WE all know that feeling when the munchies hit in between meals.
And more often than not you find yourself reaching for something quick to stop your tummy from grumbling, like a chocolate bar or a biscuit.
But if you're trying to lose weight, what you choose to snack on throughout the day can make a huge difference when it comes to shedding the pounds.
In particular, top dietitian Susie Burrell, from Sydney, says snacks can be used to "optimise metabolism" and "help control appetite throughout the day."
She writes on her blog: "The key thing to remember when it comes to snacks is that they need to be thought of as ‘mini meals’ and as such any snack we choose should ideally keep us full for at least two-three hours."
Here, Susie reveals the best snacks to munch on – and which ones you should steer well clear from.
The best snacks
1. Greek yoghurt and berries
Putting together calcium rich Greek yoghurt and antioxidant rich berries is a "nutritional match made in heaven", according to Susie.
She says: "Not only does the yoghurt have minimal sugars compared to many fruit yoghurts but it is also low GI which means it will help to keep blood glucose levels controlled for several hours after eating it.
"When it comes to fruit, any type of berries, fresh or frozen are relatively low in calories and packed full of fibre making them a perfect light snack choice in between meals."
2. Roasted broadbeans or chickpeas
Roasted broadbeans and chickpeas are a great snack as they are low in calories and a good source of protein and fibre.
Susie adds that they're an ideal treat to take you through to your next meal as they "can be purchased in portion controlled packs for a perfectly sized snack."
3. Nut based snack bars
But based snack bars are ideal for a midday snack as they help to "satisfy your appetite" and "restore blood glucose levels when you are hungry."
"All nuts are great choices nutritionally so you can either team 20 mixed nuts with a piece of fresh fruit to achieve nutritional balance with your snack or opt for one of the many nut bars on the market," Susie says.
All nuts are great choices nutritionally
"There are many options available, many of which contain fewer than 10g of sugars per serve which is relatively low for a snack bar and offers a portion controlled way to enjoy your nuts with a little carbohydrate in a tasty, appealing snack."
4. Cheese and crackers
While many people think cheese is more of a treat type food, Susie says that cheese is a great snack given its nutritional qualities.
She said: "Cheese is a nutrient dense food packed with protein, calcium and magnesium and when teamed with a wholegrain or corn based cracker offers a perfect balance of protein and carbohydrate as a filling snack option."
Snacks to avoid
1. Rice crackers
Rice crackers aren't actually the healthy snack that many people perceive them to be.
Susie says: "Nutritionally, rice crackers have very little to offer.
"They are a concentrated source processed carbohydrate and just ten rice crackers (or a single row) is the carbohydrate equivalent of two slices of lower carb bread.
Nutritionally, rice crackers have very little to offer
"So if you eat the entire packet you are looking at 100 plus grams of carbs, or almost your entire daily fuel requirement in a simple packet of crackers.
"The carbohydrate in rice crackers is also high GI carbs, meaning that they significantly increase blood glucose levels and a number of flavoured varieties also contain added MSG (621)."
2. Banana bread
Many people will opt for a slice of banana bread instead of cake in a bid to be healthier.
However, Susie says it isn't any better for you as it's still made from sugar, butter and white flour, which really equates to cake.
She says: "If you consider that the average muffin or slice of banana bread contains more than 60g of total carbohydrate, or the equivalent of four slices of bread, 20-30g of fat and at least four teaspoons of sugar, it is safe to say that there is nothing healthy about this popular snack choice."
From Hobnobs to custard creams, Brits love a biscuit with their cup of tea.
However, Susie says to steer well clear from the biscuit jar – as this snack offers very little nutritionally.
She says: "Biscuits are a potent mix of fat sugar and white flour and are so easy to eat mindlessly and add a couple of hundred calories into your day.
"When it comes to smart snacking try and avoid the biscuits entirely and think of them as special occasion treats rather than daily food habits."
4. Fruit juice
Lots of people assume that fruit juice is healthy given it's made of fruit.
Despite this, they're actually an extremely concentrated source of calories and full of sugar.
Susie's Banana & Berry Mini Muffins recipe
Recipe: Banana & Berry Mini Muffins
2 cups wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup chopped fresh berries
1/2 cup milk
A few drops of vanilla essence
Dark choc bits (as desired)
1. Combine wet ingredients with sifted flour and sugar.
2. Bake at 160deg for 20-25min.
Susie says: "When you consider that it can take up to three or four whole pieces of fruit to make a single glass of fruit juice, and that means the sugar and calories of each of those pieces of fruit, it starts to become clearer as to why fruit juice can quickly equate to a calorie overload.
"Unlike fruit itself, fruit juice does not offer the fibre or ‘full’ factor that real fruit offers."
Susie tells fruit juice lovers to try vegetable varieties instead which have far fewer calories and make sure any juice you do have is made using a single piece of fruit.
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