We are often told that we shouldn’t snack between meals as this will ruin our appetite and make us pile on the pounds. But, contrary to popular belief, eating small, healthy and regular snacks is exactly what we should be doing.
Typically, the term ‘snacking’ is associated with foods such as crisps, chocolate and other grab-and-go foods.
Regularly snacking on sugary food items, or foods that are high in saturated fat, may have a negative effect on your overall health. However, by choosing more nutritious options for your snacks, you could help to maintain the essential nutrients that your body needs throughout the day.
If you are unsure as to which nutrient-rich foods are best to snack on as part of a healthy and balanced diet, we’ve highlighted a few fantastic foods that you should definitely consider picking up on your next trip to the supermarket.
Whether it’s strawberries in the summer or cranberries in the winter, there’s a berry for every season. The beauty of berries is that they are small and compact enough to transport as a quick snack.
Take a tub of mixed berries, frozen or fresh, into the office for a mid-morning snack. You can even combine berries with natural yogurt to create your own delicious, custom-made treat, which can be eaten at your desk or on the go.
Nutritional benefits: Fibre, vitamin C, low in calories.
Nuts are full of healthy fats and are extremely versatile when it comes to snacking and bulking out meals. A small portion of nuts, particularly almonds, cashews and walnuts, eaten as a snack can offer a whole host of hearty, healthy fats.
In addition to being a tasty snack, mixed nuts can also be added into meals such as curries, stir-fries and even salads.
As always however, whilst nuts boast a whole host of healthy fats and nutrients, they should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Nutritional benefits: Healthy fats, rich in calcium, magnesium.
Seeds work alongside nuts perfectly when creating nutritious snacks. Mixing a few seeds in with your fruit, yoghurt and nuts can inject both crunch and an extra kick of nutrients into your snack.
Seeds like chia have taken the healthy eating world by storm. These little seeds pack a punch of protein and can be added to everything, from smoothies to overnight oats. You can even mix them with almond milk and greek yogurt to create a healthy and filling chia seed pudding.
Nutritional benefits: Magnesium, amino acids, vitamins A, B, C and E, protein.
Beans and pulses
Beans and pulses are best mixed together in a stew, soup or spicy chilli. If you’re making a large batch the night before, you can even keep a small portion to one side, ready to be warmed up when hunger strikes during the day.
Chickpeas can be baked with salt and pepper to create a crunchy alternative to crisps, or pureed with some water, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic to create homemade hummus. Add some carrot sticks or celery into the mix, and you’ve got a healthy snack that just keeps on giving!
Nutritional benefits: Protein-rich, low in fat, fibre, vitamins, count towards recommended weekly intake of fruit and vegetables.
Variety is the spice of life!
To make sure you never get bored of your snacks, why not mix and match from each group? Try some almonds, cranberries and sunflower seeds, or combine baked chickpeas with pumpkin seeds and cashews!
By giving yourself a variety when it comes to snacking means you’ll never get bored when hunger strikes!
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