What are you snacking on?


Tribune Features Writer


Snacking. We all do it to some degree or another. Whether it’s because we’re hungry in between meals, we’re looking for a distraction while we work, or we’re simply bored.

The practice of snacking isn’t inherently unhealthy for you, but unfortunately too many of us reach for less than healthy items to satisfy our cravings and/or distract us from boredom; items like chips and cookies, which are processed and high in calories.

For many of us who are otherwise eating pretty healthy diets, snacks might actually be our downfall; leading to a prevention of weight loss, or even to weight gain.

According to Harvard’s The Nutrition Source, a leading authority on food and nutrition knowledge, one’s snacking behaviour is what matters: what you snack on, why you snack, with which frequency you snack.

Some snacks can give you energy when your levels dip and prevent you from overeating at mealtime.

We asked Tribune Health readers what they like to snack on throughout the day and if they try and keep it healthy.

Jennifer Jones said her favourite snack food is fruit.

“Fruits provide me with the nourishment and vitamins I need, which is why I love them. My favourite fruits are from the berry family, with raspberries topping that list,” she said.

“While I am not fully educated on what they are good for specifically, I love the taste and texture of this particular fruit. Blackberries are second in the lineup for me, with blueberries and strawberries running in competition for third place. I also enjoy pineapples and cantaloupes as snacks.

“I believe snacks are meant to meant to be a meal in between full meals, so I love fruits that have lots of water. They tend to hold you over and keep the hunger pangs away until you have a full meal.”

According to nutritionists, fruits like lemon, oranges, blueberries, strawberries and apples are great snack options.

While many fruits can be an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and are high in fibre, some can also be high in sugar and calories, including mangoes and avacados.

However, people should be beware when consuming too many dried fruits, which compared to their fresh counterparts, often contain more calories, carbs and sugar per serving.

Tribune reader Alissa Dean said her favourite snack is a traditional breakfast food: overnight oats. She said she’s been a huge fan since her childhood days.

“I’ve been doing overnight oats for quite a few years now, but when I first started them, the sole purpose was to have healthy way to snack. I’m a big fan of oats because of their fibre and nutritional benefits,” she said.

“When I did my research on overnight oats and saw that it was a cold snack, I was kinda sceptical about the turnout, but oh my goodness, the flavours together make for the perfect combination; at least mine do. I usually add almond milk, any yoghurt of choice that I am feeling at the time, chia seeds, and I switch it up the fruit options. Most times I use strawberries; sometimes I use blueberries or banana, or just go without the addition of the fruits if I don’t have any on hand. All in all, I absolutely love it and have put so many people on to it.”

Meanwhile, Tina Smith said her favourite healthy snacks are trail mix, granola bars and nuts.

“I recently discovered the probiotic mix of nuts and dry fruit and I am in love. So anything on the nutty side, I love as a quick snack,” she said.

For Karen Lewis, anything can be “smoothied” into a good snack.

“I blend everything from fruits to veggies. Whether for an early morning snack or to have for an errand on the road, or late for work and I don’t have enough time to cook something; my blender is my greatest friend. (Smoothies) are also very filling. When I am too lazy to make them, I purchase the Bolthouse Farm brand smoothies from Fresh Market,” she said.

According experts, smoothies can be part of a balanced diet, but people should be aware of not accidentally adding too many calories and sugar to their drinks.

Avoid fruits that are high in natural sugars and don’t add too much of ingredients like honey or maple syrup. Instead, focus on using fruits which are lower in sugar and make sure to include one or more sources of protein like yoghurt or milk, as well as healthy fats from nuts and/or seeds.


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