Sometimes, little pause and refuel is what we all need, but being at home and being closer to the cupboards can make it feel like snack time is never ending and you find yourself reaching for one carby snack after another. Here’s some insight into how to snack to, not only curb hunger, but also keep you sated until your next meal.
The crux of it all, and this may come as no surprise, snacks much like our meals need to be balanced. When we snack on sugary or starchy foods alone we make it difficult for our bodies to manage our blood sugar effectively, keeping it balanced so that we feel, well, balanced. When we eat and drink we provide our bodies with much needed glucose to keep going, and how much glucose depends on how much sugar or simple carbs (which our bodies use much like sugar) we eat. And it will also come as no surprise that when we snack on that packet of crisps, chocolate bar or even lots of fruit, you’ll experience a brief period of satiety and a blood sugar peak, which not long after is followed by a trough. And it is in these troughs where parents hear the dreaded phrase, ‘Can I have a snack?’ and we reach for another snack, often carby and sugary to pick ourselves up.
When we eat, also need certain key nutrients to feel sated or full and these are fat, fibre and protein. Every meal and every snack should have these components. These also help with blood sugar balance. So how do we stop this cycle of highs, lows, hunger and endless snacks? Here are my top tips to help you crack your Covid snacking:
1) Include a source of healthy fat, fibre and protein in your snacks. I often make little snack platters with cut fruit, veg, oat cakes with nut butter or toasted nuts/seeds. I also make up energy balls that contain these key nutrients and pair them with fruit. There are lots of ways to do this, and you can still include rice cakes or crisps, but make sure there are other nutrient dense options alongside. If you’re interested in learning how to make your own balanced snacks with and for your children, check out my online Kids Cookery Classes.
2) Any parent of children will know, snacking is their absolute favourite past time. My 4 year old, if given the chance, would snack all day forgoing meals entirely. BUT eating three balanced meals a day will mean you are less likely to snack because your body has the fuel it needs to get you from one meal to the next. What does a balanced meal look like? Well, it’s 2-3 portions of fruit and veg with the addition of healthy fats, protein and source of wholegrain fibre.
3) Take a look at why you are snacking. Is it boredom? Stress? Reward? Or is just because it is in the cupboard? We eat for many reasons, not just because we’re hungry. Take a pause before you snack check in with yourself. This hands down works for me. With the kids, this may mean building in set snack times and sticking to those.
4) Take a drink. This advice is here for me as well. I am also terrible at drinking water, and hunger gets mistaken for needing fluids—it’s your body’s way of trying to get fluids. So sometimes, getting a drink instead can solve the need for a snack.
5) Clean up that snack cupboard. Think less processed things in packets and try to get things as close to the whole food as possible. Fresh fruit and veg, homemade dips, nuts, seeds, oat cakes as well as homemade things can be prepped in advanced and just as easily accessible as opening a packet. And it can be cheaper!
Feel free to get in touch if you’re looking for more ideas on snack ideas or book in a cookery class as we can dedicate 2 whole hours to talking and making snacks!