In today’s fast paced world where there is often no time to prepare snacks and meals, it is important to learn how to snack smartly using readily available healthy snack foods and combining them correctly. Smart snacking stabilizes blood sugar levels, which promotes effective cognitive function and good health. Stable blood sugar levels help to manage inappropriate food cravings, maintain metabolic rate and therefore promote weight management.
What is a smart snack?
• A smart snack should fit into your hand. After all it is a snack and not a meal! If needed, two to three snacks can replace a meal.
• Each snack should contain about 500 kJ for women; 750 kJ for men.
• The carbohydrate content should be no more than 25 g for women; 35 g for men.
• The fat content should be about 10 g per snack (although for weight loss closer to 5 g is better).
Guidelines for smart snacking
1. Plan ahead – use the snack criteria above to choose smart snacks. Why not keep a laminated copy of these smart snack criteria with you when shopping?
2. Shop ahead – on most days you would need a morning and an afternoon snack. While doing your normal grocery shopping buy between ten and twenty non -perishable snacks such as dried fruit, nuts, mini health bars, low GI rusks or crackers, etc.
3. As fresh fruit is the best snack, perfectly packaged and nutritious, buy a bag of apples at the start of the week and leave them in your office fridge. Ensure you finish the apples by the end of the week. The next week try naartjies, pears, peaches, etc.
4. When fresh fruit is not available, stew a whole packet of dried fruit and store in the refrigerator. Use half a cup of stewed fruit as a snack.
5. Your fresh snacks can then be interspersed with your stock of non-perishable snacks.
6. Make sure your smart snacks are close at hand; in your desk drawer, cubby hole of your car, briefcase, gym bag, handbag, etc.
7. Many fresh snacks such as boiled eggs, chicken fillets, fruit salad, home-made low GI muffins, biscuits and rusks can be made in larger quantities and used throughout a week.