By GMB Advisor, Nutritionist Stephanie Malouf
Snacking, is it important or is it best avoided? There’s a lot of mixed opinions as to whether snacking is a good thing or a bad thing. My advice is to listen to your body. If you get hungry or experience an energy slump between meals, then I recommend that you have a small protein containing snack. If you feel fuelled and satisfied between meals, then there is no need to eat for the sake of it and over-snacking can impair your digestion.
For most clients however I recommend that they have a snack around 3pm in the afternoon as this is a common time people experience low energy, brain fog and you guessed it, sugar cravings. The key to snacking is to make sure it contains protein, slow releasing energy carbohydrates and have it just before your energy slump to keep your blood sugar levels stabilised. Here are some of my favourites.
Hummus is made from chickpeas which is one of my favourite carbohydrate sources. They are packed with fibre making them a low GI and also high in protein. Most hummus recipes contain tahini which is a source of healthy fats made from ground sesame seeds and a great non-dairy source of calcium. Pair together with some veggie sticks such as carrot, celery and capsicum for a filling snack. It’s also a great way to sneak an extra serve of vegies in to hit your 5 serves a day. Some of my favourite brands are Pilpel and Yalla or DIY using my quick, easy and super delicious humus recipe here.
It’s hard to find a good quality snack bar that uses all natural ingredients, is low in sugar and free from nasty vegetable and industrial seed oils that drive inflammation in the body such as canola, rapeseed and soybean. Table of Plenty's snack bar is made with olive oil which is rare in commercial products as well as natural and plant based proteins such as wholegrains, legumes, pea protein and seeds providing 7.2 grams of protein per serve and only 1.2g of sugar! This bar also has the added bonus of containing inulin fibre which is a great prebiotic food that feeds the good bugs in our guts keeping them in a happy and healthy balance. If you have savoury palate, this one’s for you. It’s absolutely delicious! Better yet, it's available at your local Coles Supermarket for easy shopping convenience!
Nuts & seed mixes are a great source of protein and good fats which is the perfect combination to keep the sugar cravings at bay. Doing it yourself means you can add all your favourite nuts & seeds and you know it’s free of added salt, artificial flavours or roasted in cheap oils. High protein nuts include almonds, peanuts, pepita seeds and sunflower seeds. Dry roasting them on low heat with a sprinkle of a spice such as cumin or paprika makes them even more moreish. Enjoy a small handful with a piece of fruit for a balanced snack.
This is a regular snack choice of mine particularly around the colder months to warm and nourish my belly. A cup of bone broth contains approximately 10g of protein and is low in carbohydrates. What I love most about bone broth is it’s a gut healing superfood, due to its gelatin content. Gelatin is a natural remedy for reducing inflammation in the gut and healing and sealing the gut wall. This is a great one if you experience any digestive upsets such as bloating or bowel irregularity or looking for a low carb high protein snack option. Bone broth takes hours and hours to make in the kitchen so my convenient go to is Undivided Food Co’s GOOD BONES Bone Broth which is certified organic.
Raw natural nut butters are a great source of protein and good fats that keep you satiated. Spreading it on sliced apple and finishing off with a big sprinkle of cinnamon satisfies your cravings for something sweet whilst also stabilising your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon is a great natural way to improve your insulin sensitivity and efficiently use carbohydrates as fuel instead of storing them as fat. The recommended amount is 2 tsp a day so go nuts on the cinnamon! Great supermarket brands include Pic's Peanut Butter(Click here to buy) or Mayvers Peanut Butter or the Melrose ABC spread.
Finding a good source of natural, wholesome protein can be difficult if you aren't prepared. Luckily these protein ball mixes by The Fit Foodie are ideal for those who lead a busy lifestyle and need an afternoon pick me up or a post work out snack. These mixes are free from all egg, dairy and animal products as well as include a small natural list of ingredients such as nuts, seeds, coconut and raw cacao. The low sugar content makes it a perfect choice to kick the afternoon sweet cravings as well! All you need to do is simply make the batch and you have a tasty protein snack for each day of the week ahead!
With so many protein and snack bars on the market it can be overwhelming to separate the good from the bad. The raw bar range from the Health Food Guys boasts a natural, organically sourced list of ingredients that free from chemicals and pesticides as well as ensuring the naturally occurring enzymes and vitamins are retained in the product. Their delicious cacao & goji berry bar is a high fuel snack great for those days you’re out and about and have a big gap between meals or you need a big energy hit. Ten healthy high-protein snacks you can eat on the go.
What's your favourite healthy protein snack? Let us know in the comments below!