Snacking sensibly at morning tea, afternoon tea and/or supper, can help reduce the risk of being over-hungry and over-eating at your next main meal. Snacking helps keep your energy levels up, reducing irritability and fatigue. Lastly it’s a great way to grab some additional nutrients, such as calcium for bones.
When you are thinking about snacks forget about calories and think about what positive nutrients you are getting from the snack. For example:
- Fibre (bowels) – Fruit, trail mix, nuts, veggie sticks, hummus dip, nut bar
- Calcium (bones) – Yoghurt, grainy crackers & cheese, tzatziki dip, almonds
- Energy (brain & muscles) – popcorn, grain or seed muesli bar
- Magnesium (muscle cramps) – brazil nuts, dark chocolate, dried chickpeas
And sometimes it’s not just about nourishing your body – the taste buds need attention too. This is where a nice slice of cake, delicious scoop of icecream or chunk of chocolate comes in. It’s not absurd to allow a treat food every day, in fact it can be part of a healthy intake to have the variety. Whether it’s a few cheese and crackers with a glass of wine or coffee and cake with the girlfriends, being comfortable with ‘treat’ style snacks is important for social eating.
If you cut all treat style snacks you can miss out on those beautiful social eating opportunities or events, or you end up being the kid at the lolly table at a party – vacuuming every chocolate in because you don’t know how to sensibly consume treats.
If you are stuck in a low-variety cycle with your snacks or are avoiding fear foods, creating a snack challenge day once per week can be a great place to start. Pick either morning or afternoon tea (the least stressful time) and have a challenge snack ready.
To do this a few days in a row you may like to try snack bag challenges – plan out a variety of snacks for the week and pop the days worth of snacks in zip lock bags ready to go.
The dangers of an unplanned afternoon tea!
This is the time when most people get a dip in energy and head to the pantry to check out what’s in stock. Think through your afternoon tea and have a few options planned and ready to go. Have convenient options available to grab and go.
- Cheese and crackers – there are many pre-packed snack versions of these now some with fancy crackers, they are super convenient, however there is nothing wrong with some good old vitawheats with Coon or Bega slapped on it
- Corn crunch – savoury, great texture, nice and crunchy
- Salt & Vinegar Fava Beans – nice alternative to chips
- Salted chickpeas – ok, dry out your mouth like there is no tomorrow
- Mr Kipling mini cakes – available at most large supermarkets, a great way to introduce sweet fear foods, come in convenient single packages and a variety of flavours
- Raisin toast with butter – is there anything better than a few slices of this for afternoon tea with a cuppa after a long day?
- Homemade bliss balls (1 cup dried plump apricots + 1 cup cashew nuts + 2 tablespoons boiling water – blend in food processor, roll into balls, coat with coconut) –, can be made in bulk and then frozen, much more inexpensive than supermarket ready made alternatives
- Mixed nuts/trail mix – transports well and is good if you want something to pick at, small boxed convenient options available at most supermarkets
- Fruit –dried, fresh, canned, mix it up
- Yoghurt – there are soooo many options out there, my preference is for the full strength (non-diet) Greek yoghurt to which you can add whatever flavour or sweetness you like
- Hummus/tzatziki on crackers – they make hummus in every flavour now, the world is its oyster
- Big seedless Medjool dates stuffed with a nut butter – yum, pop them in the freezer to make them more caramel textured