Are snacks always unhealthy?

Our dietitians explain how snacking can actually help you maintain a healthy weight and they also share their favorite snack recipes.  

Snacking tends to get a bad rap. Sure, a packet of chips won’t power you through your day, but nutrient-rich snacks can be an important part of a healthy diet.

In fact, eating regularly can actually help you maintain your weight as having  one or two light and healthy snacks between meals can mean you’ll be less likely to overindulge at mealtimes.

Chocolate O’clock

Most people experience an  energy slump in the afternoon linked to the brain’s circadian rhythm . This is when you’re most likely to crave some chocolate or a biscuit. Instead of ignoring your body it’s a good idea to have a healthy snack to sustain you and also help you meet your daily nutritional requirements.

Healthy snack ideas

If you’re short of time in the morning toss a:
  • Piece of fruit.
  • Can of tuna.
  • Tub of yoghurt.
  • Small container of nuts and dried fruit into your bag. 
Any of these options will help satisfy a snack attack.
If you’ve got more time why not set aside some time on the weekend to prepare wholesome snacks for the coming week. This way, you’ll have healthy snacks on hand when hunger strikes.
Some easy-to-prep ideas include:
  • Carrot, celery or cucumber sticks with homemade hummus or beetroot dip.
  • Savoury mini muffins.
  • Homemade muesli bars or oat and banana cookies.
  • Noodles and vegies in a jar (just add miso paste and boiling water when your ready to eat).

Need more inspiration?

Here are our simple  ideas for nutritious snacks. Try them when you want something a bit more exciting than your standard tuna on rice cakes.
Gemma’s Savoury Pikelets with Smashed Avocado and Fetta
Serves 4
1½ cups self-raising flour (wholemeal flour is a healthy option)
1 egg
1 cup milk, plus extra, if necessary
½ cup corn kernels, fresh or canned
1 avocado
50g fetta  cheese
Juice of half a lemon
Handful of basil
1) Make pikelets: place flour, egg and milk in a bowl; combine with a stick blender. Add corn to bowl and blend again to combine. (If batter is too dry, add a little more milk.)
2) Grease a large non-stick frying pan with a little butter and set over medium heat. Drop tablespoonfuls of batter into pan and cook for 2 minutes, or until bubbles form on surface of pikelets. Flip pikelets and cook for 1–2 more minutes, or until golden.
3) Make topping: peel and stone avocado; place in a bowl. Add fetta to bowl with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and mash with a fork, then stir in some basil.
4) Spread topping onto pikelets and serve.

Rosalyn’s Banana Ice-Cream
Serves 2
(You’ll need to freeze the bananas in advance.)
2 large ripe bananas
Toppings of your choice from the following:
Fresh or frozen berries
Cocoa powder
Desiccated coconut
Dark cocoa nibs
Peanut butter
1) Peel and chop bananas; freeze pieces in an airtight container.
2) Place frozen banana pieces in a food processor and blend until soft and creamy. (This may take a few minutes.)
3) Scatter banana ice-cream with your chosen toppings and serve.
Keep healthy snacks on hand so you have wholesome options when you’re craving a bite between meals. As you can see, healthy snacks can be easy and quick to prepare and can also be a tasty, nutritious and guilt-free part of your day.
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