According to research, a third of us get more calories from snacks and treats than we do from main meals. If you are trying to lose or maintain weight – this can be incredibly detrimental.
Snacks should act as a positive addition to our diets while keeping hunger at bay. The ideal snack is one that is rich in protein, fibre and calcium as well as providing essential vitamins and minerals.
Stuck for ideas? Take a look at the following smart snacks for inspiration:
A handful of raw almonds
Some people avoid nuts when they are trying to lose weight, as they can be calorific. The key here is portion control – the ideal amount of nuts for a snack is 30g. Almonds are rich in heart-healthy fats, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium and potassium. They are also a great source of protein and fibre while being naturally low in sugar.
Hummus and crudité
Rich in fibre, hummus and vegetable crudité are brilliant for beating hunger. A single-serving pot of hummus will help with portion control here.
Low-fat Greek yogurt topped with fruit
When you’re craving something sweet and creamy, fat-free Greek yogurt topped with fruit is perfect. The yogurt is a natural source of calcium and is high in protein, while fruit will give you energy and top up your vitamin intake.
A great alternative to crisps, low-salt and low-sugar brands of popcorn are full of wholegrain fibre. There are plenty of exciting new flavours out there to keep things interesting, so have fun experimenting.
A hard-boiled egg
This is a cheap and high-protein option that will keep you feeling fuller for longer. To make your egg more exciting, try slicing it and drizzling with chili sauce or sprinkling with chili flakes.
Wholegrain crackers with peanut butter
Combining complex carbohydrates and protein will help to keep blood sugar levels stable while keeping you from feeling hungry. Try other nut butters like almond butter for a bit of variety.
A handful of olives
Low in calories and high in flavour – olives are a great savoury snack. A small pot of 10 olives should satisfy your craving without going overboard on the salt levels.
Pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds
A small handful of seeds will provide essential fatty acids while releasing energy slowly. Add some nuts or fruit in the mix for a more filling snack.