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Does guilt-free snacking exist? The answer is yes, as long as you are disciplined and stay away from the unhealthy options as they are the main contributors to weight gain. Unhealthy snacking can easily add as many kilojoules as your energy intake from three meals.

Why snack time is good for you

  • The digestive system copes better with food intake divided into small portions throughout the day.
  • Healthy snacks help to add valuable nutrients that are scarce in the staple foods we consume during main meals.
  • Snacking can help with appetite control, notably if the snacks are rich in protein and healthy fats.
  • Snacking can support weight loss – regular eating helps maintain a fast metabolism. What you eat, of course, is as important as how much you eat.

Keep in mind

  • Portion control vs. kilojoule counting. Sensible snacking is incorporating healthy food items that can be enjoyed in moderation. Be sure to check the labels on your snack foods and try to stay at about 500 kilojoules or less per portion to prevent excessive energy intake that would result in weight gain.
  • When snacking derails the diet. Late-night snacking and snacks purchased on the run prove to be the ones that most contribute to unhealthy eating and excessive energy intake. Plan for these eventualities by stocking your late-night snack cupboard with healthy options, and always carry healthy snack options with you.

Five handbag snacks

  • 10–12 Almonds. Snacking on small portions supports appetite control due to the high protein and fat content.
  • 5 Dried prunes. Prunes are packed with antioxidants that are anti-ageing as well as low GI, so they will keep you fuller for longer.
  • 20 g Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is lower in sugar than regular milk chocolate and supports mental alertness due to theobromine in the cocoa.
  • 30 g Rice cakes. These rice cakes are made with brown rice and are gluten free, ideal for an in-between snack.
  • 45 g Lean biltong. Biltong is packed with protein, iron and other minerals. A substantial snack to arrest an out of control appetite.

Five late-night snacks

  • Chamomile tea
  • Two rice cakes with cottage cheese and honey. The combination of chamomile tea, dairy and honey is known to boost feel-good serotonin levels and calm an anxious mind.
  • One medium banana
  • One teaspoon peanut butter. Not only a yummy combo, but rich in potassium and protein, important nutrients for rest and recovery.
  • Two corn cakes with avocado and lemon pepper. An ideal way to cram more omega 9 oils into your diet to support a healthy heart.
  • Half a cup of carrot sticks with a quarter cup of low fat hummus. This taste combination is magic and a snack that will chase away a nightmarish late-night appetite.
  • Half a cup Greek yoghurt with one tablespoon of blueberries. Greek yoghurt is delicious on its own and very filling due to its high fat content.

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