Healthy snacks can be included as part of a nutritious eating plan however you should only eat snacks if you are actually truly hungry or struggling to meet your daily energy requirements. Eating snacks when you’re not actually hungry can lead to unwanted weight gain. Many people find themselves eating snacks when they’re not hungry which may be due to habit, thirst or a response to boredom, stress or emotions. Too many high energy (kJ) snacks may stall your weight loss or even lead you to gain weight.
Below are some healthy snack options. Each bullet point is 1 snack choice. If you are a female trying to lose weight, aim for 1 choice (only if hungry) between meals. If you are a male who is taller/larger than average or carries more muscle or if you are a female looking to gain muscle or maintain a healthy weight, you could choose 2 choices between meals (if hungry).
- Carrot, snow peas, capsicum, cherry tomato, green beans, cucumber, celery, radish, zucchini, cauliflower or broccoli florets
1 tbs nut butter, ¼ medium avocado or ¼ cup low fat tzatziki, hummus or yoghurt based dip or low fat cottage cheese.
Fruit (Try to avoid or limit dried fruit/fruit juice as it’s very high in sugar and lower in fibre so it won’t provide that feeling of fullness or satisfaction after eating/drinking it like a whole piece of fruit does).
- 1 medium piece of fresh fruit (e.g. banana or apple) or 2 small pieces of fresh fruit (e.g. plum or kiwi)
- 1 cup of chopped fresh fruit or berries or 15-20 grapes
- 250ml of plain milk (skim or reduced fat is better if watching your weight)
- 1 medium sized coffee (opt for no added sugar or syrup)
- 200g of reduced fat natural Greek yoghurt (look for a higher protein and lower sugar option).
- 40g low fat cheese (match box size) with vegetable sticks
20-30g of unsalted raw or dry roasted nuts approximately ¼ cup mixed nuts/seeds or:
10 Walnut halves 15 Cashews 8 Pecan halves 15 Almonds
25 Pistachios 5 Macadamia 20 Peanuts 5 Brazil
2-4 Vita Weat 9-Grain biscuits or 1-2 Ryvita Multigrain biscuits
Thin spread of reduced fat ricotta/cottage cheese/low fat cream cheese
Thin spread of nut butter
Thin spread of low fat tzatziki or hummus dip or fresh avocado
1 slice reduced fat cheese with sliced veggies such as tomato, spinach, mushrooms, grated carrot, capsicum, cucumber etc.
25g pack or ¼ cup of roasted chickpeas or broad beans or wasabi peas
95g can tuna, salmon or sardines in spring water, flavoured or oil (drained)
130g can low salt baked beans
1-2 eggs hardboiled
150g pack Edgell 3 Beans & Corn – Thai Sweet Chilli or Balsamic Vinegar flavours
2 cups air popped popcorn (unflavoured), can add paprika or chilli flakes
1-2 x Weet-Bix Blends Energize Protein range with ¼ cup skim/almond milk
¼ cup dry Goodness Superfoods Cereal: Protein Clusters with Supergrains
Look for snack bars and balls under 500kJ per serve. Aim for ones with 3-4g fibre or more and 4g protein or more.
Green, black or herbal tea
Sparkling water or soda water with a squeeze of lime/lemon/orange and mint
1 small black, skim or soy milk coffee – cappuccino, cafe latte or flat white
1 cup Jarrah 99% Fat Free Chocolatte or Sugar Free Drinking Chocolate
1 serve protein powder (limit serve size to under 500kJ). Aim for a brand that is natural and contains minimal artificial flavours, colours, preservatives and fillers.
Better dessert alternatives (only choose 1-3 x week depending on your goals)
200g Greek yoghurt (natural or flavoured)
2-3 small squares of plain dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)
1 Cadbury Freddo Frog or serve of chocolate (limit serve size to under 500kJ)
3-5 Strawberries dipped in chocolate
1 piece of fresh fruit
1 Skinny Cow ice cream stick or sundae
1 Frozen Yoghurt Stick or Yoghurt Cup
1 Peter’s Light n Creamy ice cream slice
1-2 scoops So Good Frozen Dessert
1 serve flavoured protein mousse (limit serve size to under 500kJ)
30g chocolate covered mini protein bar (limit serve size to under 500kJ)
If you find that you need a quick convenient snack and opt for a packaged product, remember to look carefully at the nutrition panel and ingredients list to help determine if it’s a healthy choice. Look for snacks that have: Less than 1.5 grams of saturated fat per 100g, less than 200mg of sodium per 100g and at least 3 grams or more of fibre per serve. Protein is also beneficial whilst training and can help to keep you fuller between meals. When you read the ingredients list, choose products with mainly whole food ingredients with few additives (try and avoid too many numbers or ingredients you can’t pronounce. Most packaged products come in larger serving sizes than we need. A good guide is to keep your serve to less than 500-600kJ of energy for a snack choice (if you’re watching your weight).
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