To Snack or Not
Snacks have become the new norm for a lot of people and often advertised as healthy. But what is the real truth? Maev Creaven, our Consultant Nutritionist [www.nutritioncentre.ie ] shares with us her thoughts and expert advice.
The hard truth is that when it comes to health, there should be no need to snack. This usually shocks a lot of people! Ideally we should aim to eat three meals a day max, unless you are an athlete and need to refuel! But if you are hungry [as opposed to being distracted or bored], the best solution is to choose the healthiest option for your own personalised health goals and for most this will mean a lower carb option. Once people know this, it takes the guess work out of what to eat! Food can rule someone’s life especially if you have become dependent on snacks. But when you are starting off on a healthier regime, you may need to snack a little during the transitional phase and it’s helpful to know what to eat. Take a look below at some snacking ideas that are tasty, creative, and don’t take forever to put together!
- Homemade trail mix
The best snacks provide protein and fats with a lower carbohydrate content. This combination helps you feel fuller for longer and doesn’t keep you running to the coffee shop because you’re starving. Trail mix, is one of those easy to create your own lower carbohydrate version. Choose a mixture of your favourite chopped nuts, coconut chips, berries, avoid raisins with their high sugar content and make enough to last a few days.
- Low GL fruits e.g. Berries
Fresh seasonal fruit is full of antioxidants that promote good health. The best idea is always to choose the lowest GL [glycemic load] content such as berries, pears, apples and plums! Bananas for some do not interfere with blood glucose levels.
Try and combine a few different types of berries: raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries and bring to work in a tubber-ware container.
- Raw almonds drizzled with melted dark chocolate
This is more of a treat than healthy snack.
Dark chocolate is delicious, satiating, and some studies say its great to ease stress. The right type i.e. no sugar and very dark, can helps keep blood sugar steady, which will help to prevent energy crashes and cravings later, as long as it doesn’t contain added sugar.
Raw almonds are packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Tip: melt a teaspoon of sugar-free dark chocolate nibs and drizzle over an ounce of raw almonds. Avoid any salted or sweetened varieties.
- Cottage cheese with Cucumber
A snack of cottage cheese [or goats] with cucumber is not only low carbohydrates but also nutritious and, because it only involves two ingredients, keeps preparation to a minimum.
- Full fat Greek Yogurt with Blueberries
Due to its probiotic content, Greek yogurt helps to keep your digestive immune systems healthy. Why not keep a tub of unsweetened, full fat Greek yogurt in the office fridge, and mixing in your choice of fresh fruits and tablespoon of seeds for that extra crunch factor.
- Chickpea Nuts
Chickpea nuts are a better alternative to crisps, chips, and processed, high sugar foods. These need to be prepared at home using an oven;
- Preheating your oven to 200C degrees.
- Drain two cans of chickpeas, spread them on a paper towel to absorb the moisture. Cover with a little olive oil and chili powder.
- Bake for 20 minutes until brown.
- Sprinkle with little of sea salt.
- Split this mix into 8 servings.
- Hummus and Carrot / Celery Sticks
This is another light snack that you might want to prepare at home to bring in to work. It is simple and fresh and a great way to get in the good fats. Add a tablespoon of hummus and homemade or store-bought pesto (optional) on top of carrot or celery sticks.
8.Layered Salad in a Mason Jar
This snack takes a little more prep time. Try and keep it simple: chopping up some protein; eggs, turkey of chicken, add leaves e.g. rocket, and pairing with your olive oil and balsamic with some chopped nuts.
Top tip, add the oil and balsamic into the mason jar first to keep it fresh!
What are your favorite snacks and are they healthy?