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What to eat for snacks

I was chatting to a friend earlier, who embraces MotherNaturesDiet and understands the basic principles, but she wanted to know about snacks. What is good and healthy to eat as a snack?

Let’s face it, we can plan all the meals, write the lists, do the shopping, organise our days…but there are times, no matter how well we have planned things out, that we all still need to grab a snack. And snacks, like other forms of ‘convenience food’ are where many people make the biggest diet mistakes.

Danger: sugar!

The world of snack food, within mainstream Western society, is a world of sugar and junk carbohydrates. Avoid! Sweets, chocolate, biscuits, shortbread, candy, cakes, buns…it’s all just sugar and it’s all bad for you. So I am quite understanding when people ask me just what exactly can they snack on that fits my beliefs and is healthy.

Cold meats and fish make good high-protein snacks. As for buying any meat and fish, look for food from outdoor raised, sustainably caught, good-welfare sources. Nuts make good snack food, but not all nuts are equal. Avoid peanuts. Don’t buy honey-roasted or salted nuts. Brazil nuts are yummy, but high in the wrong balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids, so go easy on the brazils. Lots of plain almonds (pictured), walnuts, plain cashews (watch out for salt) and pecans are good snack foods.

Fresh fruit is better than dried fruit

Fresh fruit and dried fruit can make for good natural snacks, but just be aware that all fruit is sugary, so don’t go too mad on it, not if you are trying to eat ultra-low-carb. Fresh fruit is loaded with good nutrients, lots of vitamins and bio-flavanoids and digestive enzymes, and it’s loaded with natural healthy waters too. Dried fruit has none of the natural live waters, but still all that fructose (fruit sugar), and you need to beware that dried fruit often has hidden chemical additives – such as sulphur dioxide and stuff to stop it all going black and grotty-looking!

Aside from organic meat, the best snacks are sticks of peppers, cucumber, carrot and spring onions. Strictly speaking, chick peas are a legume and we should not eat them, but if you want a hummus dip from time to time, frankly, I think it’s a pretty healthy choice…way better than a hungry trip to McDonalds or grabbing a Mars Bar from the corner shop.

Juices and smoothies make good snacks, but the reality is that if you have time to make a juice or a smoothie, you have time to cook a meal, so go easy on the fruit and if you are buying a smoothie ‘shop bought’ just be sure it’s not loaded with sugar. Best to make your own at home and take it with you in a flask, and drink throughout the day.

Healthy snacks are easy, they just take a bit more planning than the junk available in corner shops, petrol stations and convenience stores.

Happy snacking!

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