With many people working from home or spending more time at home due to the coronavirus, healthy eating can certainly be challenging.
With the fridge and pantry within easy reach it can be tempting for more of those discretionary or ‘sometimes’ foods (lollies, chocolate, chips, biscuits, fried foods, takeaway) to sneak in that we wouldn’t normally have during our usual routine.
Having healthy snacks on hand can help you make more nutritious choices throughout the day. Let’s take a look at some snack ideas to help keep you healthy while spending more time at home.
When choosing your snack options, focus on foods that fall into one of the five core food groups (vegetables, fruits, milk, yoghurts, cheese/alternatives, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and lentils/legumes and wholegrains). Try to choose a variety of different foods so that a) you don’t get bored and b) you get a variety of foods and nutrients. Head to the Eat For Health website for more information on the five foods groups.
A great snack on its own or pair with natural yoghurt and/or nuts and seeds for extra flavour. Go for fruit that is in season and choose whole fruit over juices. This gives you the benefit of fibre. Choose a variety of different fruits for vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E and magnesium and potassium.
Getting more veggies in can be easier when they are added as a snack. Cut veggie sticks the night before or in the morning so that you have some ready to go. Like with fruit, choose a variety of different vegetables for fibre, vitamins and minerals. If you’re sick of the usual carrot or celery think outside the square and include cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas or capsicum to increase variety. You could also try veggie-based dips like hummus or babaganoush (an eggplant based dip).
Dairy and Alternatives
A great source of calcium and protein. Most people need 2 ½ serves of dairy/alternatives per day (this increases to 4 serves for women over 50 years). A serve is equivalent to 1 cup of milk (or alternative fortified with calcium), 200g yoghurt or 2 slices of cheese. When the mid meal hunger cravings hit, enjoy a yoghurt-based dip like tzatziki with your veggie sticks, or a slice of cheese or spread of ricotta on your wholegrain crackers.
Lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
Good sources of protein which makes you feel full and excellent sources of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc and B12. Enjoy a small handful of nuts or a boiled egg as a filling snack.
Breads and cereals
Go for the wholegrain version which is higher in fibre. Fibre helps to prevent constipation and takes longer to digest which can make you feel fuller for longer. Whole grain breads and cereals are also good sources of B vitamins folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, iron, vitamin E, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus.
Don’t forget to keep hydrated. Water is the best drink, but you may wish for something different every now and then. Go for low to no sugar drinks like herbal tea, mineral water or water flavoured with fruit.