Healthy snacking can be a fine art at times, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of grabbing the nearest sweet treat. Add to the mix all of the opinions on whether snacking is actually good or bad for your health, and that makes things even more confusing.
As with most things in life, not all snacks are created equal, but by choosing snacks that have good nutritional value, snacking has can have some benefits, including helping to keep you sustained for longer so you can make the most of your day. Read on to find out why and how to snack right!
WHY DO WE SNACK?
There are three key reasons that we are motivated to snack; hunger, environment and time, all of which contribute to the decisions we make when snacking (i.e. whether we do snack, and what we choose to snack on).
Reaching for foods high in fat and sugar is a behaviour many of us know all too well. According to a recent study on why we choose to eat ‘unhealthy’ snacks, hunger and temptation were shown to be the main reasons, followed closely by eating due to feeling fed up, tired, bored or stressed (emotional eating – been there!).
Snacking is a normal part of life for many of us, but mindless or emotional snacking (and eating) can be our downfall, while
BENEFITS OF SNACKING
There are so many positives and negatives of snacking, and we could spend days talking about them! But for now, let’s take a look at some of the main benefits.
Firstly, snacking can help prevent overeating at mealtimes by managing your hunger levels throughout the day. It can also help manage mood and concentration (and stop you getting ‘hangry’).
One of the other key benefits is that by having healthy snacks on hand it can prevent you from making poor food choices with excessive calorie intake. Avoiding those ‘sometimes’ foods that you often reach for when in a rush, and it enables you to choose healthier options for main meals as you’re not ravenous by the time you get there.
Some people believe that snacking can boost your metabolism. Sorry to break the news folks; According to an article in the British Journal of Nutrition, studies have shown that how often you eat has no effect on your metabolism.
It’s important to listen to your body and know when to snack and eat when you’re hungry rather than when you’re bored. When you snack or have a meal, we recommend mindful eating – the principle of focussing fully on what you’re eating without distraction. This helps your body fully recognise the food you’re eating, and studies have shown that it can help avoid overeating, aid in improved overall wellbeing, and can even have a positive effect on weight management.
To keep you fuller for longer and prevent yourself from choosing snacks that are a ‘sometimes food’, it’s important to choose options that are high in fibre and protein. Protein helps with satiety and helps keep hunger at bay for longer. Fibre also helps with satiety and helps you feel full with less food, not to mention that your gut loves fibre to keep it moving the way it should.
When creating our snacks we keep all this in mind as well as the Australian Dietary Guidelines (yes, we swear by them). Our Power Balls, Muesli Slice, and Smoothie Mixes are all made without added preservatives or refined sugar – we go all natural here! They’re packed with abundance of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds, all of which are filled with fibre, provide a great source of protein, and are nutrient dense. We also use other powerhouse ingredients like cocoa, which has a whole raft of nutritional benefits, which you can check out here.
THE 80/20 RULE
Obsessing over a cheeky guilt fuelled treat can cause us to feel guilty and develop an unhealthy relationship with food which can then impact our overall health. The 80/20 rule essentially encourages 80% healthy eating and 20% that’s not as strict – if you really really want a muffin with your arvo coffee, then have one! If you’re having a balanced then a treat every now & then will not be the end of the world, so you shouldn’t punish yourself over it!
Snacking in-between meals and listening to our body can help provide more energy throughout the day and curb your hunger. But it is important to ensure you snack right by choosing foods that are nutrient-dense and you sustained for longer.
Tell us in the comments what your favourite Dineamic snack is and what other options you would like to see added to the menu!