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A Nutritionist's Guide To Smart Snacking

Snacking gets a bad rap, and that’s mostly because when it comes to snacking, people gravitate towards easy, high-energy/low-nutrient options that more often than not leave them incessantly grazing all day long.

I hate to break it to you, but if your snack of choice has you back at the fridge within 10 minutes of finishing it, then it's not sufficient and could be negatively impacting the rest of your diet.

If you're someone who has a large appetite, is very active, needs to support blood sugar levels, has long gaps in between meals or struggles with food cravings and overeating - snacking is going to be an essential part of hitting your health goals.

The trick is to have the tools to know WHEN and HOW to snack... so you can snack, smartly.

Here are my top tips for smart snacking:

1️⃣ Be prepared - Plan ahead and make sure you’ve got nutrient-rich snacks factored into your weekly plan/shopping list. Having healthy options on hand means you’re far less likely to be left hangry and picking up the easiest thing you can find (which, let's face it, is probably chocolate or chips).

2️⃣ Check-in and assess your hunger - are you actually hungry or are you something else? Once you have determined that you are physically hungry, think about how hungry you are and how long you have to go before your next meal. This will help you determine how big of a snack you need, ensuring you meet your hunger needs whilst also being aware of how it fits into your overall energy requirements.

3️⃣ Keep it balanced - balanced eating extends to snacking as well as your main meals. If your snacks are balanced and contain the key nutrients in the right amounts (protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates + some colour) then you’ll feel full and satisfied for longer, as well as improve your overall nutrient intake.

4️⃣ Plate it up and eat mindfully! It is much easier to overeat if you eat straight from the packet, so always treat snacks like the main meal. Plate them up, put the food/packets away and then sit down and take a few minutes to eat, mindfully. Not only will you enjoy your snack more but you will be better able to register your fullness cues.

To help you get started with smart snacking, I've put together some suggestions for my favourite balanced and satisfying snacks.

Now, while these are all great and delicious examples... I think it’s important to be realistic and let's face it, we don’t always have time to plate up the perfect snack.

More often than not, on-the-go snacking is what makes or breaks a healthy diet. You might be ticking the boxes with your main meals and physical activity, but little things can sneak into our seemingly healthy routine and become engrained habits … and before you realise it, these little habits can add up and counteract our good intentions.

So when you’re on the go, hangry and you just need to eat - the trick is just knowing what to pick.

It all comes down to being able to find the consistency in the inconsistency and being able to adapt and make educated choices in line with your health goals, no matter what your day throws at you. As with our main meals, we want our snacks to favour protein + fibre + fats and minimise saturated fat, highly processed carbohydrates as well as added salt and sugars.

So in times when you just have to grab something, here are my suggestions. All able to be found in supermarkets and can be eaten whilst commuting/between meetings/at your desk/feeding the kids/walking the dog etc.


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