Guilt-free snacks to leave you feeling satisfied. Lite n’ Easy dietitian Melissa Holloway shares her best healthy, dietitian-approved snacks to get us through the next snack attack and help us all become more mindful munchers.
New data has revealed that almost half of Australians gained weight during the COVID-19 lockdown. 50% of survey respondents stated they struggled with eating healthy meals and snacking too much during the lockdown.
Sometimes it’s easy to fall into a cycle of constant grazing. There was that muffin driving to work, the biscuit with a cappuccino before the 10 am meeting, a muesli bar, that piece of cake for a colleague’s birthday, and a bag of chips before dinner. And that’s if you’re lucky enough not to be in lockdown right now! As you see, mindless snacking can easily turn into a frequent occurrence. When you’re constantly eating, it’s easy to lose touch with your hunger signals and forget exactly what and how much you’re actually consuming.
A lot of the time, snacking has nothing to do with our hunger levels. Before reaching for a snack, assess whether you’re actually hungry, or whether you’re bored or feeling stressed. See if there is another way to deal with these feelings. If you give yourself the green light, I’ve included a list of quick healthy snacks that will help keep you feeling satisfied and still in control of your healthy eating goals.
Fresh fruit is a healthy, sweet snack that is great to ward off any sugar cravings and is packed with nutrients and vitamins. They’re also full of fibre, which is vital for gut health, and most fruit is naturally low in calories. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit can help ward off many lifestyle diseases.
Nuts are a great snack, especially when combined with portion control. Although they are high in fat (the good kind), they are full of other nutrients such as vitamin E, potassium and magnesium – just make sure you keep your serving size to a small handful.
Vegetables like carrots, cucumbers and celery go really well with healthy dips like hummus. This is a great option to bring to work, and it’s a tasty way to hit your daily recommended servings of veg.
Plain popcorn can be a low-calorie snack, as long as it’s not full of butter and added flavouring (like the kind you get at the movies). When popcorn is air-popped and only lightly salted, it can be a healthy, whole grain and high-fibre snack, plus it tastes so good it feels like you’re having a treat.
Cheese is another great snack option if we don’t overdo it. It’s full of protein, and when paired with wholegrain crackers or a piece of fruit, it can be a satisfying snack that will keep you full for longer.
As well as being a great source of calcium and potassium, yoghurt is also full of protein. Yoghurt is great if you feel like something sweet. Add some berries, or put it in the freezer then blend to create 'nice' cream, to satisfy any cravings.
If you enjoy the taste of tuna, it’s a healthy, high-protein snack to keep you satisfied. Enjoy it on some wholemeal crackers with sliced cucumber or tomato, or straight from the tin, whatever takes your fancy.
Sometimes it’s just that we want to nibble or sip on something, rather than genuinely feeling hungry enough for a snack. Brew some herbal tea, which can be enjoyed hot or cold. This can help take the edge off your cravings without the extra calories.