HEALTHY SNACKS

Top tips to help beat the 3pm slumps & limit snack­ing

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Dr Claire Madi­gan & Jes­sica Honey­wood

Do you of­ten ex­pe­ri­ence the dreaded 3pm slump? That no­tice­able drop in at­ten­tion and en­ergy lev­els and man­age this drop, by (shame­fully) reach­ing for a sug­ary snack or pop­ping out for a caf­feine hit?

Well, you’re not alone. A re­cent study into Aus­tralian eat­ing habits found one in three of us snack be­tween meals. Shock­ingly, this mind­less snack­ing now ac­counts for a third of our to­tal en­ergy in­take!

In 2015, over half of Aus­tralian women were found to be over­weight or obese, with ap­prox­i­mately one in six Aus­tralian adults over 25 to be suf­fer­ing with pre-di­a­betes, a con­di­tion where blood glu­cose lev­els are higher than nor­mal but not high enough to be di­ag­nosed as di­a­betes. Of those di­ag­nosed with pre-di­a­betes, 10% each year will progress to de­vel­op­ing type 2 di­a­betes.

We live in an en­vi­ron­ment with con­stant en­cour­age­ment to eat and this can lead us to gain weight. On av­er­age, peo­ple snack 14 times per week; with the snacks that are be­ing con­sumed tend­ing to be read­ily avail­able, pro­cessed, high-en­ergy foods. If peo­ple sim­ply re­duced their snack­ing by half, they could save them­selves 2344 calo­ries (9800 kilo­joules) per week - this equates to a 2.1kg weight loss over eight weeks!

SO TO LOSE WEIGHT OR MAIN­TAIN A HEALTHY DIET, IS CUT­TING OUT ALL SNACKS THE WAY TO GO?

‘Not all snack­ing is un­healthy. It can ac­tu­ally help us con­trol our weight. High en­ergy and high fat snacks should be lim­ited and healthy, more fill­ing snacks should take their place. The sim­ple act of plan­ning your day be­fore you leave the house can make a big dif­fer­ence to the num­ber of snacks you con­sume over the day. The real chal­lenge peo­ple face is un­der­stand­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing hun­gry and thirsty, or know­ing when they need a quick break.’

Tips to help beat the 3pm slumps and limit snack­ing:

• Start the day with a fill­ing and nu­tri­tious break­fast – ‘Oats are a great ex­am­ple of a healthy, low GI break­fast which keeps you feel­ing full and pow­ered through­out the morn­ing.’

• Be aware of your snack­ing habits – ‘Make a con­scious de­ci­sion to have healthy snacks.’

• Plan your snacks – ‘Just like plan­ning din­ner, plan snacks in advance to help save time and avoid easy-ac­cess sug­ary snacks.’

• choose fruit and low-fat dairy snacks – ‘Fruit and low-fat dairy foods are of­ten miss­ing in our daily diet. Fruit con­trib­utes to your daily in­take of stom­ach-fill­ing fi­bre and dairy is a great source of cal­cium and pro­tein.’

• don’t shop hun­gry – ‘Isn’t it funny how prod­uct pack­ag­ing seems to in­flu­ence our shop­ping de­ci­sions more when we shop hun­gry? Avoid the trap and eat be­fore you go food shop­ping, even if it’s just an ap­ple.’

• keep healthy shelf-sta­ble snacks on hand – ‘Hav­ing healthy snacks, such as un­salted nuts avail­able at home and work can help you man­age your en­ergy in­take.’

• Buy in bulk and in sea­son to save money – ‘The cost of pre-pack­aged snacks can be very ex­pen­sive. Buy fruits and veg­eta­bles in sea­son and bulk-buy nuts that you can then por­tion into snack-able por­tions.’

• Stay hy­drated – ‘Vis­i­ble cues such as a drink bot­tle on your desk can re­mind you to drink wa­ter.’

• take a break – ‘Some­times a short walk with ex­po­sure to nat­u­ral light and fresh air are all you need and can help you avoid reach­ing for a snack.’

IT IS VI­TAL TO UN­DER­STAND THE DIF­FER­ENCE BE­TWEEN BE­ING HUN­GRY & THIRSTY OR JUST NEED­ING A BREAK

BUT WHAT DOES A HEALTHY SNACK LOOK LIKE?

Ac­cred­ited Prac­tis­ing Di­eti­tian Jes­sica Honey­wood rec­om­mends choos­ing high fi­bre snacks with at least 3g di­etary fi­bre per serve, since ‘fi­bre helps slow down the di­ges­tion of food and keeps you feel­ing fuller for longer’. Also look for snacks that con­tain be­tween 100kCal (420kJ) and 150kCal (600kJ) per serve, ‘this calo­rie or kilo­joule in­for­ma­tion is avail­able from the Nu­tri­tion In­for­ma­tion Panel found on la­bels of pack­aged foods.’

Here are some of Jes­sica’s ex­am­ples of healthy snacks, aim for two per day:

• 1 medium size piece of fruit

• 20g un­salted nuts

• 4 Vita-Weats with 1½ ta­ble­spoons low fat ri­cotta and sliced tomato

• 1 small 130g tin of re­duced salt baked beans

• Raw veg­gie sticks with 2 ta­ble­spoons low fat hom­mus

So beat that 3pm slump and main­tain a con­stant en­ergy level by eat­ing these healthy snacks above and see the dif­fer­ence this will make in your day.

Dr Claire Madi­gan PhD, is a Clin­i­cal Tri­als Man­ager and Re­search Fel­low. She over­sees clin­i­cal tri­als at Bo­den In­sti­tute that in­ves­ti­gates di­a­betes pre­ven­tion, choles­terol re­duc­tion, pro­bi­otics, ex­er­cise and be­havioural change. Jes­sica

Honey­wood APD & AN, is a Re­search Study Co­or­di­na­tor and Di­eti­tian pro­vid­ing di­eti­tian con­sul­ta­tions as part of the weight loss and choles­terol re­duc­tion tri­als at Bo­den In­sti­tute. She also runs a pri­vate di­eti­cian con­sul­tancy. Both Claire & Jes­sica are based at the Uni­ver­sity of Syd­ney’s Bo­den In­sti­tute.

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