The healthy snacks that won't ruin your diet
Sticking to a diet can be difficult. Resisting the urge to reach for that burger, chips or sweets when you're hit with a snack craving, can make a big difference to your health and your body.
Dietitian Bernice Venter says that the feeling brought by our cravings for snacks, is sometimes related to our eating behaviours and is often related to our hunger gene.
“There is a gene in your DNA that affects your leptin (a hormone that helps regulate and alter long-term food intake and energy expenditure) sensitivity. This is the gene that tells you when you are full, and if it doesn’t work properly, you may always feel hungry and tend to overeat," says Venter.
Venter added that there are important questions you need to ask yourself before you rush to the fridge you get your snack fix.
"Before you snack, ask yourself: why do I feel like a snack? There are many reasons why you may feel peckish, but believe it or not, hunger is generally near the bottom of the list. Do not make snacks as big as your main meals and plan to include snacks as part of your overall calorie intake. If you are going to snack on an ongoing basis, consider changing your habits to eating five small meals for the day, of which the snack is one,” says Venter.
If you are going to add snacks to your diet, she suggests you include these snacks as part of your daily food regimen.
Make frozen yoghurt buttons
Fill yoghurt in a plastic bag, cut the corner and pipe small buttons on a tray and freeze.
Crackers and cheese
Rice cakes or whole wheat crackers with cottage cheese and cucumber (remember three crackers is equivalent to one slice of bread).
Peanut butter balls
You can make these using dried fruit and rolled oats dipped into peanut butter (there are some great recipes online).
A small tub of low-fat plain yoghurt with a dash of honey (or dried fruit) and sunflower seeds.
“Bear in mind that you may be less active now, so be cautious not to eat more than usual. It is very easy to snack throughout the day, but before you know it, you could have eaten six meals per day,” adds Venter.