By ROB HOBSON
Yogurts are often fortified with vitamin D to help assist with calcium absorption and promote healthy bones. Many also contain probiotics, which can provide the gut with ‘good’ bacteria to promote good digestion.
Dried fruit and nut bar
Check the calorie content on the nutrition label and try and try choosing a bar that is labelled amber or green for fats, salt and sugar. Dried fruit contains filling fiber, while nuts and seeds contain ‘good’ filling fats. 2 tablespoons of hummus with a wholemeal pitta
Snacks such as this that include fiber are a great way to help keep you feeling full between meals as this nutrient is broken down slowly in the body providing a ‘drip feed’ of energy. Fiber also helps promote good digestion and can help gut bacteria to flourish.
2 tablespoons of nut butter and chopped banana on rye crisp bread
Wholemeal breads and crackers can be topped with anything from canned tuna to fruit spread and are a great source of fiber. Bananas are good because they help add natural sweetness and are a rich source of B6 that is required to convert food into energy within the body.
1 small bowl (30g serving) of high-fiber fortified breakfast cereal (bran flakes) served with skimmed milk
A snack good option if you have eaten your evening meal quite early. Trying to sleep on an empty stomach can be difficult – but at less than 200 calories, as well as being high in fiber and protein, makes this the perfect option. Combining the carbohydrate with tryptophan in milk can help raise serotonin levels, which it’s been suggested may help with sleep. 300ml vegetable soup
Vegetable soups can also make a quick and easy filling snack loaded with key nutrients such as vitamins C, A, B6, magnesium and potassium. Adding pulses and beans adds extra protein, fiber and minerals such as iron.
Half a large avocado mashed with carrot and red pepper sticks
Snacking on fruit and vegetables is not only a great way to increase your five-a-day but these foods are also a rich source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that help to protect the body from disease, while being very low on calories. The avocado provides ‘good’ fat to keep you fuller for longer.
40g feta cheese and 2 oatcakes
Cheese is rich in protein and fats that help to keep you feeling full. Wholegrain oatcakes add fiber that helps slow down the release of sugar and B vitamins required for energy production in the body.
Banana and almond butter smoothie
This is a great post-training snack as it’s high in protein to help repair muscle tissues and contains a little carbohydrate to replace glycogen stores in the muscle ready for your next session. It’s also loaded with B vitamins for energy production in the body as well as electrolytes such as magnesium, calcium and potassium that help hydrate and may help prevent cramping.
Take 1 small banana, 200ml unsweetened almond milk, 1 tbsp almond butter, 1 pinch of ground cinnamon, 1 tsp honey. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blitz until smooth.
DESPERATE FOR SOMETHING SWEET?
To a lot of people, snacking means eating something a little sweet. But this doesn’t need to be unhealthy.
There are plenty of healthy sweet foods that contain much less sugar than chocolate, puddings, cakes and biscuits.
Fruit breads are a good option and delicious toasted. Dried fruit bars are really popular and are also rich in fiber and nutrients such as iron and magnesium. Dried fruit on its own is also a nice way to get something sweet and there are many interesting varieties such as mango and pineapple.
Granola with nuts, seed, oats and dried fruit can also make a tasty nibble, but again watch out for brands that add lots of sugar and that includes agave, honey and other natural sweeteners.
When nothing will do but chocolate then opt for a dark variety with a high cocoa content – ideally 70 per cent or more – for an intense chocolate hit and stick to a small serving of 15g, which is a few squares. Good quality dark chocolate tends to have less sugar and cocoa is rich in minerals and antioxidant compounds that are beneficial to health. TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT? GO FOR PROTEIN
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Losing weight is not easy and as part of many people’s programs they like to include a snack. Opting for something high in protein and low in carbs can help to promote satiety between meals, while having little impact on blood sugar levels that can stimulate appetite. If you’re going to include snacks then be sure to balance out other meals to fit in with a reduced calorie intake.
Boiled egg (6g)
Eggs are nutritional nuggets that are not only rich in protein but a source of many essential vitamins and minerals essential for health. You can boil them in bulk and keep in the fridge. Try flavoring with spices such as smoked paprika, cayenne pepper or celery salt.
Cottage cheese with sliced fruit and vegetables (10g per 100g of cheese)
Yes, it’s a little old school, but cottage cheese is low in calories and rich in protein, which is perfect as a weight loss snack. Serve with sliced fruits and vegetables such as apple, pear, nectarine, chicory, celery or red peppers to boost your micronutrient intake. High-protein snack bars (20g per bar)
These bars are a great option after training or when you leave the house in the morning and skip breakfast. Protein helps to keep you feeling full and assists with muscle repair and growth. Choose one that is low in sugar – look at the ‘traffic light’ nutrition labels in products – and some have the added bonus of being fortified with vitamins and minerals such as Healthspan Hilo bars (£8.99 for 5 bars). These are only 193 calories per 60g bar but contain 20g of protein – around the same as a chicken breast – and with flavors such as dark mint chocolate and caramel crunch, they will provide that sweet hit so many of us crave, too.
Rye crispbread with tuna mix (15g per one crispbread with half a can of tuna)
This is a great high-protein snack when your work schedule or other commitments leave a long gap between meals. A more substantial snack, this is still relatively low in calories and the protein and fiber content will have less impact on blood sugar levels that can stimulate hunger and fat storage. Combine tuna with a little plain yogurt and chopped or canned vegetables.
Wafer thin lean meats (16g per 4 slices)
High protein snacks are a great option mid afternoon, as anything rich in carbs can lead to blood sugar fluctuations that can stimulate hunger shortly after eating. Serve lean meats with sliced vegetables. You can really go to town on the veggies as they are low in calories and help to bulk out the diet and promote fullness.
Roasted chickpeas (9g per half can)
Legumes such as chickpeas are high in both protein and fiber that help to promote fullness between meals. Legumes are also a rich source of minerals such as iron, calcium and magnesium. Place the canned chickpeas in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil and a spice of choice (chili powder, curry powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin). Transfer to a baking sheet and cook in the oven for around 25 minutes at 180C.
DO YOU NEED A SNACK? TRY THE BROCCOLI TEST
When your mind starts to wander and nudges you to grab that packet of biscuits in the cupboard, try this quick and simple mind hack.
Imagine the biscuits are a plate of broccoli.
Now, do you still feel the urge to munch?
If so, you may well be physiologically hungry.
If the image of a pile of broccoli stops you in your tracks, check-in with yourself to see if you’re a bit stressed, bored or trying to escaping another emotion (e.g. frustration, sadness, longing or even positive emotions such as excitement).