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Healthy Snacking

Snacking can be part of a healthy diet if we make good snack choices. Here's how...

Snacks can help fuel your day and provide valuable nutrients. They may also help keep hunger at bay and prevent you from over-eating later. On the other hand, snacks can be a source of extra fat, calories, sugar and salt. The key is to choose healthy snacks and sensible portion sizes.   

Food Groups: The EatWell Guide

You should choose snacks from the four main food groups in the Eatwell Guide. If you pick from various groups throughout the week, this can be a great way to bring more balance to your diet.  

Foods from the fifth food group - ones that are high in fat and sugar (such as crisps, biscuits, sweets and chocolate) - are not essential.  They should be treats, eaten in small amounts every now and then. 

Snack ideas from the main food groups

Fruit and vegetables

These are a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals, and can help you to reach your 5-a-day. Try:

  • A banana
  • An apple
  • Fruit salad
  • Vegetable sticks (with hummus)
 
Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates fuel your body throughout the day.  They are low in fat and a good source of fibre and minerals if you choose wholegrain options.  Be careful not to choose spreads or toppings that are high in fat or sugar. Try:

  • Rice cakes
  • Plain or fruit scone
  • Wholemeal toast/pitta
  • Plain popcorn
 
Protein

Most of us get enough protein from our meals, but these foods make good snacks as they keep us fuller for longer. Try:

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • A small handful of nuts
  • A tablespoon of seeds with low-fat yoghurt
 
Diary and alternatives

Many of us don't get enough calcium, so snacking on these foods can help you reach the recommended 2-3 servings per day.

  • Plain, unsweetened low-fat yoghurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Reduced fat cheese cubes
  • Low-fat milk or soy milk

 

Other healthy snacking tips

  • Check food labels and choose foods with lower levels of fat, sugar and salt.
  • Before reaching for a snack, ask yourself if you need to: are you really hungry, or eating in response to emotions, boredom etc?
  • Have a drink of water first as we often mistake thirst for hunger
  • Plan your snacks in advance, choosing healthy, balanced options
  • Avoid shopping when you’re hungry, as this tends to make us choose more unhealthy snacks

 

Need some support?

We know that making healthy choices can be tough. Try our Habit Hacker for ideas to switch your unhealthy habits for healthy ones, or contact our team to find out how we can support you on your healthy living journey.

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How does this work?

The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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