By Brydie Warren
Snacking is so often associated with a negative connotation, usually because when we snack we opt for the high fat, low nutrient content foods.
Snacking is all about creating healthy and creative alternatives so that when that snack-attack hits, you’re able to resist the urge to reach for those salty high fatty foods and enticed with your uber creative & appetising snacks.
The number one rule to stick by is to avoid extreme hunger, this will increase the unhealthy snacking choices, or overeating your next main meal, which is not ideal for your digestive system.
Avoiding hunger pains, means keeping your blood sugar levels happy and at bay, as blood sugar levels naturally take a dive a few hours post main meal. This can often throw your metabolism into famine mode, slowing right it down and making it that little bit easier for the weight to start creeping on when you reach for the poor nutrient dense snacks.
I like to think of food as fuel, a good example I like to remind myself of is the nutrient poor sugary snacks…like donuts, which act as a hot burst of energy that burns out quickly, leaving me cranky, hungry and no more satisfied than before.
Healthy, nutrient dense snacks are more like slow-burning fuel that helps to keep you sustained for longer periods of time. This means they should be high in protein and low GI helping to keep your blood sugar levels regulated, guarding against blood sugar highs and lows, leaving you much more satisfied and nourished.
Here are some creative snack ideas to help you get started:
1. Staying Hydrated
While this isn’t a ‘snack food’, I deliberately put this in because it is so important for you to remain hydrated. Love your water, if you’re not a fan, add some mint leaves, cucumber, lemon or fresh orange to give it some taste.
2. Raw Nut Mix
Unfortunately with the store bought mixed nuts, you don’t always get everything you want in the mix. Creating your own nut mixes means you can get creative and enjoy every last bite without leftovers.
By ‘Raw’, I mean you have access to all the nutritional goodies nuts have to offer, so try to avoid nuts that have been processed (smoked, roasted) or exposed to extreme heat which can cause them to oxidise and loose their B-vitamins.
Some yummy combos for you to nibble on mindlessly as you have a ‘zone out’ moment:
- Macadamias: Good source of Thiamin & manganese
- Almonds: Good source of protein & Vitamin E
- Pumpkin seeds
- Home made yoghurt drops
- Dark choc chips or cacao nibs
- Brazil nuts: High in fibre and selenium
- Pecans: Great source of fibre and antioxidants
- Cashews: Low GI rated nut (slow releasing source of energy)
- Air popped popcorn: Providing you with small amounts of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
3. Paleo Anzac Biscuits
These paleo cookies are a great source of protein, healthy fats and a small amount of fibre.
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup flaked almonds
1 cup organic desiccated coconut
1/4 cup Rice Malt syrup
1/4 cup Coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 tablespoon water
Combine almond meal, flaked almonds and coconut.
Combine honey and oil into a small pot and heat gently.
Mix the bicarb and water then pour into the honey pot and mix until it starts to froth.
Pour into the dry nut ingredients and mix through until combined. Add a little water if needed to combine which will help them stick together.
Bake in a low pre heated oven 120 C (248 F) for about 30 minutes until golden.
4. Boiled Eggs
Keeping boiled eggs on hand is a great way to stay prepared when it comes time for a snack. Eggs are a great source of protein and good fats, helping to keep your energy levels sustained for longer.
I like to sprinkle salt, pepper and chilli flakes on mine.
5. Handful of Prunes
These yummy dried fruits contain a high content of fibre helping to keep you fuller for longer. Three to four prunes contain around 2 grams of dietary fibre which will give you around nearly 10% of your recommended daily needs.
6. A Berry-licious Smoothie
A handful of berries will help to maintain a healthy immune system due to its high vitamin C content, reduce the risk of cancer from their high antioxidant content, improve your heart health with their high levels of anthocyans and boost brain health.
Try this smoothie for an antioxidant boosting snack:
1 cup mixed berries
1 raw egg
1 x Tbsp Maca powder
Half cup of your choice in milk (Cows, Almond, Coconut…)
Half cup of coconut water
1 x teaspoon of chia seeds
Snacking needs to remain in small portions. Not exercising portion control is often where we come unstuck, so try and keep your snacks to a moderate handful, glassful etc.