We’re chatting with resident dietitian, Rachel Scoular, from @healthyhappyhabits to find out her thoughts on snacking – yay or nay? AND if we are allowed to snack, what should we be picking?

Here’s the 411.

“Firstly, I’m all for a snack. Eating smaller, more frequent meals allows you to spread the calories out over the day, helping to stabilize your appetite, boost your nutrient intake and regulate your glucose level… need I say more?”

The main thing to monitor is that snacks aren’t just empty calories. Snacks provide a great opportunity to add in extra nutrients, that you might have missed during the day. As an example, many women struggle to reach the recommended 2.5 serves of dairy per day. A tub of yogurt (or even a skim cap) is a great way to get some calcium in.

What is a sensible snack? 

1. Have healthy alternatives to sugary snacks on hand

If you’re really craving that sugar rush, look for a snack which contains natural, unrefined sugars instead of reaching for that chocolate bar or bag of lollies. Look for natural sources, a piece of fruit, 2 medjool dates or a tub of low fat yoghurt should nip that craving in the butt!

Soul Origin recently launched their own Raw Teats, and these are great for a little sugar hit. They’re refined sugar free, so only the natural stuff. Plus, they’re wheat free & dairy free, making them a suitable snack for everyone.

2. Get a hit of fibre in
Fibre is found in the indigestible parts of foods and is super important for good health, it’s required to keep our digestive system in top-notch working order. High fibre snacks include; fruit and veg (keep the skin on, where possible), Cereal or Muesli is great sprinkled over food. Savoury options that are high in fibre include wholemeal crackers and nuts. Click if you’re after some high fibre ideas to stock your pantry with.

3. Protein will keep you fuller for longer
Snacks like an apple topped with almond butter, veggie sticks with hummus or 30g of nuts are all good ways to add in a serve of protein. Protein takes longer to digest and assists to stabilize your blood sugar levels, keeping those sweet cravings at bay.

4. Think outside the square
I’ve also listed some hot options which you probably wouldn’t have thought of, but they’re still a winning choice.
Boiled Eggs – Once boiled, simply peel and eat the protein powerhouse whenever you need it most. The yellow yolk is a great source of healthy fats.
Unsalted Popcorn – Surprisingly this wholegrain snack is a great fibre source and easy to either microwave or pop yourself on the stove
Cold Pressed Juice – Soul Origin offers two 100% fruit and vegetable juices, with no added sugar.
A Skim Cap – yes, a small coffee is a great way to get a serve of dairy in, plus coffee has some extra nutritional benefits.

5. Stay hydrated
If you struggle to get enough water in, having a class each time you think of snacking will help you reach the recommended 2L. Plus, water can help speed up metabolism and prevent over eating due to thirst.

At the end of that day, yes snacks can be used as part of a healthy diet. The main things is to watch your portions and eat mindfully – savour every bite and enjoy it.