Walk down the supermarket aisles and it’s easy to get bombarded by the endless options when a snack attack hits – bars, biscuits, chips … the list goes on. A lot of the choices are also junk foods disguised as healthy options. So what the heck do you choose?
Snacking can be especially tricky if you’re trying to lose a few kilos. Not so great snack choices can be the difference between getting to the weight you want, and the scale not budging a gram. A lot of us tend to eat well for our three main meals, but fall off the wagon come snack time – you know, the 4pm ‘standing in the kitchen at work’ time, or the ‘after dinner watching a movie on the couch’ attack. The truth is, even if a snack seems small, healthy or almost virtuous, those calories can definitely add up over the course of a day or week!
The good news? When done the right way, healthy snacking can help keep your energy levels up, your appetite in check and fuel your workouts. Think of it as stoking your metabolic fire to keep it cranking and burning those calories throughout the day, especially between meals.
Which Healthy Snacks to Choose
With more snack options than you can poke a stick at, which are the best choices? 12WBT dietitian, Chantelle Curtis-Latchford, says first things first, step away from the snack aisle, then bring it back to basics.
Your best bet? Having a bottle of water and piece of portable, easy-to-eat fruit (think bananas, apples, grapes, mandarins) on you is a great choice for when hunger strikes. Throw them (carefully) in your bag when you leave the house so you don’t get caught out.
Chantelle also says high-protein healthy snacks will keep you fuller for longer and help with hunger pains, so choose some reduced-fat cheese and crackers, a tub of natural yoghurt (hold the sugar-laden fruit flavouring and mix in some fresh berries instead), or raw vegies like carrots, celery and snow peas with peanut butter or hummus for some crunch.
Movie munchies? Air-popped popcorn is a great way to get more bang for your buck – five cups of air-popped popcorn comes in at just 150 calories! Mish loves to spray hers with a little extra virgin olive oil spray for added flavour, but uses the three-second spray rule. No more than that or you’re adding excess calories.
Healthy Snacks on the Road
If you’re hitting the road for business or pleasure, being prepared will keep you from those service station temptations, particularly when there are little ones on board. Chantelle recommends making your own sandwiches or wraps before you go, and avoid the white bread sandwich varieties at the servo that have minimal nutritional value.
[Related: Download Michelle Bridges’ Free Wrap Recipes]
Other great (and family-friendly) choices to bring are healthy homemade muffins (pictured), muesli bars or individually-wrapped cheeses like Babybel. Don’t forget to pack a cooler bag with an ice brick to keep your water and food cold!