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How to snack the healthy way


You need to find a way to snack on foods that help you meet your daily nutrition needs but also help to keep you fuller for longer.

When afternoon strolls on the beach have come to be replaced by regular strolls to the refrigerator, something needs to be done.

With the lockdown keeping the public away from gyms, beaches, parks and even their places of employment, we’ve all had to bear the brunt of physical distancing and its effects on our physical and mental states. 

Snacking, it seems, has become everyone’s go-to hobby replacement (apart from baking banana bread and vetkoek). Fortunately there are ways to indulge that won’t have you going down the very slippery slope of unhealthy snacking. 

According to registered dietitian Sumaiya Essa, “You need to find a way to snack on foods that help you meet your daily nutrition needs but also help to keep you fuller for longer.” 

Essa explains how to build a meal that will keep you satiated:

The amount of carbohydrates you can add will be dependent on what you’re fueling yourself for and the whole grain option will always be beneficial.

Choose high quality protein that will help promote satiety and also help you to reach your protein goals for the day. The amount varies between individuals but 10-20g would be a good place to start.

Foods that can help suppress your appetite have a high fiber content and come with a lot of volume e.g. fruit, veg sticks, salads – lower calories but more to eat.

Always choose a variety of options where possible to minimize taste fatigue and keep you interested in being healthy 

Television and junk food don’t mix

When it comes to TV snacks, they’re usually something that can be eaten right out the packaging like a bag of chips or pint of ice cream. This way of eating can be detrimental to your diet for many reasons. 

For one, there is no portion control.  But worse than that, even if you only intend on eating just a little bit, when your attention is split between bringing handfuls of buttery popcorn to your lips, and catching up on Grey’s Anatomy, you tend to eat more. Before you know it, you’ve reached the bottom of the bowl. 

Essa’s tips on how to build a healthy savoury snack:

Pick a healthy carbohydrate base e.g. low fat whole-wheat cracker (Provita), crackerbread, brown rice cake, small slice of low GI bread .

Pick a protein topping e.g tuna, salmon, reduced fat cottage cheese/cream cheese, boiled egg, baked beans. 

Add something with colour e.g. tomato, lettuce, cucumber, baby spinach, rocket. 

So you could do:

– Tuna and cucumber on rice cakes 

Cottage cheese, tomato & cucumber on whole grain crackers 

Baked beans on low GI toast

Salmon and low fat cream cheese with rocket on cracker bread 

Plain yogurt with some fruit 

Choose homemade

So if you’re looking for something crunchy and salty make some homemade popcorn. No, not the microwave one. Making it yourself will help you control the amount of fat and salt and make it a lower calorie option in comparison. Stick to about 3 cups popped as a serving size. Eat it slowly and savour the flavor…

If you’re feeling for ice cream or even something chocolaty, make some chocolate “nice cream.” 

Essa’s nice cream recipe:

Blend together:

4 ripened bananas (sliced and frozen)

1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

If you like it soft, then enjoy it immediately. Otherwise freeze for about 4-6 hours before scooping. 

The trick here is to hope that since you have to actually get up and make the snack, you may not feel for it as much as you did before.

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