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Most of us are prone to the odd snack or two. However, snacking doesn’t have to be bad if we stick to healthy options. As long as we eat a well-balanced nutritious diet and regular meals, the odd snack is not a problem. Check out these simple tips to keep your snacks on track.
If you skip meals, you’re going to be hungry and more likely to make bad food choices. Many of us skip breakfast and go straight for the morning coffee and muffin break. Café style muffins not only contain around 10 teaspoons of sugar, but more than a fifth of our recommended daily salt intake. If you’re still tempted, why not make your own, that way you know exactly what’s going into them. Savoury muffins are healthier – try our sweet potato and cheddar muffins.
Write a shopping list and stick to it. Don’t do the grocery shopping when you’re hungry – that way you’re less likely to fill your trolley with unwanted and unhealthy items.
Always read food labels – natural doesn’t always mean healthy. You would be surprised how many foods are high in fat, salt and sugar. Download a free app like FoodSwitch, which scans barcodes and gives the nutritional value of loads of foods. If you have kids, get them to help with the shopping. They can search for healthy alternatives using your phone.
Keep a supply of healthy snacks in your fridge and pantry. That way you’re less likely to graze on junk food. Try some small tubs of yoghurt, vegetable dips, wholegrain crackers and cheese, rice cakes, unsalted nuts or air-popped popcorn.
Always carry healthy snacks with you. This especially applies if you’re on the go. Keep a supply at work, school and even in the car for when you get hungry. Try to stock an interesting variety to avoid getting bored.
Get to know which snack foods contain hidden salt, fat and sugar. ‘Health bars’ are one of the main culprits. Don’t be fooled by advertising – a processed muesli, breakfast or energy bar contains around two teaspoons of sugar and a teaspoon of fat. A great alternative is to make your own – try our gluten free muesli bars.
Hint: be careful of products that claim to be low in fat – they may contain hidden sugars and are best avoided.
Make your own snacks using a mixture of fresh and baked ingredients. They don’t have to be complicated either. If you have children, get them to help make their own snacks for school. Experiment with new recipes, and replace your favourite snacks with healthy versions. Replace chips with homemade potato wedges or cut up some vegies and make a dip or salsa. Try our quick and easy avocado salsa. As you get better in the kitchen, you might like to share recipes with friends or make up your own.
Whether at work, school or at home, a bowl or a box of fruit makes a colourful and tempting display. You’re more likely to snack on healthy options if they’re on hand.
We know it’s tough, but potato chips, sweet biscuits and chocolate are high in salt, sugar, fat and kilojoules. Make them occasional treats, not everyday foods. Keep a check on how much you consume each week with Livelighter’s junk food calculator.
If you really want some of your favourite junk food, read the label and stick to one serve. Don’t eat the whole packet! Did you know a handful of chips contain around three teaspoons of fat? That’s the equivalent of a small meal! Remember, aim for two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables per day – eat a rainbow and your body will glow!
Many drinks on supermarket shelves contain hidden sugar, such as fruit juices. They push our sugar consumption well into the danger zone. Opt for water instead. If you’d like a healthy liquid snack, make a fresh fruit smoothie – it’s a great way to use up ripe bananas.
Are you hungry or are you craving? There is a difference. Most of us don’t listen to our body and overeat. If you’re eating for comfort and not hunger, try to be ‘mindful’ – recognise when you’re peckish and when you’ve had enough. Eat slowly and take time to savour your food.
How much of your budget is going towards snacks that are not nutritious? Take a challenge – try to dedicate a month to go junk food free and see how much money you save.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Better Health Channel
Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.
Page last reviewed: 20 Jul 2017
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