By: Natasha Archary
It’s two hours to lunch and you feel your tummy rumble. Your last meal was breakfast, a full six hours ago. Surely this isn’t normal. It is if you prescribe to the regular three square meals a day mandate.
There’s a new trend on the horizon: snacking, and it seems to be taking the world by storm. Instead of three main meals a day, you are now encouraged to eat more frequently at three hour intervals, taking your total meals to seven a day. Is that even possible?
A resounding yes. Snacking entails breaking down your meals into smaller, more digestible portions that will help boost your metabolism. Here’s how to keep snacks healthy and not cave to cravings:
- EXCLUDE SUGAR
Omit any snacks that are high in total sugar per 100g. It’s easy to overlook how much sugar you consume a day, with many pre-packaged foods, fruit juices and “healthy, low-fat” foods all packed full of unhealthy sweeteners and sugar.
Breakfast bowls are the new snack trend: consisting of pureed fruits and crunchy toppings with no added sugar
The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that an individual’s intake of total sugars not exceed 10% of total calorie intake, a maximum of 6 teaspoons of sugar a day.
- RAW FOODS
No you don’t have to become a vegan inspired hippie, but you could aim to include one raw food per meal. Start small, include an avocado to your lunch or a green smoothie between meals.
The more natural your food, the healthier you are and the longer you can go until your next meal. The nutritional value you get from whole foods and the natural sugars found in fruits and veggies are more beneficial to your health than refined and artificial ingredients.
- LIMIT CARBS
The ageless debate, are carbs unhealthy? Carbs fuel your body but there are good carbs and bad carbs, pick the right ones and you’re on track.
Complex carbs are good for you and are slow-release foods which keep your energy high for longer periods. They include whole grain breads, bran cereals, green veggies and fresh fruits.
Simple carbs should be avoided. Processed foods that have been stripped of their natural ingredients and fibre to make them more consumer friendly. These include sugared cereals, fruit juices and soft drinks, refined or white bread, desserts, cakes and pastries.
- GRAINS & NUTS
There are so many options for healthier snacks on the market. Quinoa, chia seeds, barley, steel cut oats, flax seeds, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and so much more. The key is to opt for low salt versions and if you have the time, prepare the grains at home to watch the sodium and fat intake.
Most grains and nuts travel well and can be stored for months in the freezer so buy them in bulk and enjoy your healthy snacks as and when you want.
Snacking throughout the day is said to boost metabolism by encouraging your body to burn the fuel you give it at shorter intervals. You feel more alert, less lethargic and it keeps the hunger pangs at bay.