Snacks Aren’t All Bad! –

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Snacking is when you consume food or beverages between your regular main meals.

The term “snack foods” is often used to refer to processed, high-calorie items like chips and cookies.

However, snacking simply means to eat or drink something between meals, regardless of whether the food is healthy

Hunger is the main motivation behind snacking, but factors like location, social environment, time of day, and food availability contribute as well.

In fact, people often snack when appetizing food is around — even when they’re not hungry.

In one study, when people with obesity or excess weight were asked why they chose unhealthy snacks, the most common response was temptation, followed by hunger and low energy levels

In addition, both the desire to snack and snacking’s effects on health appear to be highly individualized. Factors that influence snacking include age and beliefs about whether this practice is healthy

In defence of snacking …

Snacking can help balance your blood sugar levels

A healthy, well-portioned snack that contains good-quality carbohydrates provides long-lasting energy to get you through a busy morning or afternoon. This steady supply of fuel to your brain and muscles helps you to maintain focus and concentration forlong periods of time.

Snacking can help you hit your daily nutrient targets

Many people fall short of their daily fibre and/or calcium requirements, and the vast majority of us don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. Snacking is therefore the ideal opportunity to focus on boosting your nutrition with foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, yoghurt, nuts and seeds.

Snacking can help you manage hunger

There’s nothing worse than a loud, grumbling tummy. Not only can it be distracting and make you feel irritable — it could drive you to make poor food choices and to overeat at your next main meal. Enjoying a well-portioned snack, without overdoing it, can help keep those hunger pangs at bay.

The Perfect Snack Formula

“Snacking on healthful choices that provide a mix of good carbs, healthy fats and protein can help keep your body and mind energized and digestive system working smoothly. This can lead to being more productive at work!” says Newgent.

Newgent provides guidelines by which to craft the perfect snack:

  • Calorie Range = 150 to 250 calories (varies based on activity level)
  • Mix of good carbs, healthy fats and protein
  • Easiest approach: protein + produce
  • Protein + fiber = satiety (at least 5g protein & 3g fiber)
  • Low in added sugars (ideally 5g or less)
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Easy to assemble

So now we know how to build the perfect snack, but is there a right time to eat it?

“Keep in mind the snacking ‘golden rule’: Don’t go more than 5 waking hours without something to eat,” says Newgent. “So, if lunch is at 12 noon and dinner isn’t planned until 8pm, plan to have an office snack around 4pm.”

quick and easy snacks that are healthy

  • NutsNuts are packed with protein and healthy fats, so they help you stay full longer. Enjoy a handful of almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, or unsalted or lightly salted dry roasted nuts. To make your snack last longer, choose nuts that you have to un-shell one at a time. Or, toss walnuts into an individual serving of unsweetened applesauce.
  • GrapesA cup of frozen grapes is an easy, nutritious snack. It’s a fun way to satisfy your sweet tooth with just a handful of calories. If grapes aren’t your thing, try a frozen banana drizzled with a tablespoon of chocolate syrup.
  • HummusMake a batch of creamy, smooth hummus at home and spread it on whole grain crackers or a six-inch whole wheat tortilla. Hummus also makes a savory dip for cut veggies.
  • Oat BranOat bran is a complex carbohydrate, so it helps fill you up without spiking your blood sugar. A small bowl of oat bran flavored with low-fat milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon makes a hearty, filling snack. Plus, blueberry oat bran muffins are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
  • YogurtA single-serving container of light, low-fat yogurt (or Greek-style yogurt) is an easy snack when you’re on the go. Add fresh fruit, ground flaxseed, or reduced-fat granola to yogurt to pack an additional nutritional punch. Or, try freezing a container of whipped yogurt for something new.

You don’t have to be perfect

If you slip up, don’t worry. Healthy snacking is a habit you’ll develop over the long haul. Plus, it’s okay to give yourself little treats from time to time. Trying to be too good can set you up for failure. So, yes, go ahead and indulge yourself with a small piece of dark chocolate after dinner. Just don’t make it an everyday thing.


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