Snacks can be a great way to get over that 3pm slump and fuel us up until our next meal. It’s a great way to sneak in those extra nutrients, minimize sugar cravings, fuel us for workouts and minimize the risk of overeating later on. When our blood sugar levels dip (usually mid-morning or around 3-4pm), this can influence the type of snack we reach for. Knowing the right kinds of snacks can be tricky and this is where people tend to reach for that cookie, muffin or bar of chocolate. So where do I start? Here are some general rules to keep in mind when choosing your snacks.
1. Being organized is key – having the cupboards and fridge well stocked can ensure that we are choosing the right foods. A great way to stay organized is to allocate a day that you can ‘snack prep’ and make some homemade options. Bake some savoury mini muffins, muesli bars or low sugar fruit muffins, cut up some fruit (put into zip lock freezer bags to store), cut up some veggie sticks
2. The right time – knowing when to snack can be very individual and can depend on many factors. For most of us mid-morning and afternoons are when we become low in energy and start to feel peckish. Some studies recommend that we should refuel the body every 3-5hours to prevent blood sugar levels dropping too low. Choosing a snack which is a combination of protein, fibre and healthy fats is optimal.
3. Avoid the energy highs and lows – high sugar foods tend to take our blood sugar levels on a roller coaster effect. It feels great for around 20mins then we start to notice a big lull and energy dip. Caffeine can also do the same if we fuel ourselves up with 3-4+ cups per day. If you do reach for a treat, try to balance it out with something substantial so you don’t get tempted for more.
4. Focus on your 5+ a day – fresh fruit is the perfect, prepackaged snack. It can be taken to work whole or prepared as a mini fruit salad paired with a Greek yoghurt. Veggie options don’t have to be boring; you can pop them into a smoothie, cut up some raw sticks paired with a dip/nut butter or have a small portion of your lunch alongside a mini salad.
5. Optimize your hydration
With the summer months upon us its essential we continue to hydrate the body during the day, especially if we are out in the sun or engaging in physical exercise. Smoothies are a great way to increase our hydration as well as provide us with some essential nutrients and fuel. Try a greens smoothie with banana, spinach, coconut water and avocado or a choc berry blast with almond milk, cacao powder, blueberries, 2 dates and a banana.
6. Snack ideas:
· Dip and veggie sticks – An easy snack for the afternoon without too much fuss. Try our new Australian dips including Tzatziki, Babaganoush and Taramosalata or g/f Guacamole.
· Toddler snacks – Rice and quinoa wafers made by Bubs organics including fresh fruit, veggies coconut and hazelnut flavors
· Fresh soups – it doesn’t have to be a large bowl, but a small soup snack can get you through to dinner and pack in some more vegetables into your day. My favourite this month is ‘Celebrate Health’s’ pumpkin and sweet potato.
· Nut butters – added on your favourite wholegrain crackers or veggies sticks nut butters are full of essential fats and protein to fuel your afternoon. A good quality nut butter should include only nuts and salt, without the other added nasty’s like palm oil. Pic’s is a great New Zealand brand that produces high quality nut butters. Check out their range.
· Homemade popcorn with avocado or coconut oil is a great family snack option.
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