Snack Smart: bitesize tips for healthier snacking

The apple or the chocolate muffin? If you find that a tough choice then read on. Our tips on smarter snacking will keep the taste buds titillated but the bulge at bay.

The $374bn we spend each year on snacks is piling on the excess weight and causing Type 2 diabetes. We need to arm up against the snack attack. Anybody who tells you that you just need to swap your tasty treats for a carrot isn’t living in the same reality as me. Its way harder, way way harder. Here’s my tips:

TOP TIP: If you do one thing do this, make sure your main meals are full of protein, good fats and a few wholegrains. If you eat a meal high in refined carbs you’ll be hungry and a little fatter two hours later. Protein and good fats digest more slowly and release their energy at a steady rate which suits your metabolism.

  1. Plan: after breakfast plan what snacks you are going to have for the rest of the day; then

  2. Pre-portion your snacks. Take only what you need with you. If you take the whole pack you’ll eat too much. I suggest you portion up into little pots after breakfast, put them in your bag and you’re set for the day.

  3. Avoid temptation: bring or buy those snacks in advance, never go to the store hungry or mid-craving or you’ll buy twice as much and still eat it.

  4. Quench: Feeling hungry? Have a large glass of water and wait a few minutes. Still hungry, then have a snack, chances are you’ll still eat less

  5. Timeout. Sometimes we simply snack because we’re bored. So do something else, get up from your desk, take a short walk, think on something not work related and just step out of the now for a few moments.

  6. Just go to bed. Try and avoid those bedtime snacks, really, you don’t need them. Brush your teeth, go to bed and save the calories. Try for a clear 12 hours overnight between your last mouthful and your first in the morning. The longer the better, give your body a chance.

  7. Mindful munching. Stop and savour your snacks. Smell them, take small bites and enjoy every last morsel in your mouth. We tend to switch off and shovel; we don’t really notice the food and subconsciously eat more.

  8. Snack free homes. Where possible keep your house snack free. There is nothing like a massive multipack or half open pack of biscuits to get you grazing.

So what to snack? I’ll not lie I’d rather snack on a donut, but I’d rather not have diabetes, so here are my top snacks:

Nuts: Simple nuts, try and avoid salted and totally avoid anything sweetened such as honey nuts. The danger with nuts is you can easily munch through a bag so pre-portion and eat one nut at a time.

Dark Chocolate: If like me you hanker for chocolate reach for the dark stuff. Darker the better and look for something below 20g sugar per 100g. It’s a big switch from milk chocolate, but persevere, it gets better. If like me you’ll snack to the end of the pack then try and avoid those big 100g bars, buy the smaller ones, eat each square individual and let it melt in your mouth.

Berries: berries are a superfood, and they taste amazing. Blueberries are outstanding good for you, strawberries smell amazing and blackberries you can pick yourself.

If you really want to go crazy try melting the dark chocolate over the berries......

Berries and nuts are a little pricey, but really not much more than the snacks you’re buying already. Most importantly fighting the urge to snack will just be a willpower battle you’ll eventually lose. You need to retrain you brain, recondition your thinking and put yourself in control of your food. Happy snacking.

Also in this series:

Snack Attack: how snacking is making us fat

Snackify: how advertising conditioned us to snack.

#snacking

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