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Healthy snacking

It is fine to snack - so long as you maintain a healthy balance of foods and keep yourself active. If you feel hungry between meals, or you know it will be a while before you eat your next meal choose snacks that provide energy (preferably in the form of starchy carbohydrate), vitamins and minerals and not too much fat, sugar or salt.
You can use the eatwell plate as a quick, at-a-glance guide for choosing healthier snacks. The eatwell plate shows the types and proportions of foods that we need to eat to make up a varied and well balanced diet, so foods from the four main food groups make good choices for snacks. Try to make sure that that snacks you choose compliment other foods you eat during the day, i.e. choose a snack from a food group you may not have already had. For example if you had toast and fruit juice for breakfast, a yogurt would make a good morning snack. If you ate cereal and milk for breakfast, a banana would be a good morning snack choice.

Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta
These foods contain plenty of starchy carbohydrate to provide the body with energy throughout the day. They are a good choice if you are particularly active, especially before or after sport. They are low in fat, and contain even more fibre and minerals if you choose wholegrain types.

Try these easy snack suggestions:

  • A plain or fruit scone (with low fat spread and jam)
  • A small bowl of wholegrain cereal with semi-skimmed milk
  • A small sandwich or slice of toast with banana and a little honey
  • A handful of rice crackers or a rice cake
  • Half a bagel with low-fat cheese spread
  • A hot cross bun or two slices of malt loaf with low fat spread


Fruit and vegetables

Many of these foods are perfectly packaged for snacking, at home or on the go: bananas, clementines and apples, for example. Keep some fruit in a bowl somewhere it's easy to grab.


Here are some more healthy snacking ideas:

  • A handful of dried fruit
  • Some carrot, cucumber or celery sticks with cottage cheese
  • Some chopped melon or pineapple (canned or fresh)
  • Some frozen grapes


Milk and dairy foods
These foods are a good source of protein and calcium. Try:

  • Some low-fat yoghurt or fromage frais
  • A low-calorie hot chocolate mix made with semi-skimmed milk
  • Some cottage cheese and plain crackers
  • A fruit smoothie made with semi-skimmed milk or low fat yogurt


Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein

Foods in this group are a good source of protein and provide important vitamins and minerals needed for good health. Try:

 

  • A handful of unsalted nuts
  • Peanut butter and crackers
  • Lower fat hummus and vegetable sticks
  • A bowl of bean or lentil soup
  • Sardines or baked beans on toast


What about crisps, chocolates and sweets?

These foods belong to the smallest food group - Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar - so its fine to have them but only in small amounts . For those that are high in sugar it is better to have them as part of a meal than a snack between meals.

 



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