Super 'Slimming' Snacks
Whether dieting or not almost everyone enjoys a snack, they can keep you going between meals and can be a good source of nutrients. Also, in the busy lifestyles that many people lead, there are often times when a snack has to see us through a long morning or afternoon, or even a whole day, because there is not the time to sit down and have a proper meal. Snacks can be important too in making sure that we don’t arrive at a meal time feeling absolutely ravenous, we are much more likely to overeat or make unhealthy choices then, so snacking is an important part of weight management
But the problem with snacks is that it is very easy to grab things that won’t satisfy us for long, are sugar laden and high in fat and calories.
So here are some examples of snacks that are healthy and nutritious and if eaten as part of a weight management programme will help maintain weight loss. They are certainly a lot healthier than grabbing a biscuit or crisps or many of the other processed snacks. Of course there are some commercially produced snacks that are a reasonable option but make sure you read the packaging carefullyw hen you make your choice. Part of losing or managing weight is becoming aware and careful about what you choose to eat.
Fruit - Great for Snacks
This has to be one of the most portable of all snacks and although fruit has sugar, it is naturally occurring sugar which is much better than refined sugars. At its simplest a banana, an apple, a handful of grapes or raspberries, or a slice of melon can all be great snacks. In fact fruit is such a good snack that I would rarely leave home without some. If you end up being delayed it is much better to know that if you feel peckish you can reach for something healthy, and this prevents us feeling tempted to reach for calorie laden nibbles.
Dried fruit is another good option – I love the combination of dried fruit with some nuts. Try dried apricots, cranberries, dates, figs raisins or sultanas to mention just a few!!
But although fruit is good for you, just keep an eye on portion size and make sure during the course of a day (and certainly over the course of a week) that you vary your snacks.
Nuts make a great Snack
Nuts, Seeds and Beans
These again represent snacks that are nutritious satisfying and portable. Pecans, walnuts, peanuts, almonds or brazils are super snacks. Many nuts contain fat so they are satisfying but do watch the portion size. With nuts make sure you select your portion BEFORE you start eating or you can find a whole bag disappears. They are brilliant teamed with some fruit – fresh or dried. Check out some of the favourite snack options below.
Seeds and beans can also be a great ‘nibble’, pumpkin seeds or edamame beans or toasted chickpeas are packed full of goodness, are very tasty and easy to take with you wherever you may be going. Sometimes knowing you can have a handful of nuts, seeds or beans will stop you reaching for something less nutritious and more fattening.
Crudites are a great snack
Carrot sticks, celery, cucumber sticks, and cherry tomatoes are all easy to carry and great to munch. You can enjoy them on their own but as they are naturally low calorie try teaming them with a spoonful of hummus or some cottage cheese or cream cheese (beware of quantities with cream cheese) for a snack that is nutritious and filling and will certainly see you through to you next meal. If you eating your snack away from home make sure you store anything that should be chilled in a cool place.
Smoothies can be filling
Some people feel that a drink can never be a snack but I find a latte or hot chocolate very satisfying, especially on a cold day. Generally I choose skimmed milk and unless I am making my own I would check the calories before I make my drinks choice. With smoothies the same applies they can be nutritious and filling but make sure you choose a smoothie that doesn’t have added sugar and is not laden with chocolate or cream.
Red berry smoothie is one of my favourites - simply whizz some red berries add some milk (skimmed works well) and enjoy - you can alter the consistency to suit yourself.
Oatmeal, which you can now buy ready just to microwave can be another satisfying snack especially teamed with some fruit. But other cereals can also be good and some cereals can be eaten dry much like you would a biscuit, a few cheerios or mini wheats can be easy to carry and enjoyed during a coffee break but do check the nutritional information on the pack.
Homemade popcorn can be a great snack. It is quick and easy to make and if sprinkled with just a small amount of sugar can make a great snack that feels indulgent.
Popcorn Makes a Super Snack
Favourite Snack Como's
Remember to limit portion size usually to a handful; but checkout suggested portions on http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/5ADAY/Pages/Portionsizes.aspx
- Grapes and walnuts
- Apple with 2 thin slices cheese
- Apricots and pecans
- Raspberries with tablespoon Natural yoghurt or quark
- Oatmeal with blueberries
- Melon with a slice of lean ham
- Cottage cheese with pineapple
- Almonds and olives
- Olives with feta
I would generally aim to keep a snack to about 150 calories but it really does depend on your overall eating programme. Seeded flat breads can be teamed with lean meat, smoked salmon, tuna or hummus and maybe a tomato or some cucumber slices to make a snack that can feel like a light lunch.