If you find yourself hungry between meals, overeating at mealtimes, or tired throughout the day, incorporating snacks into your daily routine might be worth considering.
Let’s have a look at the benefits and downsides of snacking.
The benefits of snacking:
- Helps provide a boost of energy between meals.
- Helps curb appetite to prevent overeating at the next meal.
- Provides extra nutrients when choosing wholefood snacks.
- Can help maintain adequate nutrition if appetite is poor.
Potential downsides of snacking:
- Unwanted weight gain if portions or frequency of snacking is too much, adding excess kilojoules.
- Snacking too frequently can reduce hunger at meal times or cause one to skip a meal entirely, which increases the risk of losing out on important nutrients.
- Regular intake of ultra-processed hyper-palatable snacks that contain added salt, sugar, and fats but that are low in nutrients and high in kilojoules can increase a preference for these types of foods, leading to a change in eating behaviours and diet quality (e.g., a higher intake of hyper-palatable snacks along with a decreased intake of healthful foods).
To ensure snacking is working for you and not against you, think about these 3 simple steps to snacking success:
Think about WHY you are snacking:
If snacking occurs frequently, determine if you are truly hungry or if you are eating in response to an emotion (bored, stressed, tired, angry, upset etc.). If you are hungry, then it is time for a snack. If you are eating from emotion, consider other strategies to cope with emotions such as going for a walk or calling a friend.
Make a careful decision about WHAT you choose to snack on:
A satisfying snack will alleviate hunger, be enjoyable and help to tie you over until your next meal. Think about the last snack you ate — did you still feel hungry or want to keep eating shortly after finishing one portion of the snack? Choosing a snack that is high in protein and/or fibre will enhance satisfaction.
Be mindful of THE SIZE of your snack:
A snack portion should be enough to satisfy but not so much that it interferes with your appetite for a meal or adds too many kilojoules. Remember a snack is a snack, not a meal. A general rule of thumb is to aim for about 150-250 calories per snack.
Here are 30 Healthy Snacks to try
- Veggie sticks and hummus
- Wholegrain crackers and hummus
- Piece of fruit
- Edamame beans
- Unsalted nuts
- Boiled egg
- Cheese and wholegrain crackers
- Cottage cheese and wholegrain crackers
- Tuna and avocado on wholegrain crackers
- Cottage cheese and veggie sticks
- Greek yoghurt with fruit
- Greek yoghurt with unsalted nuts or seeds
- Muesli snack bars
- Multigrain rice cakes with nut butter and banana
- Multigrain rice cakes with cottage cheese
- Roasted chickpeas
- Roasted fava beans
- Sliced apples and peanut butter
- Celery sticks with peanut bitter
- Sliced bananas and peanut butter on wholegrain crackers
- Fruit smoothie
- Trail mix
- Savoury muffins
- Baked beans on wholegrain toast
- Wholemeal fruit toast with ricotta and banana
- Chia pudding with berries
- Dates with peanut butter