The “munchies” can happen at any time of the day, but usually mid afternoon after a long morning at work or entertaining the kids, or late at night once all the jobs are done and you settle in for the night in front of the TV. Snacking in between meals is beneficial in that it can help you power through the day so that you don’t overeat at your main meals. But when it comes to snacking, moderation and healthy options are most important, especially options that are packed with protein to help keep you fuller and more satisfied for longer.
So, instead of going for that block of chocolate, or the shortbread biscuits or bag of chips, try some of these low-calorie, satisfying options when you are feeling peckish.
- A small tub of natural yoghurt with berries and a sprinkle of nuts/seeds
- 100g of cottage cheese with chopped pear, cinnamon and sprinkle of flaked almonds
- Chocolate or coffee chia pudding
- A piece of fruit
- A small coffee with a handful of almonds or cashews
- A sliced apple with a smear of peanut butter on each slice and a sprinkle of nuts
- 5 wholegrain rice crackers with ¼ cup or 2 tablespoons of low fat dip (hommus, beetroot, or eggplant are good options)
- Vegetable sticks and ¼ cup or 2 tablespoons of low fat dip
- A large stalk of celery with a smear of peanut butter
- 2 Vita Wheats/Cruskits or 1 slice of wholegrain toast with ricotta, feta or cottage cheese, sliced tomato, and avocado
- 2 rice cakes with light organic peanut butter
- 1 slice of raisin toast or wholegrain toast with ricotta or peanut butter
- 2 cups of freshly popped popcorn (without the butter!)
- A hard boiled egg – you can even chop it up with ¼ avocado and put in a lettuce cup
- Homemade low sugar cookie or muesli slice
- A fruit/vegie smoothie with or without protein powder
- A small bowl of frozen fruits like raspberries, blueberries, pineapple or mango chunks which are great on a hot day and just like an icypole!
6 Tips to help with the snacking
- Make sure you are eating enough calories, particularly protein, during the day at your main meals to control how hungry you are during those peak snack times of the day.
- Be sure to have some healthy snack options prepared so it is quick and easy and you don’t turn to packaged or processed stuff to munch on (e.g., have your vegetable sticks cut up and store in an airtight container in a bit of water in the fridge so they stay fresh and are ready to eat)
- Similarly, fill your cupboards with the right snack foods and get rid of any temptations!
- Make sure you are well hydrated throughout the day as thirst can be mistaken for hunger
- Sometimes snacking can become a habit so listen to your body and work out if you are truly peckish or if it has just become a habit to have that chocolate biscuit with your coffee. If it is a habit, try to replace the unhelpful snacks with some of the healthy options above, or go for a hot drink, like a herbal tea, as this can fill your tummy and trick you into thinking you have eaten something filling!
- Don’t beat yourself up if you go for a small treat here or there – it doesn’t mean you need to overdo it, just get back on track tomorrow!