Snacks often get a bad rap.
For years we’ve been told to stay away from eating between meals as much as possible but some studies show that snacking throughout the day can actually be beneficial for your health, as long as you do it right.
Overly processed, sugary treats like chocolate or chips are okay on special occasions but if you crave these kinds of things on a daily basis, you could be harming your body more than you know.
Luckily, there are so many ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt.
We’ve found the best snacks to eat throughout the day that taste great and will make you feel even better!
Best to snack on in the morning
If you find yourself struggling to last from breakfast to lunch without reaching for a sugary treat, get in on one of the biggest superfood trends of the moment and indulge in some chia seeds!
While eating the seeds by themselves will just leave you picking them out of your teeth for the next three days, you can add them to some Greek yogurt for the perfect mid-morning snack to curb any cravings.
They’re high in good fibres, antioxidants and proteins, plus they make you feel full for longer as they absorb a lot of water in your stomach.
That makes them a great, easy way to help with losing weight.
Best to snack on in the afternoon
There are so many alternatives to the classic potato chip these days, but not many of them can give you the same salty satisfaction you get from that crispy crunch.
If you’re overwhelmed by the seemingly infinite variety of ‘healthier chips,’ one of the most delicious and nutritious places to start is beetroot!
With a slightly sweeter taste than potatoes, beetroot chips are the perfect option, as the combination of the sweet and salty is a delicious element you can’t get in a regular potato chip.
Beetroot can also assist with weight loss as it helps increase your metabolism and reduce your blood pressure.
Next time you’re on your way home from work and find yourself at a checkout with a bag of potato chips, think about buying a beetroot and making some healthier chips instead!
Best to snack on for dessert
We all know chocolate is definitely a food to enjoy in moderation, but for some of us with a sweet tooth, it can be really hard not to reach for some after-dinner Mint Slice or Mars Bar.
A great alternative that is popping up more and more in health food aisles and cafes is carob.
Carob comes from a naturally sweet plant with a taste that is very similar to chocolate minus the high levels of caffeine, sugar or fat.
It is often sold in a powder form which can be used as a healthy baking substitute for chocolate powder or if you like snacking on chocolate bars, you can go to the health food aisle in your local supermarket and try a carob bar instead.
Best to snack on at midnight
For some of us night-owls, a midnight snack is just part of the daily eating routine.
If you find yourself staring at the pantry at 1am with a growling stomach, dates are the perfect option to fix those pesky cravings.
Dates are naturally very sweet and packed full of natural fibres and antioxidants that will leave you feeling full after eating just one or two.
They have too many health benefits to list including helping with brain health, muscle development and regulating the digestive system.
Popular snacks you should avoid
Lots of people think yogurt is good for you, but when it has vanilla, berry, or any other flavour, it has a lot of extra, unnecessary sugar.
Try buying plain yogurt and adding your own fruit to it instead.
While rice cakes seem like the perfect healthy snack, they are entirely made up of carbohydrates which can increase your blood sugar levels.
A handful of nuts like almonds, are a much better option if you want some nutritional value in your snack.
More often than not, protein bars are just candy bars in disguise as they are full of dangerous sugars and fats with only a little added protein.
Snack on some natural peanut butter instead for a healthier way to increase your protein intake.
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As well as being extremely salty, pretzels are almost entirely made from sugar.
They have absolutely no nutrients to fill you up which is why people tend to overeat them.
Grab a handful of air popped popcorn for a healthier alternative.
Oats can have some great health benefits, but when they are baked in oil and sugar to become granola, you get a high-calorie snack with no nutritional value.
A bowl of porridge with fresh fruit will give you the same satisfaction for only a fraction of the calories.
DID YOU KNOW?
Snacking is good for your overall well being. It can curb cravings, regulate your mood and keep energy levels up.
For those who get grumpy when hungry, snacking is the way to go, with 25 per cent of people saying eating a snack stopped them from having a public meltdown.