It’s common to reach out for a small to stave mid-morning hunger pangs but your snacking choices may be doing you more than good.
Items we consider healthy such as cereal bars, bran-flakes and low fat biscuits, are full of sugar which, while they may provide a temporary energy boost, will end up making you crash.
When preparing snacks, choose low-energy releasing foods and avoid sipping on smoothies or fruit juices.
When preparing snacks, choose low-energy releasing foods, rather than items which are full of saturated fat and sugar.
It might be tricky to resist mince pies (left) but hold off for the big day itself. Instead try a handful of dried fruit (left) to hit the sweet spot, while getting one of your five a day.
Nutritionist Dr. Sarah Schenker told FEMAIL: ‘So many people are misled by snacks which we’re told are healthy, in reality, people need to be thinking about the nutritional content and how that can help you maintain your energy levels.
‘Snacking still has negative connotations that need to be overcome – which I fully support. Introducing convenient and nutritious foods can overcome the stigma of snacking and help us to become more active and healthier.’
Here she shares ten snacking swaps you can make to ensure you are consuming all the right foods.
SWAP: Low-fat biscuits
FOR: Oatcakes with hummus
Oatcakes have much lower sugar content than many low-fat biscuits on the market and are a great source of fibre. Top this with hummus for a fix of essential vitamins and minerals.
SWAP: Mince pies
FOR: Dried fruit
This time of year can be tricky to resist, however if you’re holding off for the big day itself, then try a handful of dried fruit to hit the sweet spot, while getting one of your five a day.
SWAP: Cereal bars
FOR: Peanut butter on wholemeal toast
Cereal bars are often packed with hidden sugars which can undermine any nutritional value. Peanut butter is a natural source of protein and helps maintain energy levels, perfect if you have a big day ahead.
Cereal bars (left) are often packed with hidden sugars whilst peanut butter (right) is a natural source of protein and helps maintain energy levels
There is nothing wrong with snacking but make sure you choose foods which are light and healthy
SWAP: Lighter crisps
FOR: Vegetable sticks and avocado dip
Light crisps are often high in salt, as an alternative, swap for vegetables sticks and an avocado dip. Avocados are high in antioxidants and provide you with good, monounsaturated fats that can help keep hair and skin healthy.
SWAP: Processed fruit bars
FOR: Mixed raisins and nuts
Whole fruit has a much higher water content contributing to hydration, helping to prevent dehydration that can be a root cause of the afternoon slump.
FOR: A glass of milk
A glass of milk provides essential calcium and minerals and is comparably much better for you than a smoothie, which contains large amounts of sugar.
Light crisps (left) are often high in salt so swap for vegetables sticks and an avocado dip (right)
SWAP Fruit Juice
FOR Coconut water
There has been some debate as to whether fruit juice should continue to count towards your 5-a-day as the process of juicing releases the sugars, having similar impact to added sugars, particularly on teeth. Coconut water has less sugar than most fruit juices and could be a better choice for adults and kids looking for a beverage that is less sweet. It also provides electrolytes that can help you rehydrate more effectively.
SWAP Strawberry ice cream
FOR Greek yoghurt with frozen berries
Strawberry ice cream is loaded with sugar and light on any actual fruit. You can get the same effect by swirling frozen berries through protein and calcium packed Greek yoghurt with a fraction of the sugar content.
SWAP Bacon on toast or a bacon butter
FOR Poached eggs on toast or a fried egg sandwich
Although both eggs and bacon provide protein, that’s where the nutritional similarities stop. Bacon is high in salt and there is concern over the effect that the preservatives contained can have on the gut. Eggs on the other hand are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health.
SWAP: Bran flakes
Although they contain fiber, bran flakes are still relatively high in sugar, which means they have a higher GI, releasing their energy more quickly. Porridge will give you a slow release of energy to ensure you start your day right.
Bacon (left) is high in salt and there is concern over the effect that the preservatives contained can have on the gut. Eggs (right) on the other hand are rich in many essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health
The tips are part of Sun-Pat’s Spread the Energy study, which revealed that 24 per cent of teenagers felt they lack the energy needed to take part in after-school activities.