Lets be honest, no matter how nutrient dense and healthy our main meals are throughout each day, sometimes our lifestyle, individual energy needs and fitness specific goals require some delicious snacks to keep us going in between. The good news is, snacking doesn’t have to derail your progress, in fact these snacks will help you burn fat and feel great! Plus they are quick, easy and taste phenomenal. Did I mention really really good for you?
First things first, lets talk about what makes a snack ‘healthy’ so you have the information to make really informed choices when reaching for something when those mid morning and mid afternoon cravings set in. Think of your energy each day like a fire you need to keep lit (see what I did there?). You want this fire to burn steadily throughout the day, all day long. If you put kindling on the fire, it will burn quick and you’ll be reaching for more every hour to keep your fire going. Kindling is sugar and refined carbs. Now, if you put a log on the fire, it will burn steadily and slowly all day long. This log is good fats, moderate proteins and smart carbs. What type of fire do you light each day?
The Making of a Healthy Snack
- They should contain real food ingredients, preferably put together by yourself as opposed to something packaged and convenience. And we will touch on packaged and convenience options below.
- They should provide a steady source of controlled energy, meaning your body utilises the snack at a really good pace, as opposed to the snack affecting your blood sugar levels, and therefore lifting you up before coming down to crash with even more cravings than before.
- They should celebrate the most nutrient dense foods that lead you towards your health and wellness goals, supporting your specific energy needs, personal dietary requirements and lifestyle factors.
The Perfect Combination and Power of Three
There are three key ingredients that I believe constitute the perfect combination, and the power of these three ingredients can have a profound affect on your health.
- Abundance of nutrient dense, health boosting, good dietary fats: They provide incredible sustained release of energy, promote hormone balance, lubricate our entire functioning system and boost our mood and brain health.
- Moderate amount of well sourced ethically chosen protein from land and sea animals and or nuts and seeds. This protein becomes the building block for our bodies growth and repair when living an active lifestyle.
- Smart carbs in the form of above ground vegetables rich with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants for optimal health on a cellular level fighting free radicals and boosting our bodies immunity and overall wellbeing.
What to be wary of in so called ‘Healthy Snacks’
Be mindful of words like ‘Natural’ and ‘Organic’ as that doesn’t always mean healthy or good for you. Brands have become very clever in using certain key words and labelling colours to trick you into thinking you’re making a smart choice. Dig a little further and check the label.
Check how much sugar is in your snack. Often healthy snacks, bars and treats are made up with high amounts of dates, other dried fruit and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. Yes they are all naturally occurring ingredients but they are very high in fructose and react much the same way in your body as a standard chocolate bar. Sugar is sugar no matter what way you look at it and often we are consuming too much to reach our goals affectively.
Check the recommended serving size. Sometimes a bar you could devour in one sitting is designed to be divided into 6 servings, meaning you are getting higher amounts of calories and sugar than you may be expecting or needing. I am often shocked with how small a recommended serving size is, especially when how much sugar is in a single serve, let alone the entire item.