Healthy Snacking – How to…

Bernice Venter – Dietician & Geneway Practitioner

Before you snack, ask yourself: why do I feel like a snack? There are many reasons why you may feel peckish, but believe it or not, hunger is generally near the bottom of the list. Did you see someone eating on TV? Did you smell your neighbour’s cooking? Or worse, a braai? Did you walk past something delicious in the pantry?

Feeling like a snack is sometimes related to our eating behaviours eg habitual eating, emotional eating and is often related to your hunger gene. There is a gene in your DNA that affects your leptin sensitivity. This is the gene that tells you when you are full, and if it doesn’t work properly, you may always feel hungry and tend to over-eat. 

So, always ask yourself this question first – do I need this snack?

Next, try drinking a glass of water. The reason for this is that the body often confuses dehydration for hunger. You will be amazed at how much better you feel after a glass of water!

If you are going to add snacks to your diet, make sure you include these snacks as part of your daily food regimen. This prevents you from exceeding your daily calorie intake. For example, Do not make snacks as big as your main meals and plan to include snacks as part of your overall calorie intake. If you are going to snack on an ongoing basis, consider changing your habits to eating five smaller meals for the day, of which the snack is one.

Snacking is not a bad thing. It is just about fitting it into your daily diet and choosing healthy snack options.  Here are some healthy snacking options:

  • Cooked apple in the microwave with cinnamon
  • Make your own frozen yoghurt – simply freeze your favorite flavor
  • Make frozen yoghurt buttons. Fill yoghurt in a plastic bag, cut the corner and pipe small buttons on a tray and freeze.
  • Fat free cottage cheese with vegetables sticks
  • Rice cakes with peanut butter and banana
  • Rice cakes or provitas with cottage cheese and cucumber (remember 3 provitas is equivalent to 1 slice of bread)
  • Peanut butter balls made from dried fruit and rolled oats (there are some great recipes online)
  • A glass of homemade fruit smoothie
  • A handful of dried fruit and nuts
  • A small tub of low fat plain yoghurt with a dash of honey (or dried fruit) and sunflower seeds
  • Rice cakes with cottage cheese
  • Apple fingers with peanut butter
  • Sugar free date balls
  • Guacamole (make your own) with red pepper
  • Dark chocolate (limit the amount blocks though)
  • Cucumber chunks with hummus
  • Cherry tomatoes with mozzarella – on toothpicks
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Popcorn

Bear in mind that you may be less active at certain times, so be cautious not to eat more than usual. It is very easy to snack through-out the day, but before you know it, you could have eaten 6 meals per day!

Keep this list of healthy snacks close at hand.

Geneway offers a range of lifestyle DNA tests, including the GeneDiet test that help unlock your genetic code, and provide a personalized eating guide, based on your DNA. Visit our website for a list of accredited practitioners.

The Geneway tests are available at Supreme Aesthetics.

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