Should you be snacking?

There are many that tell you to avoid snacking completely if you want to be healthy and lose weight and there are others who say do not go more than 3-4 hours without eating to help balance blood sugars.

Here’s my take on the reasons, when to snack and when not to and what to snack on.

Reasons:

  1. To balance your blood sugar levels – this stops you for yo-yo dieting and craving sugar.
  2. To keep your energy levels consistent – eating the right foods at the right times keeps your energy up as you are fuelling your body at the time when blood sugars start to dip.
  3. To stop you overeating at your main meals – by eating little and often you avoid the need for a huge meal, this reduces the load on your digestive system and avoids the post meal energy slump.
  4. To fuel your mental and emotional well-being – how do you feel when you are hungry? A little ratty!!?? Eating snacks helps to fuel your nervous system and brain.
  5. To increase your nutrient intake – snacking helps you to 5 a day as well as other vital nutrients.

Rules:

  1. Do not eat a snack if you really are not hungry – first drink some water and check – is it thirst or is it hunger?
  2. A snack is a small food, just enough to lift the blood sugars and give you an energy boost – it is NOT a meal and just because it’s something healthy doesn’t mean you can eat a whole load!
  3. A snack should contain some protein and fat and keep sugar low – this helps to balance blood sugars and aid weight loss.
  4. A snack should be eaten around 3-4 hours after a main meal – this is when the blood sugars start to dip and cortisol is produced (the fat storing hormone).
  5. It is best to eat a savoury snack in the morning and a sweeter one in the afternoon – the afternoon is the toughest period for blood sugars – think of the afternoon slump.

 

healthy-snacks

What to snack on:

  1. Handful of berries with pumpkin seeds
  2. Apple wedges with nut butter
  3. Homemade cereal bar – my recipe
  4. Small tub of olives
  5. Hard boiled egg
  6. Energy ball
  7. Mini pot of hummus with vegetables
  8. A few nuts with a little dried fruit

 

Cereal Bars – Makes 12 bars

cereal-bar

  • 200g porridge oats
  • 6 dried apricots chopped
  • 50g mixed seeds
  • 25g ground almonds (if nut free replace with 25g ground flaxseed)
  • 90g melted coconut oil (or use rapeseed oil)
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 tbsp. runny honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven 180C. Melt the coconut oil on a low heat. Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the oil, mashed banana and honey. Mix together and then transfer to a deep baking tray. The thickness should be around 2cm. Press mixture down with a fork and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden on top. Allow to cool and then cut in to individual cereal bars.

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Julie

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