To snack or not to snack
And the answer is, yes – you should snack, as long as it’s on something healthy and nutritious. Let’s look at a few questions people often ask about snacking.
- Can snacking be part of a healthy lifestyle?
Definitely, it’s an important part of good eating habits and an easy way to prevent you from getting so hungry that you over-eat at mealtime. Snacks can ensure that you enjoy a variety of foods from all the food groups every day. Ingredients like nuts, seeds and even fruit are sometimes not included as part of a meal and then forgotten – so snack on them.
- When is a good time to snack?
Ideally, a meal should be satisfying enough to keep you full till the next one, but sometimes you do feel that your blood sugar levels (energy levels) start to drop. That’s a good time to nibble on something nutritious. When your blood sugar drops too low, you start feeling peckish. Preferably only snack when you are actually hungry – also determine if you may be just thirsty. A healthy snack will keep you going till the next meal and prevent a vicious cycle of unhealthy snacking on foods that are just empty-kilojoules with no nutritional value, like crisps or sweets.
- What should I snack on?
Choose snacks that will keep your energy levels stable and prevent them from dropping too low or spiking shortly after, only leaving you feeling hungry again. Snacks should be as natural, unrefined and unprocessed as possible. What you munch on should never contain too much sugar, salt or unhealthy fats, so stock up on good choices. Remember to read food labels if you choose to buy snacks.
A snack with lots of fibre and good oils, will keep you fuller for longer, like nuts or seeds, a spoonful of peanut butter (with no added salt or sugar) or half an avo. Fruit and veggies are also perfect to snack on. If you are making your own snacks, keep the same healthy principles in mind and never make the portion so big that it spoils your appetite at mealtime.
Keep it practical and at hand, in small portions and in transportable containers. A small bag or container of nuts can stay in your handbag, office drawer or a child’s school bag. Cut fruit to make it easy to nibble on the go.
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