There are a number of reasons why we may choose to snack, such as the lack of time or irregular access to ‘proper’ meals, making it necessary to snack constantly. Contrary to popular belief, snacking is NOT the greatest health sin! Instead, eating between meals can help meet calorie and nutrient requirements, especially for children, the elderly, or people with very active lifestyles. However, if you find yourself constantly reaching for unhealthy and traditional snack food void of nutrients (who can resist that packet of chips, chocolate biscuit sticks or cheese crackers, right?), then stop right there and read on for some healthier alternatives!
- Create snacks using ingredients you would normally use to make a meal! Stick to fresh vegetables, unprocessed raw nuts and fruits.
- Avoid conventional snacks such as chips, candy and even granola bars and store-bought cereals, that are mostly high in sugar content.
- Avoid unhealthy drinks such as soda and other artificially sweetened beverages.
- Only snack when you are hungry, not when you are simply bored or distracted. This helps you to pay attention to your portion size and not ‘over-eat’.
6 Simple and Healthy snacks
Snacking healthily is not as difficult as you think! All you need is to make simple lifestyle changes and keep your home stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables instead of the usual tidbits and chips! Out of sight, out of mind, right? Here are 6 healthy snacks you can try J :
- Grab a handful of unprocessed mixed nuts! Nuts (e.g. Almonds, Pistachios and Walnuts) help to decrease the risk of heart disease and overall mortality.
- Celery/Cucumber and Tuna Dip. Simply mix a can of tuna, some sesame oil, scallion and pepper to taste to make as a dip.
- Fruit Skewers. Simply pick your favorite fruits (Grapes, berries or even cherry tomatoes) and thread them onto a skewer to make a colorful and delicious snack for family and friends. (*Tip: Avoid using sliced fruit if you are packing them for later as they turn brown quickly
- Chickpeas. Remember these childhood favourites from the occasional ‘Pasar Malam’ in our neighbourhood? Good news! Chickpeas are high in fiber, decreases cardiovascular risks and better regulate our blood sugar. You can choose to steam, bake or add them into salads.
- Fruit Infused Water. This provides a much healthier alternative to the regular soft drinks! Simply choose your favourite fruits, slice them up and place them in your bottle or mug to let the flavour seep into your water.
Perks of Healthy Snacking:
- Prevents overeating during meals: Snacking between meals will control food intake during actual meal times and makes us less like to gorge down more than we need.
- Maintains your physical and mental energy: While snacking between meals will not rev up your metabolism rates, doing so will control the spikes and dips in blood sugar levels, thus helping you to maintain your energy throughout the day.
- Opportunity to work in another serving of nutritious food (e.g. good raw nuts, vegetables and fresh fruits)
Snacking should not be discouraged, as long as the foods ingested contribute to a healthy energy and nutrient intake. However, the portion of snacks consumed should also be taken into consideration. (Be careful not to turn your ‘snack’ into a full meal!) Instead of looking for tips to stop snack cravings, why not try snacking in a healthier manner when the hunger strikes between meals? Plan ahead, and snack mindfully for a healthier you J
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