Snacking is big business in the UK and our choice of snacks can have a major influence over our waistline.  The savoury snacks industry in the UK alone is estimated to be worth £2,857 million.

When counting calories or regulating our eating we tend to concentrate on what we’re consuming for our meals rather than what we eat in between.  For example, a lot of people enjoy a biscuit or 2 with their tea or coffee – a biscuit can’t do that much damage… Can it?

If you enjoy a couple of milk chocolate digestives per day that’s equal to 9.8g sugar, which is just under a 1/3 of what your daily intake of sugar should be.  If you swap for a couple of plain digestives instead that will save 24kcals and 4.8g sugar.

Or…

  • Instead of 2x jaffa cakes which contain 12.8g sugar, which contains almost 1/2 of your daily intake, swap for 2x rich tea lights saving 20kcals and 9.4g sugar
  • Instead of 2x custard creams which 7.8g sugar, which contains about 1/4 of your daily intake, swap for 2x nice biscuits saving 3.8g sugar and 44kcals

A snack by definition is “a small amount of food eaten between meals.”  this description can be misleading as we shouldn’t be concentrating on the physical size of the snack alone… According to a study of 2,000 adults commissioned by the English Apples & Pears company the UK is troughing an average of 1,412 calories a day in sweet and savoury snacks between meals – that’s nearly 10,000calories per week just in snacks!

Snacking is good for you if you select the right ones.  Snacks can be an important element of your diet they can give you a boost during the day and replenish your energy post exercise.  Healthy snack choices can also keep hunger pangs to a minimum decreasing the risk of overeating at meal times.  The best advice is to only allowed healthy snacks in the house – if they’re not available you or your family can’t be tempted.

A common misconception regarding hunger is thinking you’re hungry when in fact you’re thirsty.  It’s always a good idea to drink a lot of water throughout the day, approximately 2 litres, more if you are exercising to keep hydrated, this also helps to keep you feeling fuller.

Healthy Fruit Snacks

Choose 1/2 – 3/4 cup of berries or a small whole fruit:

  • Apple
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • 1/2 Grapefruitl Orange
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Plum
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Other Healthy Snacks

  • 30 grams (small block or slice) of cheese.
  • 1–2 slices of lean deli meats such as ham (avoid salami or similar).
  • About 30g (small handful) of nuts – raw almonds, peanuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts or pistachio (go easy on salted nuts and avoid any coated nuts).
  • A tablespoon of low fat natural yogurt with fruit such as berries.
  • Carrot and/or celery sticks with cream cheese or a low fat dip.
  • Cheese slice and a pickle wrapped in a slice of ham.
  • 4 Olives with cheese and ham.
  • Small tin tuna in water with lettuce, spring onion and low-fat mayo
  • Slice of smoked salmon spread thinly with cream cheese
  • Grilled mushrooms topped with cheese and herbs Low-fat yogurt (plain or flavoured)
  • Hard boiled egg

So, what should you look for when hunting for healthy snacks? Your snack of choice will be high in nutritional value with lots of vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre and usually low in fat (total and saturated), sugar, sodium (salt) and calories.  High nutritional value comes in for foods such as nuts as they are high in calories and fat but are crammed full of  of really good nutrients making them a healthy choice – just be mindful of the serving size.

To make healthy snacking easier it’s a great idea to prepare your snacks and take them with you when your out and about – so invest in some good reusable tubs and resealable bags to keep your snacks tasty and fresh while going about your day.

Snacks To Avoid

An unhealthy snack everyone in a while will not do a lot of damage but having these snacks day in, day out all adds up.  it is also important to make sure you observe the serving / portion instructions that are detailed on the packet.  If not you may be consuming a lot more than you realise.  Snacks with high sugar or fat content should be avoided, such as:

  • Fruit in syrup
  • Regular crisps
  • Chocolate
  • Biscuits
  • Coffee, with cream, marshmallows & syrup
  • Donuts – even the mini ones!
  • Cakes
  • Pastries
  • Snack pies – such as pork pies
  • Regular Ice-cream

Not-so-healthy snack choices like those listed above are typically high in fat (total and saturated), sugar, sodium (salt) and calories but are lacking in nutritional value.

The Celebrity Slim ‘Trim’ phase encourages healthy snacking throughout the programme to keep you fuelled and feeling good during your day.

 

Source: SNACMA  , Diabetes UK , Web MD

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