Article by Nikki Malone
Nikki is a Nutritionist in Sydney, Australia with a focus on healing through food. She has a love of kayaking, adventure, animals and good food. Nikki conducts motivational workshops, shopping tours, is a kitchen detective and healthy cooking coach.
Do you skip meals at work because you are too busy, and then opt for a high calorie snack, laden with fat, sugar and preservatives?
Do you get that afternoon slump, grab a chocolate bar, pastry, bagel, piece of cake or donut and wonder why you are tired again 30 minutes later?
Simple sugars may lift you up in the short term, but what goes up must come down.
The best health-snacking strategy is to plan ahead and get organised. By purchasing healthy snacks in advance, you’ll have the desired food at hand when you need it. If you don’t, you’ll most likely grab the closest food to hand. Whether it is from a vending machine or convenience store, most are high-sugar, high in fat with little nutritional value, not to mention expensive.
Instead of snacking absent-mindedly, make snacking a conscious activity. This means eating without doing anything else at the same time (sending emails, having a meeting or talking on the phone), otherwise, you can easily overeat without realizing it. Eat slowly, mindfully, enjoy and chew, chew, chew.
Healthy snacks can help you to regulate blood sugar levels and keep you on the ball all day long.
Stock up on these ready-to-go healthy snacks:
- Homemade fruit, seed and oat bars (recipe below)
- Miso and tofu soup
- A bowl of fruit, oats, nuts, goji berries and low fat yoghurt
- A piece of your favourite fruit
- Apple or pear slices topped with cottage cheese or a good quality hard cheese
- Vegetable and lentil soup (preferably home made)
- 1 square of top quality dark chocolate (70% or more cocoa). Limit yourself to 1 square only
- Baked potato with low-fat plain yoghurt
- Roasted chickpeas (found in health food stores and delicatessens)
- A fruit smoothie
- Muesli (higher-fiber, low sugar). Preferably make you own and keep a stash at work.
- Mineral water with fresh lemon juice
- Dips, salsa or low fat cottage cheese with vegetable sticks
- A good quality protein bar
- Trail mix of various nuts, seeds and dried fruits
- Popcorn (no butter)
- Herbal teas or Dandelion coffee is great for digestion and liver tonic (it’s caffeine free)
Toppings on rye crackers or whole-wheat pita bread such as:
- Cottage cheese, hummus or avocado
- Canned tuna, salmon or sardines with avocado, tomato and rocket
- Salsa or dip
Boiled egg, cherry tomatoes and pea sprouts or alfalfa with cracked pepper
More hot snacking tips:
- Try to have protein in each meal to help you regulate blood sugar levels and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
- Grab highly dense nutritive foods as opposed to foods devoid of nutrients that are high in fats, calories, sugars and additives. These have low satiation values and keep you coming back for more.
- Fill up on high fibre foods.
- Don’t confuse hunger for thirst. Always have water at your desk and limit caffeinated foods such as tea, coffee, chocolate, etc. Caffeine plays havoc on your nervous system and you may feel better for a while but has a negative impact long term.
Recipe: Fruit, Seed and Oat Bars
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup of chopped mixed dried fruits (sultanas, apple, apricot, dates)
1/2 cup honey
¾ cup of boiling water
Line a 3cm deep, 16cm x 28cm baking tray with baking paper. Mix all dry ingredients until well combined. In a small bowl combine the honey and boiling water, stir well and combine into the oat mixture until well blended. Spoon mixture into the lined tray and use a spatula to press down firmly. Bake in a moderate oven until golden brown. Allow to cool and cut into small squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days. Makes approximately 24 squares. Enjoy.
Nutrients per serve
Energy = 549kj
Carbohydrates = 21g
Protein = 6g
Fat = 5g
Fiber = 1g
Sodium = 4mg