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To Snack or Not to Snack...

To Snack or not to snack…That is the question. Well, should you or shouldn’t you? That’s really up to your body and what it’s telling you!

Right now, I should point out that a healthy snack is a small something that provides nutrients as well as valuable energy to keep you going until your next meal. If you choose your snacks correctly, they can become a vital source of nutrients particularly; calcium, fibre, antioxidants and healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids (see my snack ideas below).

Depending upon your individual metabolic rate and your daily activities you may need to snack or you may not. The important lesson is TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! If you’re hungry in between meals, then yes absolutely enjoy a small snack! However, if you’re still feeling satisfied from breakfast, yet its 10am and everyone is enjoying smoko then perhaps just have a warm drink and wait until you are hungry. Don’t just eat because it’s 10am! For you, that feeling of hunger may not come until lunchtime or it might come in an hours’ time which would be the perfect time to have a nutritious little bite to tide you over until lunch. This small snack may in time prevent you from trotting down the road for a piece of cake to top up your packed lunch because you’ve let yourself get too hungry by waiting. Yes, let’s be honest, we’ve all done that before!

Nutritious snacks also become a great source of fuel in the 1-2 hours prior to exercise. So if you are training straight after work then you might like to enjoy a small snack mid-afternoon – yes that’s right you don’t have to exercise in a fasted state! That mid-afternoon fuel may be just the ticket to help you work harder and reap even more rewards than if you’d eaten nothing at all. Some people (and not all but I’ve seen it many times!) have a grand idea of working out on an empty stomach after work, but in reality they end up heading home because they feel too tired or hungry to make it to the park, river or gym for some exercise. I wonder if they would have headed home if they’d enjoyed a nutritious little something to power them through their workout. If this sounds familiar, test yourself out and see how you go!

Here are some nutritious small snack ideas that would be a great little pick me up when your body is telling you, you need to eat!

  • 100g Greek yoghurt with ¼ cup berries stirred through

  • 2 Medjool dates stuffed with peanut butter

  • Handful walnuts + 2 kiwifruit or 2 mandarins

  • 1 apple + 1 Tbspn nut butter

  • 1 slice wholegrain toast + ¼ avocado + 1 tsp sesame seeds

  • 2 wholegrain crackers + 1 Tbspn hummus + 1 sliced tomato or cheese + chutney

  • 1 slice grainy bread wrapped around a banana

  • 1-2 bliss balls

  • 1 small square Homemade Muesli Slice

  • Small fruit & vegetable smoothie

  • Glass of milk and/or 1 banana

  • 1 cup vegetable sticks + 2 Tbspn hummus or 2 slices cheese

One of my favourite substantial snacks is a few tablespoons of yoghurt mixed with frozen berries, nuts and a teaspoon of peanut butter! It is more energy dense than a smaller snack option but great for those who are active and looking for a delicious recovery snack.

So here's to happy and healthy snacking when you're hungry folks!

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