Snacks are a vital part of your daily eating plan. Your healthy options are designed to help stave off hunger throughout the day between meals so that you are less tempted to make poor food choices to keep you going.
Snacks should be consumed evenly between breakfast and lunch, and between lunch and dinner. You also have the option to add a third snack later in the evening, if you really need something to tide you over before bedtime. Your snacks should be seen as being extensions of your main meals. In other words, many are smaller portions of the healthy options that you will be consuming at your 3 main meals.
Since these snacks will make or break your commitment to a healthy eating plan, it is extremely important that you ensure that you have sufficient supplies to hand, whether at home or out and about. Make sure that you add snacks to your weekly food shopping list, so that you have fresh supplies each week.
Remember too that these are called ‘snacks’ for a reason. They should be light, just filling enough to keep you satisfied until your next main meal. It is very easy to consume more calories than your body needs, so you will need to experiment a little at first, to get the right portion size.
As with your main meals, please try to include a certain amount of protein in your snacks. The easiest way to achieve this on the run is to invest in a quality brand of whey protein powder. Simply mix one or two tablespoons of this supplement with either milk or juice to give you a quick but nutritious drink on the go. Otherwise, sticking to the options listed below will help ensure that you are getting enough.
At all 3 snack points during the day, you may choose to have a hot drink if you want one. This should either be decaffeinated coffee, green tea or herbal/fruit tea. If you do need caffeine please have your first and only cup at breakfast or mid-morning.
After mid-morning, you should stick to either decaffeinated coffee, green tea, herbal or fruit tea. Remember that caffeinated coffee will upset your blood sugar levels, so be aware that drinking coffee later in the day is not advised if you want to control your appetite.
Here are some healthy snack ideas to get you started;
Protein shake – mixed with milk, juice or water. Blend with fruit to make a smoothie!
3 tablespoons of Organic Natural Yoghurt with honey and nuts/seeds
2 Rice cakes spread with organic hummus, peanut butter or cottage cheese
½ chopped apple spread with peanut butter – surprisingly good
A handful of raw vegetables with hummus dip
1 Mini Pitta with 1 dessert spoon of hummus and an apple
A handful of olives with a chopped tomato, a small chunk of crumbled feta and 2 oatcakes
30g bag of mixed nuts and dried fruit (try to avoid white nuts)
Fruit smoothie (with organic milk and/or yoghurt)
Small portion of grapes with a handful of sunflower seeds
1 pear or apple and a handful of almonds
2 slices of Parma Ham and a stick of celery
REMEMBER: Go easy on your portion sizes. If in doubt, underestimate and then add more.
Good luck and start eating sensibly, more regularly!