During spring it’s not uncommon to feel a need to lighten up your diet or give it a bit of a spring clean. While on this topic, an area, which many people start to reassess or hope to make change in, is their snacking habits!
There are a lot of myths and differing opinions around whether snacking is ‘healthy’ and snacking is often associated with guilt or indulgence.
If you have been questioning your current snacking habits and whether its working for you, to help answer this, I encourage you to consider the below few factors:
- Personal preference – what works for one, doesn’t work for all! This is key when it comes to nutrition and most facets of health. If you feel most energised and satisfied when including snacks in your daily diet, then there is no reason to change this routine just because you may have heard otherwise. On the other hand, if you feel best when eating 3 square meals per day, keep going!
- Quality counts – just like main meals, snacks are another opportunity to add nutrients to your diet. This means it’s important to choose nutrient dense foods to consume as a snack, most days. Leave snacky type foods such as chips, biscuits and chocolate for special occasions or for when you truly feel like them and can joy them mindfully. For the remainder of the time, choose snacks, which include foods rich in complex carbohydrates, fibre, lean protein, healthy fats, vegetables, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- Are you truly hungry or bored? Snacks have a reputation of being used to banish boredom or even be an excuse to step away from the computer. This doesn’t serve as a reason to have a snack. Instead, for most people, snacks should be used to quash hunger, provide energy, stabilise blood sugar and add nutrition to your diet. Next time you are unsure whether you need or want a snack, ask yourself, are you truly hungry or bored?
- Has my snack become a mini meal? – do you find that after eating a snack, you feel incredibly full and it ruins your appetite for the next meal? This may mean your snack has become the equivalent of a meal or mini meal. Scale it back to find the right balance between satisfied and overly full.
- Is skipping snacks leading to overeating? – on the flip, have you found that you arrive at mealtime excessively hungry and cannot eat enough? This likely means you may benefit from adding a small snack around 3 hours between meals.
If you have decided snacking works for you, here are 3 new ideas to add into the mix!
Chocolate Almond Cookies
These cookies contain a good source of fibre, complex carbs and healthy fats to help keep appetite in check and offer a sweet treat without the blood sugar highs and lows! Store in an airtight container for 1 week.
Serves: 20-30 cookies
Pre: 10-15 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
2 cups wholemeal flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
1 ½ tbsp. maple syrup
½ cup almond butter
1 cup hot water
½ cup cacao or raw dark cocoa
¼ cup cacao nibs
Additional flour for rolling
Preheat oven to 180C.
Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl whisk the almond butter, maple syrup and hot water until well combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir through the cacao nibs.
Knead all ingredients together until a firm dough forms.
Take tsp measures of dough and shape into rounds, place on a lined baking try and push down using the back of a wet fork, repeated with remaining dough.
Place the cut cookies on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake for 25 minutes. Cookies can cool on the baking tray or on a cooling rack.
Spiced Beetroot Dip
The dip works well with vegetable sticks, seed cracker or rice crackers. Once made, store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
3 medium beetroot, peeled and roasted, let cool slightly
3 tbsp. tahini paste
2 tbsp. pine nuts
1 tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. sumac
¼ tsp. cumin, ground
¼ tsp. cinnamon, ground
extra virgin olive oil, if needed
salt and pepper, to taste
Place beetroot, tahini, lemon and spices in a food processor/blender and blend until smooth. Add extra virgin olive oil if needed and season to taste.
Tip: to cook the beetroot, peel, dice, wrap in alfoil and roast in the oven at 180C for 30-40min until tender.
Wholegrain crackers are a popular snack choice amongst many and can be an incredibly balanced option, if the right toppings are used! If you are bored of the standard cheese + tomato, vegemite and peanut butter and are looking for a little more excitement, try some of these suggestions:
- Beetroot dip (recipe above), feta cheese and sauerkraut
- Beetroot dip (recipe above), avocado and toasted nuts/seeds
- Tahini paste/hummus, tomato, avocado and sauerkraut
- Cashew butter or soft goats cheese, grated carrot and crushed walnuts
- Cheddar cheese, sundried tomatoes and avocado
- Pesto, hot smoked salmon and cucumber
- Crushed cannellini beans, avocado, tomato and sprouts
- Cashew butter, sliced pear and walnuts
- Leftover roasted pumpkin, cottage cheese/feta and sundried tomatoes