The phrase ‘If you’re hungry, eat an apple’ is one that many of us would’ve heard as kids growing up – and for good reason. Healthy foods such as fresh fruit, veggies and nuts are nutritious snack choices, especially when trying to lose weight, but what do you reach for when the fruit bowl is empty or you’re out and about and in need of a quick bite?
Unfortunately, packaged snack foods have a pretty bad reputation. Many quick-and-easy options, such as biscuits, crackers, crisps and chocolate bars, are laden with kilojoules, which can quickly sabotage an otherwise healthy diet. Plus, that tempting taste combo of sugar, fat and salt creates a moreish mouthful that makes it hard to stop at just one bite/handful/row.
However, there are times when hunger strikes and we need a convenient, on-the-go nibble. The good news is there’s a growing number of healthy snack foods at the supermarket to help with your weight loss endeavours.
To become a savvy snacker and keep the weight from creeping up, follow these tips:
CHECK THE LABEL
The nutrition information panel on the side or back of the pack will tell you more about the product than front-of-pack marketing claims. Choose a snack that’s no more than 800 kilojoules (about 200 calories).
FILL UP ON FIBRE
High-fibre snacks will fill you up faster and keep you satisfied for longer, meaning you won’t be back for seconds. Look for packaged foods with more than three grams of fibre per serve, such as oat-based muesli bars, mixed nuts, wholegrain crackers, or unsalted popcorn.
WATCH THE SUGAR
When sweet cravings strike, a piece of fruit often won’t quite hit the spot. But that doesn’t mean you have to reach for chocolate either. Fruit and nut muesli bars, flavoured fruit yoghurt and dried fruit bliss balls all provide a pleasant hit of natural sweetness, as well as other nutrients such as fibre and bone-building calcium.
KEEP PORTIONS SMALL
A snack is a between-meal bite, not a small meal, so watch your portions. If you can’t stop eating until the packet’s empty, opt for small satchels rather than big ones. Or, stock up on mini containers or zip-lock bags and divide your bulk-buy items into single serves.
Stash a couple of healthy snacks, such as high-fibre muesli bars, air-popped popcorn, trail mix or cans of tuna, in your handbag or desk drawer. Planning ahead also means you won’t find yourself buying a bag of potato crisps because you’re at the petrol station and it’s convenient.