So before we start, I guess I have to point out that I’m not qualified in any way shape or form to be giving out nutritional advice – I just eat a lot of food! And spend a lot of time thinking about ways to make my ‘diet’ more interesting whilst still keeping an eye on the fat, carb, salt and sugar contents of what I eat. Recently a few of my girlfriends have been asking for tips on how to avoid naughty snacks, particularly if they work in an office environment where group snacking is as much part of the daily routine as checking emails, which I totally understand. So here are a few ideas from me based on what I know and eat regularly!
The golden rule is moderation. There’s no point substituting your Milky Way for a packet of Snack-a-Jacks if you then go and eat the entire packet (which I appreciate is extremely hard to do). When you think about it, you’re not hungry when you’re snacking, just ‘picky’, so it’s not like you’ve got to fill yourself up! Apps like MyFitnessPal can help with the moderation point on a two-fold level – firstly, you’ve got to input the amount of a food that you eat. So I guess that helps to set a goal in your mind – or at least makes you feel guilty if you then go back in and change the amount! Secondly, it’s good to look back at the end of the day and look at the total number or amount of snacks you’ve had (as you can input them separately). If that’s racking up calories/macros, then you know you’ve got to change something.
Don’t worry, it gets more interesting. But seriously, water is a key part of your diet: a lot of the time you think you’re hungry when you’re actually just thirsty – plus, you literally cannot have too much water so get sippy! My friend Charlotte Lescott created these gorgeous fruit infuser water bottles that are a great incentive to help you drink water – check them out!
2. Frozen grapes
So these are great little cheeky snacks. They don’t freeze solid so you won’t be cracking your teeth for the sake of your thigh gap. Obviously these are a bit more difficult to transport and keep frozen but if you find you’re snacking at home, try the grapes for a change!
3. Frozen Greek Yoghurt
This is so great – have it instead of ice cream. I literally just whack a whole tub into a Tupperware (it makes it easier to scoop after) and mix it with some fruit, like blueberries. Take it out a little while before you want to eat it so that it thaws a little!
4. Nuts and Seeds
Just don’t have too many, because they’re high in fat, but also have so many nutritious properties. Do yourself a little portion for work so you don’t eat the whole bag without realising it! Pumpkin seeds, walnuts, macadamia, cashews are all good. Team them with some dried fruit like cranberries too. You can buy little pots ready made nowadays, but it’s cheaper to get the nuts and fruit from Aldi or Lidl and just do a little Tupperware a day.
Obviously. No big reveal here. The only problem is the high sugar content, so you don’t want to eat too much, but strawberries, blueberries and apricots are good. Bananas are really carby, but are a good afternoon snack as they are quite filling! Don’t go all Freelee the Banana Girl and eat so many you become radioactive, but they do contain so much goodness – I always whack them in my morning smoothies.
6. Vegetable crisps
These can be quite expensive but are a great dupe for normal crisps! Check the fat content before you buy though as sometimes they can be quite misleading.
There are tonnes of skinny popcorn brands available now so they shouldn’t be too expensive; I know most of the big supermarkets also do their own brands. As with lots of these things, try and keep it as plain as possible because the more coconut/honey/sugar/whatever other exciting ingredients are added, the sugar and fat contents are going to be going waaaaay up.
8. Rice cakes
Snack-a-Jacks are obviously the first brand to come to mind, but again you can just go for the Asda or Tesco versions! If you’re not on too strict a budget there are also now loads of really nice organic versions (my local Tesco stocks loads) in caramel/chocolate varieties. With that being said, as above for the popcorn try and get ones without too much added to them – the chocolate ones are quite high in sugar if you have too many!!
9. Dark chocolate
So this is not really my thing but if you like it, treat yourself to a couple of squares (couple being the operative word there) after lunch or dinner. This is especially helpful around the time of the month, when you might need a little endorphin boost.
10. Cottage cheese (not for me) or quark
I would reaaaaaally appreciate if they came up with a different name for quark because it is so off-putting! But… It just tastes like really thick plain yoghurt and is super healthy, as it just has loads of protein but low fat and carb content. Great for breakfast or pudding mixed with a little honey, seeds and fruit.
11. Hard-boiled eggs
I don’t know why, but I really love cold hard boiled eggs as a snack! They contain 6g of protein per egg, but don’t go crazy as they also have a relatively high fat content. Cholesterol ahoy.
12. Tinned fish (tuna for meeee)
So this is a bit weird, and probably NSFW (in a ‘the colleague with the stinky lunch’ way) but it’s a great way to get some extra protein in. Again you don’t want to be eating four tins a day because of things like mercury content, but a little bit won’t hurt you!! You can get the no drain, spring water tins now so the salt content is lower and you literally just crack them open and eat. Like a tramp. I know I’m sorry who am I
13. Celery w/ low fat dips
Again moderation is key here – don’t go eating an entire tub of dip per celery stick – but the dips help as otherwise you basically may as well just have a glass of water. We all know celery is just a transporter for greater things like hummus.
14. Protein bars
So this is tricky because they are so freaking expensive, but it’s nice if you’re out and about and feeling peckish to pop into H&B and pick one up – especially seeing as they have sales on a lot of the time! The Grenade White Chocolate Cookie Carb Killa is everyone’s favourite right now, but there are literally so many it hurts. Look for low carbs (personally I like them below 15g a bar) and 18+g protein. Also top tip – so many people on Instagram are sponsored by protein companies so if you find a brand you like, try and find a sponsored person as they usually have a discount code on their page that’ll get you at least 10% off!!
15. Frozen watermelon
Basically because it looks real cool on Instagram. Let it thaw for a little bit otherwise it’s like eating ice, but as with the frozen grapes for example, it’s a nice little filler if you’re peckish whilst at home!