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Ever found yourself exclaiming, “Ugh, I’m so full!” after a meal, only to find yourself reaching for those unhealthy snacks an hour later? Hmm? Chances are, that meal wasn’t as filling as you thought, especially if it consisted of hollow carbs, fats and refined sugars.
In this blog we are focusing on ways to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. These smaller meals and snacks are nutrient-dense and are better suited to your on-the-go lifestyle.
In one of our recent blogs, How to Spring Clean Your Diet, we looked at healthy ways to get rid of the junk factor in the foods we eat. Just like regular spring cleaning, it seems like a mission at first, but with a little planning it’s easy to implement. A lot of successful healthy eating hinges on improving the way we snack throughout the day.
Satiety refers to that feeling of fullness or loss of appetite that comes straight after eating.
Eating dense, nutrient-rich meals and snacks is the best way to help you feel fuller for longer. When you have sustained, slow-releasing energy, you improve your chances of long term weight loss and you reduce the need for unhealthy snacking. Sugar highs may feel great, but we can all agree: the crash is not so fun. Choose healthy, nutrient-dense snacks to snack yourself healthy.
Such a simple food, but packed with so much goodness and versatility. Oats rank third on the satiety index, making it an ideal snack choice to tide you over between meals. They are an excellent source of fibre and are low in calories.
Eggs aren’t known as nature’s perfect, nutrient-dense food for nothing. A single large egg can contain up to 6g of protein as well as all of the essential amino acids.
A recent study suggested that eating eggs for breakfast instead of a carb-based meal increased satiety and also resulted in fewer calories consumed over the next 36 hours. Another study suggested that a breakfast that included eggs and lean beef also increased satiety and led to better food choices overall.
A midday chicken salad with hard-boiled eggs is packed with protein, which may even carry you through to supper time. Enjoy hard-boiled eggs on their own between meals to keep you going as well – you may want to step outside the office before you eat them though! Your colleagues will appreciate that…
Did you know that Greek yoghurt is higher in protein than regular yoghurt? It’s for this reason that researchers think that it’s an ideal snack to keep you fuller for longer, even more so than regular plain yoghurt.
If you don’t have time to prep your oats or eggs in the morning, Greek yoghurt is a great alternative. It also makes a healthy (and yummy) between-meal snack to keep you going.
Plan ahead and keep a tub of Greek yoghurt in the fridge at the office, so you’re not tempted to pop to the shop for chocolates or chips. Greek yoghurt can be a little boring on its own though, so make it exciting with other filling snacks like nuts, seeds, dried fruit or raw honey. Greek yoghurt is also a great base ingredient for smoothies, so flip that switch and get blitzing!
We often think carbohydrates bulk up our meals, but vegetables do just as good a job, if not better. Vegetables are rich in fibre and water, which has been known to increase a feeling fullness during a meal. A recent study indicated that participants who enjoyed a salad before a bowl of pasta, ended up eating fewer calories and felt fuller overall.
Try and add veggies to most meals during the day. A warm butternut salad is super filling and delicious too. Swap regular potatoes for sweet potatoes on your roasting tray. Enjoying a chicken mayo sandwich? Be sure to add raw carrot, tomato and cucumber, or have it with a side salad.
Other than eggs, legumes have a great reputation as nature’s plant-based protein power sources, especially amongst vegans and vegetarians.
Beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, Peanuts, you name it… all are loaded with fibre, protein and have a low energy density (low in calories and fats). A recent study found that participants who ate pulses felt 31% more full than they did after having pasta or bread-based meal. Now that’s impressive!
These guys may be small and humble, but they can make such a difference to your diet. Snack on unsalted peanuts when you get peckish during the day, or keep a yummy, low-calorie three-bean salad in the fridge for when hunger strikes. A chickpea or lentil curry is so delicious, you won’t even notice that it’s meat-free.
Fruit has a low energy density, meaning that it is low in calories and fats. Opt for whole fruit pieces over fruit juices, as it’s the fibre you’re after for that feeling of fullness.
While dried fruit doesn’t have the water content associated with fullness, it is still packed with lots of fibre. It is also said to be an excellent source of antioxidants, especially polyphenols. Most fruit contains natural sugars, though it is wise to consume fruit, fresh or dried, in moderation.
Bulk up your breakfast oats or yoghurt with pieces of dried peaches, prunes, mango or apple. Make a tropical dried fruit mix with dried pear, pineapple, banana and mango and enjoy it in muffin mix, bread mix or pancake mix. Yum!
Not only are they jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals, nuts are so filling because of their fibre content. They are some of the easiest fibre-based snacks to get your kids to enjoy over sweets and chocolates, because they taste great and you can ‘hide’ them in almost anything, like granola, muffins, carob, trail mix and more.
Toss your favourite nuts over yoghurt, oats or salad, or mix them into your baking batter for a protein punch! A handful of nuts when you’re on the go will sustain your energy between meals.
Get a head-start on snacking well with Montagu Snacks.