Sure it may look healthy, but that snack you’re having come the 3 ‘o’ clock slump can be deceiving.
Here, qualified Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor Melissa Fine tells us the dos and don’ts of snacking, so that you can make better choices between meals.
Don’t…order a large, or you’ll end up slurping down a meal’s worth of kilojoules. Also watch out for ingredients like ice cream and sugar laden yoghurt, which cafes often sneak into smoothies without you realising.
Do…customise your order; a smoothie can be a great snack provided you’re in control of what goes into it. Opt for a small size with berries (one of the lower sugar fruits), unsweetened yoghurt and milk.
Many juice bars and cafes are hopping onto the green smoothie train, another healthy option which you can also easily make at home if time permits; For a snack-sized smoothie, blend a big handful of spinach with half a frozen banana or a handful of berries, 1/3 cup milk of choice, a teaspoon of chia seeds and five ice cubes.
Don’t…eat them plain, or you may end up eating half the packet.
Both white and brown rice have a high GI and when puffed, are a bit like chips – easy to overeat.
Do…eat a couple of thin wholegrain brown rice cakes with a satiating, protein-rich spread, like two teaspoons of almond butter or a dollop of cottage cheese, so you’ll register that you’re full and won’t just feel like you’re eating air.
Don’t…order the largest size possible, because it’s ‘just fruit’. While fruit is full of fibre, vitamins and minerals, two cups worth in one sitting may cause your blood sugar to quickly rise and fall, so you’ll be looking for another snack half an hour later.
Do…have just one piece, or half a cup of fruit for a snack; Pair it with half a cup of unsweetened natural yoghurt for some protein and staying power. Lately I’m loving fresh passion fruit pulp with my yoghurt.
Don’t…buy a brand with an ingredients list longer than your arm, half of which you can’t pronounce.
This generally indicates a highly processed snack food that is full of additives, high in sugar and low in nutritional value.
Do…stick to brands where the ingredients list is short and sweet, containing foods you’re familiar with. A good-for-you snack bar should contain nothing but things like nuts and seeds, coconut, dried fruit as the only form of sugar, spices and perhaps some oats – that’s it. You’ll find bars that fit this profile at your local health food store or in the supermarket’s health food aisle.
Don’t…let your eyes be bigger than your stomach and order a large. The blood sugar stabilising fibre from fruit and vegetables is removed with juicing; you’ll get a blood sugar spike, especially considering the amount of fruit and veg that goes into your juice.
Take a standard carrot, apple and ginger juice; this may contain the juice of at least three carrots and three apples, which you wouldn’t eat in one sitting.
Do…buy the smallest size and pick a combination with mostly low in sugar green vegetables (like kale, spinach, celery and cucumber) and just a little bit of the sweeter vegetables (like beetroot and carrot) or fruit.
If I’m ordering a fresh juice, I’ll get a green juice with just half of an apple or two slices of pineapple.
Find your stomach grumbling not long after you’ve slurped down your juice? Try pairing it with a handful of raw nuts and see if you feel fuller for longer.
Yes this is a snack, unless you’re drinking it black…it’s easy to forget that beverages contain kilojoules too.
Don’t…get a large or blended coffee, loaded with sugar, syrup or cream. Coffee made like this is really a kilojoule laden dessert.
Do…try replacing the sugar in your coffee with stevia (a plant based, kilojoule and sugar free sweetener) or coconut sugar, if you’re used to having your coffee sweet.
Although still a sugar, coconut sugar is far less processed than white sugar and has a lower GI.
Even better, try weaning yourself off the sweet stuff by halving the amount of sugar in your coffee for one week, then halving it again, until you have it down to a smidgen or even none. You’ll be surprised at how well your taste buds can adjust.
Feel free to share your healthy snack ideas in the comments below!