It’s official. We all love to snack.
A Mintel report on the nation’s snacking habits published recently, suggests that 96% of us snack regularly. Perhaps sometimes we feel a little guilty about it; but the good news is, if you make smart choices, snacking can form a useful part of a healthy balanced diet.
Small changes could make a BIG difference
The trick is to think about how your snacks fit in with your whole diet across the day. Choose healthier snacks that are lower in saturated fat, salt and sugar, and are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
When you consider that snacking may contribute significantly to our overall food intake in a day, it makes sense that small changes could make a BIG difference over time. Here are a few suggestions to help to help optimise your snacks;
Look at the labels
Check the amount of saturated fat, salt and sugars in your snack as well as overall calorie content.
Planning ahead helps you to ensure that your snacks are healthy and helps you to balance them with the rest of your daily food intake. It also helps you to ensure that you have the right foods in the cupboard at home or in your desk drawer at work. If you surround yourself with healthier snack options, it’s much easier to avoid less healthy snacks.
Smart snack ideas
- A handful of nuts and seeds is a good source of protein and healthy fats so will keep you going between meals if you are hungry
- A hard-boiled egg is a good source of portable protein
- Get some little Tupperware boxes to stuff with healthy snack foods so you always have something to hand. This makes it easier to resist temptation!
- Take a bag of chopped celery, carrot or peppers to work to eat with hummus or on their own – increasing your vegetable intake will provide valuable nutrients and will also increase your fibre intake (around 90% of the UK don’t get enough fibre) to fill you up and help maintain a healthy weight
- A low-fat cheese stick with some cherry tomatoes is portable and easy to grab from the fridge
- Low sugar cereal bars are useful on the go and can be a source of wholegrain and fibre – check the ingredients list and nutrition labels to see the amount of sugar
- Rice cakes with hummus or unsalted nut butter make a surprisingly tasty snack
- Fresh fruit can make a great low-calorie snack – and bananas and apples come in their own biodegradable packaging! *BONUS* – Eating more fresh fruit and veg is one of the simplest choices you can make to contribute to overall health