Everyone has an opinion on whether snacking is a healthy or bad habit. Some believe it only ever results in weight gain and with others thinking it boosts our metabolism. Importantly, there is no one rule about whether snacking is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, in fact, labelling it as such may even be unhelpful. We all have different body types and different physical activity levels therefore, what works for one person, will not work for someone else.
Ultimately, research consistently demonstrates that consuming healthy snacks throughout the day is actually one of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight and positive relationship with food. Hunger may be the main motivation behind snacking, but factors like location, social environment, time of day and food availability, all contribute too. Whether or not snacking is for you, there are definitely smart ways of doing it. If you are someone who works a long day and constantly on the go, you’re likely going to need snacks in between meals to help
keep your energy levels up. Remember your brain needs energy too!
I find with a lot of my clients, that their ‘go-to’ snacks are sugary, refined carbohydrates such as crisps, biscuits and chocolate. Additionally, perceived ‘healthy’ snacks such as protein bars, often contain added sugars and artificial sweeteners.
So how can we snack smart? Think about how often you need to snack. If you lead a busy lifestyle, snacking in-between meals may well be ideal. If you are on the go, think about portable snacks that are easy to take with you such as a banana and a sachet of nut butter.
It's a good idea to include a protein source in your snack, as this may help keep your blood sugar levels stable. Protein combined with a small amount of carbohydrate, will help boost your energy levels. Snacks can help keep your performance and concentration levels up in between meals, helping you avoid those awful hunger pangs.
The key to healthy snacking is to think about what your body needs and what it hasn't had. For example, if you haven't had enough protein then snack on a boiled egg. If you're missing some greens then maybe a pot of edamame beans.
Try and refrain from snacking on foods such as cakes and biscuits as they
offer little nutrional value.
Below I have listed some ‘smart snacks’ for you to try –
- A banana and nut butter
- An apple and nuts
- Edamame beans
- Hummus and veggie sticks
- A boiled egg
- Berry smoothie with oats
- Missfits Nutrition Wonderballs
Whether you snack regularly, or are more of a ‘3 meal a day’ kind of person, it never hurts to be prepared with a little extra something in your bag!