How to snack smarter

The secret is simple: you have to rethink what a snack is – or isn’t, says dietician Keri Glassman, author of The Snack Factor Diet. It isn’t dessert, for example. A snack doesn’t have to be sweet, chocolate-dipped or contain more than 630kJ. “It can be real food, like oats with 10 walnut halves sprinkled on top,” says Glassman. And the experience can still be indulgent if you focus on taking a break and recharging your body. More ways to make your treat go further:

Description: Description: How to snack smarter

Cut it in half

A 2010 Journal of the American Dietetic Association study found that people who were given the same snack, either whole or cut into halves, consumed half as much when eating the latter, possibly because they considered only the number of items (not the size of the items) they ate.

 Plate it

Description: Description: Everything I eat goes into a dish, which helps me keep portion control in mind

Albers has a few tricks she uses to avoid mindless munching: no eating from a serving bowl, out of a big bag, or while standing at the kitchen counter. “Everything I eat goes into a dish, which helps me keep portion control in mind,” she says.

Chew more

Besides helping you feel full, chewy foods may brighten your mood too. A 2009 study in Physiology and Behaviour suggests that the act of chewing can decrease the level of stress hormones in the body. The mechanism may be physiological (chewing can increase blood flow) or psychological (either chomping diverts our attention from stress or we simply associate it with mealtimes, when we tend to be relaxed).

Make your own snack packs

Dole out small portions of your favourite snacks into plastic ziplock bags. Scott believes that home-made servings don’t trigger the same overeating as shop-bought packs because the size of the food isn’t deceptively smaller – only the amount you’re allowing yourself to eat is limited, preferably to a portion that satisfies you.

Munch Meter

Description: Description:  A low-calorie breakfast

A low-calorie breakfast

Some eats can be downed with near abandon; others need to be reined in. Try these snack suggestions from dietician Keri Glassman

All you can eat (really!) No need to limit these filling, low-kilojoule treats:

·           Air-popped popcorn

·           Raw veggies such as sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes

·           Steamed artichoke (dip in a warm mixture of flat-free yoghurt and Dijon mustard)

·           Fresh berries

·           Cucumber slices marinated in rice vinegar and topped with chopped red onions

Take it slow. Enjoy these healthy snacks; just don’t go wild:

·           One hard-boiled egg dusted with sea salt and black pepper (290kJ)

·           A 30g chunk of Parmesan cheese (460kJ)

·           Three slices of chicken breast wrapped in lettuce, with a little mustard (293kJ)

Proceed with caution. Portion control is key with these nutritious but high-kilojoule eats:

·           Half an avo with lemon and sea salt (670kJ)

·           A quarter cup of raisins or other dried fruit (515kJ)

·           About 15 nuts or one tablespoon of all-natural nut butter (420kJ)

·           Two tablespoons of hummus (210kJ)

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