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Life First dietitian Nicole, shares her favourite wholesome snacks.

When it comes to a healthy diet, in most cases it turns out that your choice of snacks could be your undoing. A CSIRO report gave Australians a ‘C’ on their report card, adding that a key area for improvement was our overconsumption of discretionary foods. The average Australian male and female consume 23.9 serves and 17.1 serves of discretionary foods a week respectively.

It is easy to understand why our consumption of these unhealthy food and drink choices is so high. Unhealthy snacks and beverages are addictively sweet and they’re arguably more readily available than healthy alternatives. Which is why we spoke to Life First dietitian, Nicole Akdagcik for her tips on how to choose the perfect snack and her favourite wholesome snacks.

But firstly, we asked her if we should be snacking at all? Nicole explains that there isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes to snacking. But before you have a light bite ask yourself if you’re actually hungry or just bored? And is it a healthy snack choice? Sorry, that vending machine packet of chips and sugary muesli bar is out.

Now comes to the fun part, what snack to choose. To find a wholesome snack that fits the bill, Nicole recommends this formula:

  • less than 600 kilojoules (150 calories) per serve AND
  • less than 3 grams of saturated fat per serve AND
  • less than 200 milligrams of sodium (salt) per serve AND
  • less than 15 grams of sugars per serve.

So what fits the above? So many more options than you think, but here are seven of Nicole’s favourites.

1. A handful of nuts – make the perfect snack as they deliver heart-smart nutrients like monounsaturated fat, fibre, magnesium and vitamin E. They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and are super convenient and portable.

2. Fresh fruit – is a convenient snack with so many varieties on offer to suit all tastebuds. It is recommended we eat 2 serves of fruit per day so choosing fruit as a snack is the perfect way to help meet the nutrition guidelines for optimal health.

3. Low-fat yoghurt – a great snack as the protein content makes it satisfying, it is also a source of calcium for strong bones and helps improve gut health.

4. Vegetable sticks with hommos – we should aim for at least 5 serves of vegetables per day. Adding veg as a part of your snack helps to meet this nutrition guideline. Plus, adding a low-fat dip such as hommos or tzatziki also has the benefits of tasting great and added protein to satisfy your appetite.

5. Low fat milky coffee – has been shown to have health benefits when drunk in moderation and can provide the energy boost you need to get through the day.

6. Popcorn - a great snack if you are craving something salty. When popped fresh at home with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, it is a healthy, satisfying snack, much better than picking up a packet of chips.

7. Nut bars – these are similar to a muesli bar, however, have a much higher proportion of nuts. They are convenient on the go snack that can be kept in your bag so an easy option to have on hand and prevent the vending machine temptation when mid-meal hunger strikes.

You may also be interested in the following articles: 

  1. Vegetable consumption helps with reducing the risk of cancer
  2. THE CSIRO Healthy Diet Report shows Australians have room for improvement
  3. 9 things a dietitian wants you to know about long-lasting healthy eating



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