How to snack the healthy way

It's almost three o'clock and you're running on empty.

It's all systems go facing the school pick up, dash between getting Rebecca to netball and Ben to trumpet, while keeping little Maggie happy en route. What snack can you grab to stop the rumbling and breach the gap to dinnertime?

Snacking on the run often means grabbing whatever you can quickly, and regretting it later because you've undone that pledge to eat more healthily. But snacking doesn't have to be your downfall.

Thinking about snacking as a way to add more nutrients rather than just a ‘fill up' is a good start. Snacking can actually ensure you get some nutrients you might miss out on at mealtimes.

So what are the do's and don't's of snacking? What should you look for in a snack?

Here's a few tips from the Heart Foundation Tick to help you feel confident about making healthy choices next time you reach into the pantry.

Do's

  • When you're whipping up a salad for dinner, cut up some extra veggies and keep them in small containers in the fridge, that way you can grab a container on the way to the car and contribute to the daily five serves you need. (And it's amazing how kids follow your lead!).
  • Look for fibre - it fills you up and most of us don't get enough. The latest guidelines recommend women eat around 25g of fibre each day (which is the equivalent of 2 slices multigrain bread, 3 slices of pineapple, 1/2 cup peas, 1/2 cup broccoli, banana and a handful of raw nuts!).
  • Be aware of ‘healthy snack' claims. Look for muesli and cereal bars with the Heart Foundation Tick, as these varieties have meet rigorous standards for kilojoules, saturated fat and fibre. Uncle Toby's Fruit Twists were first to qualify and Ski D'Lite bars have been especially designed for women, incorporating three wholegrains, chunks of dried fruit, and have high fibre levels.

Don't

  • Don't choose high calorie non-satisfying snacks. You will be hungry again in no time at all. Grab a handful of raw nuts, a slice of low-fat cheese, or take two minutes to whip up smoothie with low fat milk, yogurt and fresh or frozen berries.
  • Don't forget to drink plenty of water - many hunger pangs may not be hunger at all, just your body telling you it is thirsty!
  • Don't skip meals - if you skip a meal you are more likely to crave sugary treats and eat way too much of them.
  • Don't be bamboozled by the hundreds of options on supermarket shelves. No need to spend your precious time pouring over nutrition panels just reach for the Tick and you can be assured you've made a healthier choice.

Most of all make snacking your friend - not the enemy, use it to fill the rumbling tummy with goodness rather than just food. Smart snacking can help you reach your two fruit and five veggie levels, easily ‘up' your fibre intake and help keep the metabolism running smoothly.

 
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