Healthy snacking


With Covid-19 many of our worlds have been turned upside down – people are confined to their homes away from their normal routines, work, friends and social outlets.

It’s no surprise that many of us are saying that we are snacking more often. But, while it’s understandable, there’s a risk that we snack more on unhealthy food during the day, which can cause us to put on unwanted weight and leave us struggling to eat the healthy meals we need.

Limiting unhealthy snack food takes a bit of planning and structure but it’s worth it and you might find it easier, and tastier, than you think.

Here are three steps to healthy snacking.

1. Have healthy snacks at the ready

Light snacks can include:

  • A piece of fruit
  • Vegetable sticks
  • A small pot of yoghurt
  • A glass of milk
  • 2-3 crackers / 1-2 oatcakes / 2 rice cakes
  • A handful of nuts and seeds
  • 2-3 breadsticks

Bigger snacks if you are genuinely hungry can include:

  • One slice of wholemeal toast with some mashed / chopped banana
  • A cheese, meat or fish sandwich using one slice of bread. You could add some sliced tomato and make a toasted sandwich
  • Cheese with two or three crackers or breadsticks. You can add a few grapes or apple slices
  • A small bowl of breakfast cereal and milk
  • A small bowl of homemade soup
  • Half a bagel with lightly spread peanut butter
  • A mini wrap with cheese, meat or fish filling. Add some veg and make a toasted sandwich
  • A mini wholemeal scone and low-fat spread
  • A small slice of malt bread  or teabrack
  • One crumpet
  • One bought pancake

2. Tackle the cravings

If you recognise and resist your cravings, it can help reduce the amount of snacks you have. Try to:

  • Have three meals and two snacks a day. Try to stick to this, as you’ll be more likely to have cravings if you leave long gaps between eating.
  • Delay 'giving in' to your cravings by distracting yourself and allow the urge to pass - drink a glass of water, go for a walk or talk to someone.
  • Drink more. You might be mistaking thirst for hunger. We should have about eight glasses or 1.2 litres of fluid each day. Milk and water are the healthiest choices.
  • Have healthy snacks ready to grab

3. Don’t bring unhealthy snacks into the house

Avoid bringing too many unhealthy, hard to resist, snack foods into your home as it will help reduce temptation. A good place to start is the food shop:.

  • Make a shopping list and stick to it.
  • Do your best not to fall for special offers - most of the food on offer in supermarkets is junk food.
  • Avoid going shopping on an empty stomach – have a small, healthy snack or a meal before you do the food shop.
  • Try not to  shop when you’re tired or stressed - we all are more likely to reach for our favourite “comfort foods”

Of course, most of us want something sweet in the day. We suggest a small amount (roughly 100kcal) and keep it for the time of day you will want it the most.