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.
- To balance your blood sugar levels – this stops you for yo-yo dieting and craving sugar.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- To increase your nutrient intake – snacking helps you to 5 a day as well as other vital nutrients.
- Do not eat a snack if you really are not hungry – first drink some water and check – is it thirst or is it hunger?
- 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!
- A snack should contain some protein and fat and keep sugar low – this helps to balance blood sugars and aid weight loss.
- 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).
- 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.
What to snack on:
- Handful of berries with pumpkin seeds
- Apple wedges with nut butter
- Homemade cereal bar – my recipe
- Small tub of olives
- Hard boiled egg
- Energy ball
- Mini pot of hummus with vegetables
- A few nuts with a little dried fruit
Cereal Bars – Makes 12 bars
- 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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