Our Guide to Smarter Snacking
We’re professional level snackers.
From apples to cakes we know what we’re talking about when it comes to nibbles in the office. We also know that most of the stuff we snack on isn’t that healthy, so we thought that we’d share some wisdom from Soraia, our team nutritionist, on how to snack smarter while at work. Grab a snack and have a read:
Snacks provide energy for your activities though the day and valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre. Snacks may also stop you overeating at the next meal by preventing you from becoming too hungry. On the downside, some snack foods can be a source of extra fat, sugar and salt, so choose wisely and keep portion sizes sensible.
Here’s a few tips on snacking in a smart way:
/ Think before you snack.
Keep in mind that snacks are not intended to fill you up, but to bridge you from one meal to the next. Eating just enough, but not too much, helps to curb cravings and reduces the chances of overeating.
On a scale of 0 to 10 (where 0 is starving and 10 is painfully full), try eating to about a 6 level, where you are comfortably full but not stuffed.
Snack mindfully (trendy word alert)… Don't eat your snack while doing something else — like surfing the Internet, or working at your desk. Instead, stop what you're doing for a few minutes and eat your snack like you would a small meal.
Snack if you are hungry, if it has been a long time between meals, or because you are planning an exercise session – not just because the food is there.
Try having a drink first – we often mistake hunger for being thirsty, so have a large glass of water and if you are still hungry after ten minutes, go for your snack.
/ Make the healthy choice.
So next time your stomach starts grumbling during a meeting or you're siting at your desk for hours in a row, what is a satisfying and healthy snack choice?
Your main focus should be on foods with protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates they will take longer to digest and therefore extend your energy!
What about crisps/chips, chocolates and sweets?
Candy and other simple sugars give you a quick burst of energy — but that boost fades quickly and can leave you feeling depleted and wanting to eat more. So to keep your energy up and steady, skip foods and beverages with added sugars, such as biscuits, regular soda or energy drinks.
It’s fine to have a small amount of these foods; the important thing is to get the overall balance right.
/ Check the label of packed snacks!
Most packaged foods have a nutrition label that can help you make healthier choices. Remember, values are usually given per 100 grams (g) but may also be given per portion or per pack. You may choose to eat a different amount to the portion listed on the pack, so use the values below per 100g to make a wise decision.
Look for these values:
Fat content 3g or less per 100g
Sugar content 5g or less per 100g
Salt content 0.3g or less per 100g
Snack Ideas _ 200kcal or less
Tri-color veggie snack: 6 baby carrots, 10 sugar snap peas (or green pepper strips), 6 cherry tomatoes and 3 tablespoons low fat cottage cheese
1 piece of fresh fruit (e.g. 1 orange, 1 apple, 2 kiwi) and 1 low fat/fat free plain yogurt (125g-150g)
1 to 2 boiled eggs and a handful of grapes (around 10)
1 light babybel or low fat mozzarella string cheese and 1 piece of fresh fruit
2 tablespoons of hummus or guacamole and mixed vegetables (cucumber, celery, cherry tomatoes)
3 whole-wheat crackers (e.g. “wasa” or “ryvita”) and one slice low fat cheese
Fruit smoothie: Blend 200ml low fat milk, ½ cup strawberries and ½ banana, and cinnamon to taste
Porridge - 3 tablespoons of wholegrain oats cooked in hot water, one portion of fresh fruit, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon honey.
Mini-sandwich: 1 thin slice whole-grain toast with 1 slice low fat turkey and a teaspoon of mustard.
One tablespoon peanut butter spread on slices of a medium apple
Low fat cottage cheese 3 full tablespoons, 1 piece of fruit or unsweetened apple puree
Three cups air-popped popcorn sprinkled with three tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 wholegrain “Weetabix” biscuits original (low in sugar) with low fat milk (200ml)
Snack Ideas _ 200kcal up to 300kcal for active adults and athletes
1 whole wheat pita bread cut into wedges with 2 tablespoons hummus for a dip
Yogurt parfait: Layer 150g fat-free yogurt, ½ cup berries and ¼ cup granola
Trail mix: Mix 20 almonds, miniature box of raisins, and ¼ cup sunflower seeds
Instant oatmeal made with low fat milk with 1 tablespoon honey, ½ cup sliced peaches and cinnamon to taste
Banana split: banana sliced length-wise topped with ½ cup frozen yogurt and a tablespoon of chopped nuts
4 wholewheat rice crackers with 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 1/2 sliced banana as topping
Sources of information:
British Dietetic Association
American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
American Heart Association
Soraia Agapito Pereira RDN (Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist)