It’s spring and for many it’s time for a spring clean. This year why not include a spring tune-up for your diet by taking stock on your snacking?
First things first – ask yourself do you need a snack. It’s the time of year when the clocks spring ahead but do you look at the timing of your meals? Spacing meals 3-4 hours apart is important for many things such as; digestion, maintaining energy levels, blood sugar control and preventing overeating. If the time between meals is going to be more than 4-6 hours a snack is suggested. For many that have inconsistent or demanding schedules that require long stretches of time without food, snacks are very important.
Steps you can take
- Plan Ahead
Getting in to the groove of planning snacks ahead of time is paramount. It can be as simple as setting aside one hour to quickly think about the week ahead, then taking stock of what you already have or making a list of foods you will need. This will help you to having a variety of healthy snacks on hand.
- Pack it Up
Take enough snacks to the office for the week.
Dedicate an area in the fridge for snacks.
Create a snack bowl or shelf in the cupboard to make healthy snacks easy to grab.
Pack up snacks in small containers or “baggies” or buy small packages of food. Don’t snack directly from a large container, bag or box.
- Smart Snacking
Save snacks that are higher in calories, fat, sugar, or salt and lower in fibre for special occasions such as; cookies, granola bars, cakes, donuts, chocolate, ice cream and chips. If you are going to choose one of these snacks go for a small portion and combine it with a healthy option. Examples; 1 cookie + piece of fruit rather than 2 or 3 cookies or put a small scoop (golf ball size) of ice cream in a bowl and top with fresh or frozen fruits.
Avoid snacking when you are reading, working, watching TV or playing on a computer. You are likely to eat more if you are distracted.
- 2 Out of 2
The best snack would include both a protein and fibre food source, however even getting one (protein or fibre) is better than none!
- 1 medium fruit such as; kiwi, pear, apple or orange + nuts or seeds (1/4 cup)
- Plain popcorn (2 cups) mixed with roasted nuts or trail mix (1/4 cup)
- Homemade trail mix: unsweetened whole grain cereal (1/4 cup) + 1 tbsp each dried fruit, nuts or seeds
- Hummus or tuna cracker snack packs
- Single-serve unsweetened applesauce or grapefruit cups topped with Nuts (1 tbsp)
- Nut and seed bars such as; KIND Bars.
- Try other bars such as; Smart for Life Bars, The Simply Bar
- Try roasted dried chickpeas such as; The Good Bean (1/4 cup)
- Apple chips or snap pea crisps
- Small homemade muffin + Fruit
- Veggies such as carrots, celery sticks or cherry tomatoes (1 cup) + hummus (2 tbsp)
- Whole grain bread (1 slice) or rice cake topped with peanut or almond butter (1 tbsp)
- Yogurt parfait: yogurt (1/2 cup) + berries (1/2 cup) topped with nuts or granola (2 tbsp)
- Cottage cheese (1/4 – ½ cup) + Fruit (1/4 – ½ cup) or mix in unsweetened applesauce or top with grapefruit cup.
- 3 rye crackers + 2 babybel light cheese
- Smoothie (1 cup) made with greek yogurt + skim milk or milk alternative and your favourite fruit.
- 250 mL (1 cup) sliced sweet peppers with 60 mL (¼ cup) guacamole dip
Snacks can be healthy part of your day if you choose small portions of nutritious foods. Keeps healthy snacks on hand to enjoy when hunger strikes and always include water!