals and is comparably much better for you than a smoothie, which contains large amounts of sugar.
SWAP Fruit Juice
FOR Coconut water
There has been some debate as to whether fruit juice should continue to count towards your 5-a-day as the process of juicing releases the sugars, having similar impact to added sugars, particularly on teeth. Coconut water has less sugar than most fruit juices and could be a better choice for adults and kids looking for a beverage that is less sweet. It also provides electrolytes that can help you rehydrate more effectively.
SWAP Strawberry ice cream
FOR Greek yoghurt with frozen berries
Strawberry ice cream is loaded with sugar and light on any actual fruit. You can get the same effect by swirling frozen berries through protein and calcium packed Greek yoghurt with a fraction of the sugar content.