Snacking on nutritious foods can keep your energy levels high and keep your mind alert without taking up too much time. Healthy eating is not just about what you consume for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A nutritious snack can help to satisfy hunger between meals and to bring variety to your daily food intake.
The right snacks can help us focus, satisfy our hunger, and provide a much-needed energy boost for the next meal. When you’re out and about, you may find it difficult to make healthy food choices. Even if you have a healthy lunch at the office – a salad, a green turkey sandwich, or whole grain bread – it’s not much if you’re still snacking on junk food.
Snacks are key to staying healthy when the stakes are high. Make the healthiest food choices possible when you spend your days on the go. Use the tips and menu suggestions below to plan healthy meals and snacks that will help you feel at your best. Go ahead and plan to include sweet treats in your healthy snack plan.
Healthy snacking doesn’t have to be boring if you offer yourself a variety of options. Make a habit of stowing fruits, whole grains, crackers and baby carrots in your backpack or exercise bag so you always have healthy food nearby. Make sure snacks are a healthy choice, such as air-popped popcorn, served in individual portion sizes to prevent overeating. Fruits and vegetables provide vital vitamins and minerals, are low in calories and high in fibre. Individual pieces of fruit such as apples and pears are excellent as snacks because they are tasty and portable.
A common trap is the portion size of snacks that don’t have to be as big as a meal. There are many ways to ensure that you have a healthy snack choice at hand during the hunger strike. The delicious snacks that go along with it include vegetable sticks, hummus, low-fat cheese, whole-grain crackers, strawberry dip, natural yoghurt, popcorn portions, chickpeas, fat-free yoghurts, pieces of fruit and a small handful of raw nuts sprinkled with cinnamon and wrapped in our salt and vinegar.
Chia, flax, sesame or hemp seeds between your meals sprinkle to increase the fibre and vitamin intake and can be sprinkled on foods, drinks, fruit or water. These seeds provide essential fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals as well as 11 grams of fibre per ounce.
Chickpeas, the staple ingredient of your beloved hummus, contain an impressive 50 grams of protein in a cup. Chop it into a smaller portion of roasted seeds for a further 25 grams of protein snack. This not only increases your daily protein intake, but also protein-rich foods are ideal to help you feel full for longer so that you can avoid overeating.
With processed foods and unhealthy alternatives around the corner, it can be difficult to go to town every day, especially if you’re on a schedule. With some advanced planning, you can stock your fridge and your cupboard with healthy and nutritious ingredients to ensure you have everything you need to prepare healthy meals and snacks.
Look for fibre-rich foods (whole grains, bread, cereals, fruits and vegetables) and combine them with high-protein snacks such as peanut butter, low-fat yoghurt and cheese. Just because something is “natural” or “pure” does not mean that it is nutritious. Despite the claims made by food manufacturers on the front of the packaging, the only way to judge whether a food is healthy is to read the ingredients and nutritional information on the label.
Try low-fat yoghurt with a pinch of cereal, a small bowl of oatmeal, a sliced apple and some peanut butter. Be sure to choose a low-sodium, low-sugar variety, as many companies add this to their products to enhance flavour. Specialists also recommend carbohydrate-rich and protein-rich snacks, as these are said to increase tryptophan levels in the brain, which can lead to better sleep.
A serving of healthy mixed nuts means a variety of additional flavours, salt and proteins that are packed into a snack that lasts for weeks. Your best bet is to add an ounce of pistachio mixture containing peanuts to your snack to add an extra 6 grams of protein.
A healthy mix of peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and a few dried cranberries can however contain a ton of protein per serving. Just make sure you keep up with portions so you don’t throw away hundreds of extra calories with every snack. Remember that water is great for making you feel full, so keep your water bottle nearby to keep hydrated during your snack.
To maintain energy levels and avoid weight gain, avoid foods with high added sugar, such as chocolate bars and lemonade. When you buy energy bars, read the labels carefully and look for more fibre, protein and less sugar and fat. Make sure they provide these nutrients and healthy fats and don’t leave them out or consider them your only pleasure of the day.
If you eat dinner 6 hours before lunch, you should stick to the 3-hour mark when hungry, as opposed to one meal before the other. The goal of eating at the same time every day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will help maintain a healthy eating pattern. If dinner is on the lighter side, all you need is a small snack or combination of foods to promote well-being.
Snacking gives the body the nutrients and energy it needs to stay focused at work. Pay attention to the food and the amount you eat is essential for healthy snacking. It can make all the difference whether you choose healthy options or ones that leave you hungry half an hour later.