Most of us can probably remember being told as we were growing up that eating in between meals was bad for us, but in fact many nutritionists now believe that eating little and often – three main meals with small healthy snacks in between – is a much healthier way of eating. Regular snacks can help keep blood sugar levels stable and help avoid the energy lows that many of us experience mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Studies have also shown that eating regularly will help reduce the risk of overeating at meal times and can help with weight control.
Eating for health
Think of your body as a car engine that needs regular maintenance checks and fuel to keep running – eating little and often is the best way to ensure that you get the best performance out of it. Of course it’s not just how often you eat that can effect your performance – just as the type of fuel you use in your car will effect the engine’s performance, the type of fuel you choose to put into your body will have a big impact on your health and vitality. A healthy diet can protect against diseases such as heart disease and cancer; increase resistance to colds and other infections; boost energy levels; help combat the stresses of modern living and improve physical and mental performance. When it comes to snacking it’s important to choose your snacks carefully. Many snack foods are high in fat, sugar and/or salt and lacking in fibre and vitamins and minerals – which can obviously lead to an unbalanced, unhealthy diet.
Check out our guide below for a selection of low fat, nutrient rich snacks.
5 Step Plan to Healthy Snacking
- Don’t fall victim to the snack attack. Plan snacks at regular intervals throughout the day – mid-morning and mid-afternoon. If you allow yourself to get over-hungry you’re more likely to end up grabbing an unhealthy snack or overeating at your next meal
- Plan ahead and make sure your fridge and cupboards are stocked with plenty of healthy snacks
- Don’t use snacks as a substitute for proper meals. Plan regular snacks at set times rather than constantly grazing throughout the day
- Make sure the snacks you choose contain more than just calories. Snacks should also provide nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals
- Variety is one of the key ingredients in a healthy, well-balanced diet – try to vary the snacks you choose
- Choosing snacks with a low Glycaemic Index (GI) will help avoid surges in blood sugar levels
Healthy Snack Guide
- Breakfast cereals – most breakfast cereals are fortified with a range of vitamins and minerals making them a healthy choice whatever time of the day you choose to eat them
- Tropicana Smoothies – a combination of pure fruit juices and low fat yogurt with added vitamins and minerals. An ideal snack for topping up your vitamin and mineral intake
- Ready-to-eat dried fruits – provide a concentrated source of energy plus vitamins and minerals and dietary fibre. Look out for the small pocket size packs that are ideal to keep in the glove compartment of your car, handbag or desk at work
- Low fat yogurt – one pot of yogurt provides over one third of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Choosing a ‘bio’ yogurt containing probiotic ‘friendly’ bacteria will help maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut and will keep your digestive system healthy
- Wholemeal muffin – a useful source of insoluble fibre, which can help keep the digestive system working efficiently
- Low fat cereal bar – not all cereal bars are as innocent as they look – some are high in fat and contain lots of sugar so it is worth checking the nutrition information on the back of the label before you buy. Choose a bar that contains around 150cals and no more than 5g of fat
- Fresh fruit – rich in vitamin C, potassium and phytochemicals that help protect against cancer and heart disease
5 day Healthy Eating Plan
|Day||Breakfast||Mid Morning||Lunch||Mid Afternoon||Evening|
|1||Glass of Tropicana fruit juice. Fibre-rich breakfast cereal with semi-skimmed milk||Tropical Orange Tropicana Smoothie||Bowl of vegetable soup with wholemeal roll. Low fat fruit yogurt||Two rice cakes topped with mashed banana||Grilled salmon fillet, new potatoes, steamed broccoli and green beans. Fresh fruit salad|
|2||Glass of Tropicana fruit juice. Fibre-rich breakfast cereal with semi-skimmed milk||Low fat whole meal muffin||Hummus salad sandwich made with wholemeal bread. Small bag of reduced fat crisps. Two kiwi fruit||Strawberry Tropicana Smoothie||Griddled chicken breast with roasted vegetables and couscous. Fresh strawberries with Greek yogurt|
|3||Glass of Tropicana fruit juice. Fibre-rich breakfast cereal with semi-skimmed milk||Low fat cereal bar||Salad Nicoise. Low fat chocolate mousse||Mixed Berry Tropicana Smoothie||Stir-fried beef with vegetables. Crème caramel|
|4||Glass of Tropicana fruit juice. One slice of wholemeal toast spread with two tsp peanut butter||Low fat yogurt with one tbsp of sugar-free muesli||Jacket potato with tuna and sweetcorn. Banana||Tropical Orange Tropicana Smoothie||Chilli con carne.Green salad.Fresh pineapple|
|5||Glass of Tropicana fruit juice. Fibre-rich breakfast cereal with semi-skimmed milk||Strawberry Tropicana Smoothie||Mixed bean salad with skinless chicken breast. Grapes||Two oatcakes spread with cottage cheese||Pasta with prawns and a spicy tomato sauce. Lemon sorbet with fresh raspberries|
This information was written by Fiona Hunter, Nutritionist and Food Writer and is kindly submitted to familyrapp by Nexus Communications Group
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- >Enjoy a variety of foods, but know how much you’re eating
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- >NEW SMOOTHIE MELTS ARE A FUN WAY TO GIVE YOUR CHILD ONE OF THEIR ‘FIVE A DAY’