When trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating healthily, snacking can be one of the hardest things to try and get to grips with. Snacking is part of everyday life and can be particularly troublesome to find something healthy when you are in a rush and haven’t planned or prepped anything in advance. Furthermore, advertising form big food manufacturers can make it seem that their sugar-filled snacks are actually healthy, this then just confuses us even more when trying to find a healthier snacking option.
So let’s try and take you through a few classic snacking options and try and come up with some healthier alternatives.
Chocolate Bars – The old classic is a chocolate bar. There is no real reason for snacking on chocolate bars or sweets, there are plenty of alternatives that are just as tasty and are much more beneficial for your health. Exchanging the chocolate bars for something like fruit, nuts or raw veg with a bit of hummus are much healthier options and will lead to much improved health in the long run.
Snack Bars – Snack bars are literally everywhere now, with companies trying to advertise them as being very healthy and a perfect snack. This could not be further from the truth. The key thing to avoid with snack bars is the high carbohydrate content, especially refined carbohydrates. Look for the bars with a higher protein and fat content which can come from sources such as coconut, hemp, nuts and seeds. Also, take care to avoid hydrogenated fats and vegetable oils. To help, one of the main things to look out for on the ingredients list is the first ingredients. This is because the list is usually arranged with the highest content ingredients first, so if you see high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils high up the ingredient list, then it is best to avoid that snack bar.
Some good snack bars:
NAKD Bars – Pureed fruit and nut bars
9 bars – Good, but contain some processed ingredients
Eat Natural Bars – Most widely available and probably the best option if out and in a hurry. Go for the bars with high nut and dark chocolate content.
Protein Bars – Protein bars, although tempting, should really be avoided. This is because they are pretty much processed chocolate bars with added protein to make you think they are good for you.
A good thing to try and do to avoid the trouble and hassle of finding a healthy snack bar is to make your own. This allows you to then know what exactly is going in to the bars, as well as being able to tailor them to your own individual dietary needs. You can really pack them full of good ness and nutritious foods. Another great thing about making your own is that you can then have some fun in the kitchen and learn some new skills with it. You can also get the kids involved to make it a bit more fun.
Yoghurts – Yoghurts can be a great, handy snack that is also filling. However, you should avoid the ones that say ‘fat-free’ or ‘only 50 calories’ or things like that. This is simply another marketing trick and is basically saying that the yoghurt is actually packed with sugar. It is best to stick with all natural greek yoghurt, then just add your own ingredients to make it a bit more interesting. Adding some berries or some nuts are just a couple of ways to really boost the health factor of your yoghurt snacks.
So this is a few of the more commercial snacking options, what other snacks are there?
Think or your snacks as just tailored down versions of you meals, in which you want to keep as natural and nutritious as possible.
Some good ideas:
- Raw vegetables
- Pre-cooked meats such as ham or chicken. Beef seems to have the least additives and preservatives.
- Nuts and seeds
- Boiled eggs
- Homemade smoothies
- Greens Powders
- Homemade kale crisps
- Protein shake
- Small portion of leftovers
I can go on for a while with more, but the main idea and concept is to keep everything natural and unprocessed.