Do you find yourself dipping into the biscuit barrel, reaching for the “charity chocolates” or mindlessly eating lollies while you work? If you do, you aren’t alone. I know what it’s like…you have an attack of the munchies, you are at work or out of the home and your next meal is a few hours away. Your energy is going down along with your mood. You might be busy trying to finish off some work or you might be feeling a bit bored. You need to eat something fast but if you don’t have something healthy nearby, you’ll be tempted by a chocolate bar, a cake or biscuits, another coffee or an energy drink, a packet of chips or lollies.
I spend a lot of time with clients working on their diet…what they eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks. I am a great advocate for variety. I believe the more variety of foods you can get into your day, the less chance of missing out on vital nutrients, getting bored with food or overdoing one food group to the exclusion of others.
If you don’t have the health and vitality you desire, one area we need to look at is your current diet.
I’ve written in other blogs about the importance of breakfast and provided some breakfast ideas to stimulate your imagination. Now it’s the turn of snacks. Snacks can be a useful nutritional addition to your diet or they can send you down the path of blood sugar dysregulation and empty calories.
7 Delicious and filling snack options largely based on fresh foods
If you’ve been in my clinic you will know I keep a jar of mixed, unsalted nuts on my desk. I mix them myself and take enough to work to last me about a week so they are always fresh. If you are on the go, keep some zip-locked bags or small containers ready to grab as you head out the door. Mix it up with some variety by including some walnuts, brazil nuts, macadamias, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds for starters.
Seeds and dried fruit
If you want even more variety with your nuts, throw in some pumpkin or sunflower seeds and (f you can tolerate them) a small amount of dried fruit eg. coconut flakes, sultanas, goji berries, apricots, apple, mango etc
Fresh or dried fruit
Have pieces of fruit ready to grab each day or take enough to work to last you the week so it is there when you need it. Apples, pears, mandarins or even a punnet of berries makes a delicious snack with good amounts of fibre. (Tip: try some sliced apple with a dollop of nut butter)
Dried fruit can work too. Just be careful about the quantity as the drying of fruit concentrates the sugar content. However a couple of dried figs, for example, can be very filling (and a great source of fibre).
A small tub of plain yoghurt (add some fruit if you want a little sweetness) will help fill you up.
Whole soy beans (which you peel like peas) are a yummy snack and they are portable and a good source of protein.
What about the good old hard-boiled egg (by itself or on crackers). Cook up a couple and they will keep in the fridge for a few days. Quick, easy and very filling.
Vegetable sticks with your favourite topping
Carrot sticks (or baby carrots if you don’t want the hassle of slicing carrots) with hummus. Try the different coloured carrots you can get now for even more variety.
Celery sticks with peanut butter (make sure it is the 100% peanut variety with no added salt or sugar).
Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list but hopefully it has sparked your imagination. Remember the aim is to vary and maximise your intake of nutrients (with the added benefit of avoiding the excess calories and sudden spikes in blood sugar that often come with the less healthy snack options). Yes, some of them may require a little bit of planning ahead (but not much). However, the little bit they lack in convenience they more than make up for in healthy, nutritional value.
If you have a favourite healthy, quick snack idea please share it in the comments below. I’d love to add it to the list. You can even try the recipes for muffins and chia puddings from my breakfast ideas blog. They would make great snacks too.
It doesn’t require too much effort to avoid the biscuit barrel or chocolate bar!
So, set yourself up with a few of these options and see how you feel at the end of a couple of weeks.