With the festive season around the corner, we tend to get a little slack when it comes to eating healthy. Unfortunately healthy snacking is the first thing that goes out the window, as overeating indulgent food kicks in.
According to Dr. Lisa Young, a nationally recognized nutritionist and public speaker, most people don’t just eat three meals a day without any snacks in between, so it is important to find what are the most balanced snacks to keep us going. “Snacking can be a great way to boost our intake of fruits and vegetables, and nutrients such as fiber, which so many fall short on,” Young says.
Here are a few of Young’s top tips for when you are feeling snacky.
- Eat real food
- Keep it portion-controlled
- Aim for a fruit or veggie serving
- Try to get some protein or fiber in your snack to help you feel full and stabilise blood sugar
Great Snacking Tips
Some great ideas to snack on during the day:
1. Hummus and veggies
Hummus and veggies make for a great snack. Here is a good chance to get a dose of colorful veggies, including carrots, red and yellow peppers. All veggies are great choices. Hummus contains a protein that will leave you satiated.
2. Greek yogurt with fresh berries
Greek yogurt makes for a great snack as it is a good source of calcium and protein. Choose the low-fat varieties that make this tasty snack relatively low in calories. Top it with your favorite berries for a healthy dose of antioxidants and fibre.
3. Low-fat or fat-free cheese and whole-grain crackers
Cheese and crackers can make for a healthy snack. The cheese contains protein and calcium while the whole grain crackers contain fibre which will help us stay full. A healthy portion is around an ounce of each. An ounce of cheese is one slice or if it is cubed, looks like four dice. Check the nutrition facts label on the crackers to see how many crackers constitute a one-ounce serving and be sure that the first ingredient is a whole grain (such as whole wheat, rye, or oats.)
4. Sliced apple with almond butter
Apples make for a great snack — high in fiber and low in calories. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of almond butter for a serving of good fat and fiber which will keep you full and help keep your hunger at bay.
5. Mixed nuts and (low-sodium) vegetable juice
This is a great snack if you are on the run. Low-sodium vegetable juice is filling and chock full of nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C. Nuts contain healthy fats along with some protein and fiber; just be sure to keep your portion to 1/4 cup serving or one layer of your palm.
6. Frozen banana and peanut butter
This is a yummy snack to keep in your freezer if you are craving a frozen treat. Peel a banana and spread it with peanut butter (no more than 1 tablespoon), place it in a baggie, and freeze. The banana contains fiber and potassium, and the peanut butter contains a serving of heart-healthy fats.
7. Air-popped popcorn
The great news about popcorn is that it is a whole grain, and unlike pretzels and chips, where a serving is one cup or less, a serving of popcorn is 3 cups. To avoid added fat and calories, stick to air-popped popcorn.