Luckily for us, nutrition expert Melanie McGrice is here to dispel the myths and dish up what you really need to know. Melanie McGrice is a Nutrition Specialist who helps people to improve their life, one bite at a time. She regularly appears on TV screens, writes for magazines and educates people on healthy nutrition and lifestyle.
What are the most common times we snack?
“I find that the most common time for snacking is mid-afternoon as there is such a long gap between lunch and dinner, however I see plenty of people who snack mid-morning and after dinner too.”
Why do our ‘snack choices’ often become unhealthy choices?
“If we plan snacks during our day, they definitely can be healthy. However, many people don’t plan to eat regularly enough, then they fall into the trap of scavenging to find something quickly when they are overly hungry. To avoid this, I recommend having something nutritious to eat every 3-5 hours.
Studies also show that stress and inadequate sleep can affect your appetite and hormones in such as way that your appetite is increased for sugar and fat sources and your ability to feel full is reduced. This makes for a bad combination if you want to avoid unhealthy snacking, so prioritise sleep and try not to let your stresses become overwhelming.”
What are the common snack cravings?
“Typically people will crave either sweet or savoury treats as their body is looking for a boost in carbohydrates for energy. Unfortunately, it’s too common for me to hear that people are snacking on biscuits, chips, pretzels, chocolates, toast or even a muffin to get them through the a slump.”
Your top six healthy snacks to keep hunger at bay
Fruit and dairy are great mid-meal snacks so they are on top of the list, but you can include foods from other core food groups as well. Tried and tested suggestions for healthy snacks can be:
1. Fresh fruit for glucose to give you energy and antioxidants to reduce the risk of cancer.
2. A small coffee latte has been shown to help reduce your risk of diabetes and will give you an energy boost.
3. A tub of yoghurt, which is low GI and high in good bacteria for gut health.
4. Vegetable sticks with tzatziki dip – tzatziki dip is a great source of calcium for strong bones.
5. 30g air popped plain popcorn which is high in fibre.
6. 30g mixed unsalted nuts which are an excellent source of protein to fill you up.
What are the best food groups to look for and why?
“It can be hard to meet all your nutritional requirements if you are only relying on three main meals, so planning healthy mid-meal snacks is a great way to improve your diet. Having small regular meals throughout the day can also help to regulate appetite hormones and blood glucose levels.
The best snacks that I recommend to my clients are fruit and dairy. They are convenient snacks that are high in fibre and/or protein, making them low GI to keep you satisfied. As you only have a small amount, these mid-meal snacks options aren’t too high in kilojoules and will fill you up enough to tie you over until your next main meal.”
Establishing a healthy meal plan at Priceline Health Tracker to save time planning and shopping is a great way to start. Do you have any other tips or advice?
1. Develop a healthy meal plan that suits your lifestyle. You can save time and money, not to mention the hassle of raiding the cupboard (or supermarket) in search of something to squash the hunger pangs. Visit www.priceline.com.au to download a meal planner to get you started.
2. Keep healthy snacks such as nuts, tinned fruit or yoghurt on hand to avoid you turning to chocolate.
3. Try to eat meals at the same time each day to train your hormones when to be hungry.
4. Similar to the way your body knows when to get up without the alarm, train your body to become more sensitive to your appetite hormones. You will then be able to get into a great routine and having small snacks in your diet will become a healthy habit.
This is a sponsored post by Priceline. All opinions expressed by the author are authentic and written in their own words. Read more about Melanie McGrice.