Do you need mid-meal snacks to get you through the day?
Are you choosing the right foods to snack on?
In this day-and-age, our days often start before sunrise and end in the very late evening, so it makes sense that some of us will need mid-meal snacks to keep our energy levels up and tide us through to the next meal. But it is important that we make smart snack food choices that will positively influence our health, and be wary of those that may negatively affect it.
The most recent Australian Health Survey found that the average Australian eats far too many discretionary foods (aka “junk foods”), contributing around 35% of our daily energy intake, which is far more than the recommended upper limit of 10%. Some of the main food culprits being commonly consumed snack foods– cakes, muffins, biscuits, pastries and confectionary. These foods are generally high in kilojoules (calories), fats, sugars and salt; and provide very few beneficial nutrients, so should therefore be limited to special occasion treats.
Plan ahead and choose smart snack foods – Having healthy foods on hand for your mid-meal snacks, will reduce the likeliness of making impulsive purchases at the local coffee shop or convenience store. When choosing your snack foods, aim to choose foods that are based on lower glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates, good quality protein and healthy fats, and come from one of the five food groups
My top 10 snack choices are full of essential nutrients required for good health and will keep you feeling satisfied until your next main meal:
- 30g unsalted nuts
- Fresh fruit
- 2 Ryvitas with a hard-boiled egg/ tuna/ 2 tablespoons avocado
- Small tub of diet/ no-fat yoghurt with ½ cup mixed berries
- Small skim milk based coffee
- The Happy Snack Company Roasted Fav-va Beans or Chickpeas
- Goodness Superfoods Better For U bars
- Vegetable sticks with 2-3 tablespoons of hommus/ tzatziki/ ricotta/ cottage cheese/ Chobani Meze Dips
- 3-4 Vita-Weats with thinly sliced cheese and tomato
- Sliced apple spread with 1 tablespoon peanut butter
Remember if you do include mid-meal snacks you may not need as large a main meal.
Written by Shannon Lavery, Accredited Practising Dietitian & Nutritionist www.betterchoicesnetwork.com.au