There are different definitions to what ‘snacking’ means to each individual. Simply put, it is an eating occasion outside of the traditional meals of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Snacking seems to have gotten a bad rap due to certain snack options we see at snack kiosks (e.g. curry puffs, fries, donuts, cakes, etc) or on supermarket shelves (e.g. chips, sugary biscuits, chocolate bars), however if chosen right, snacks can play an important role in one’s diet.
All of us snack for different reasons. They include keeping hunger at bay, satisfying cravings for certain foods/flavours, dealing with certain emotions, passing time, replacing meals, providing energy before a workout, or boosting nutrient intakes (snacking can be nutritious!)
There are no official guidelines regarding ideal snacking patterns, however I would suggest for each individual to focus on the meal and snacking pattern that best suits their lifestyle and needs. And if one were to snack, quality is key!
There are many snacks out there to choose from, and not all of them are equal in terms of nutrition. Some are certainly better than others, and can contribute positively towards your nutrition intake. Here are some tips on what to look out for when snacking. And if you want to try making your own at home, you can check this recipe out!
- Look for foods that contain protein. It takes longer to digest, so it will help to keep you fuller for longer.
- Try to avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar
- Aim to include some fruits or vegetables in your snack for added vitamins/minerals. E.g. yoghurt + fruit; peanut butter + apples; humus + carrots
- If you’re consuming carbohydrates like bread, crackers, wraps, try to choose whole-grain options. Read the ingredients list and try to get items that have wholegrain/wholewheat flour as one of their first three ingredients.
- Limit foods and drinks that contain added sugars. Again, read the ingredients list and try to avoid those that list added sugars as one of their first three ingredients (these can come in the form of sugar, cane syrup, glucose syrup, honey, golden syrup, etc)
If you’re looking to fill your supermarket basket with snacks, some good options include:
- Babybel cheese – a good small snack to carry on the go for a quick one
- Plain yoghurt – to which you can add your own flavouring like jam, honey, fruits, and nuts/seeds for added crunch
- Canned tuna, canned beans – to have on wholewheat crackers or corn cakes
- Cottage cheese, hummus – same as above
- Nut butter
- Nuts (raw or roasted) – make sure they do not contain added oils, sugar or salt
1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained*
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder/cayenne/paprika
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp black pepper
2 tbsp oil
4 tsp lime juice (optional)
- Pat dry or air dry chickpeas for 30mins.
- Preheat the oven to 200˚C (fan).
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. If you’re using the lime juice, leave it out at this point.
- Spread the chickpeas on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30min, shaking it about every 15min (be careful, they may pop!). If you’re using the lime juice, brush it on after the first 15min of baking.
- Cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container.
- I recommend using canned chickpeas that are in salted water as the flavour has had time to sink into the legume. Make sure to rinse them briefly before using.