We tend to view snacking as “bad” and that we should resist these urges that can just result in us eating our body weight in biscuits. But snacking should be part of our everyday life and part of a healthy and balanced diet to help us get through the day.
Yet with headlines and social media linking snacking with obesity is it any wonder there are such negative opinions about snacking? Healthy snacking has been associated with maintaining blood sugars, helping with brain fatigue, promoting feelings of satiety thus preventing overeating¹ and helping with weight maintenance².
Healthy snacks can offer these health benefits and the moral of the story is, it’s what you snack on that is important and in moderation.
What should we be snacking on?
Building balanced snacks in between meals is important to provide essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and energy to help us get through the day. This prevents sugar dips and stops us from snacking on high sugar and high fatty snacks.
Fibre and protein
Snacking provides us with the opportunity to increase our fibre intake which, as a nation, we don’t meet (RDA:30g). Fibre is not only important for gut health but also keeps you fuller for longer.
Pair fibre up with high protein foods to keep you feeling energised throughout the day and prevent you overeating by releasing satiating hormones (reducing hunger). ²
- Greek yoghurt + berries + seeds
- Wholegrain toast + peanut butter + chopped banana
- Small bag of popcorn + handful of unsalted nuts
Eating small and often can help boost metabolism and prevent blood sugar dips.
Reducing our consumption of high salt, fatty and sugary foods. Eating 3 balanced meals and 2/3 balanced snacks per day will curb your hunger and decrease the likelihood of eating unhealthy foods. However, we should still enjoy these snacks in moderation and as part of a balanced and varied diet.
Nutty bars are another wholesome snack such as Pulsin which are high in protein and high in fibre which will help you get through the day. They contain a majority of healthy fats derived from nuts and nutty butter providing a source of antioxidants (vitamin E) which is important for brain function and a review associated vitamin E with a reduced risk in Alzheimer’s Disease³. Pulsin offers a range of protein bars such as their Vanilla Choc & Almond Protein Bar which packs a punch of 13g of plant-based protein and not only improves body composition but is very satiating, plus they are low in salt.
For those who have a sweeter tooth Pulsin have a range of High Fibre Brownies including their delicious new Hazelnut Choc flavour which will satisfy those cravings and are all under 200kcals!
You don’t have to jeopardise taste to look after your health. So, the next time you are staring at the screen and starting to zone out…yes, that’s when you need a snack…grab a Pulsin bar!
Content reviewed by Registered Associate Nutritionist, Séanín Smith. All content displayed is provided for general information purposes only and should not be treated as a substitute for advice given by your GP or any other healthcare professional.
- Leidy, H. J., Todd, C. B., Zino, A. Z., Immel, J. E., Mukherjea, R., Shafer, R. S., Ortinau, L. C. and Braun, M. (2015) Consuming High-Protein Soy Snacks Affects Appetite Control, Satiety, and Diet Quality in Young People and Influences Select Aspects of Mood and Cognition. The Journal of Nutrition; 145 (7) : 1614–1622.
- Duffey, K.J and Popkin, B.M. (2011) Energy density, portion size, and eating occasions: contributions to increased energy intake in the United States, 1977–2006. PLoS Med; 8: e1001050.
- La Fata, G., Weber, P. and Mohajeri M.H. (2014) Effects of Vitamin E on Cognitive Performance during Ageing and in Alzheimer’s Disease. Nutrients; 6(12): 5453–5472.
Séanín Smith is a Freelance Registered Associate Nutritionist (UKAfN) based in Newry, Northern Ireland. Séanín has an MSc and BSc in Human Nutrition. She does not believe in restrictive diets and believes no-one should face stigma due to their weight. Séanín works with busy parents to companies offering evidence-based advice to ensure you achieve optimal health. She is passionate about helping others, she offers online 1:1 appointments, corporate nutrition workshops, group events and nutrition & health writing.