by Nicole Carey APD AN
It’s 3pm in the afternoon and you find yourself rather peckish, whether this is because you didn’t eat enough for lunch or perhaps you’re bored and looking for something to do. Does this sound like you?
In order to keep our metabolism happily ticking over and burning fuel for energy we need to eat every 3-4 hours. By doing so we are providing our bodies with a constant supply of blood glucose, our brains preferred source of energy but also what our cells and tissues require to function efficiently.
Now I know what you’d all prefer to eat as a snack between meals, something sweet, fatty and most of all tasty like chocolate, cake, cookies and chips. Although these foods gives us an instant “pick me up”, unfortunately you’ll soon find that your energy levels plummet soon after.
Snacks can of course be healthy and by being smart you can help curb your hunger, reduce the amount you eat at main meals and most importantly give your body the fuel to go, go, go!
Here are my top tips:
- Make every mouthful count! Choose nutrient dense snacks instead of those full of sugar, fat and salt
- Combine a protein and a carbohydrate containing food to keep you feeling fuller for longer, suggestions include fruit and yoghurt, peanut butter sandwich/crackers, dried fruit and nuts, fruit smoothie with low fat milk and yoghurt, boiled egg and crackers etc.
- Before you have something to eat have a drink of water, make sure you aren’t thirsty rather than hungry
- If you’re going to have a chocolate or sweet treat choose a snack size instead of opening up the whole block or packet
- Have a stash of healthy snacks at work to save you from grabbing the fundraising chocolate or heading for the vending machine
- Finally, remember your core foods groups. Plan ahead and select a variety of foods and fluids from the 5 core food groups – breads & cereals, fruit, vegetables & legumes, lean meat and alternatives (including eggs and nuts) and low fat dairy
Nicole is a clinical dietitian at the Canberra Hospital and is an accredited practising dietitian. She is an exercise fanatic who loves good food and nutrition.