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Simple tips to practise healthier snacking both during and after the festive season
We know what you're thinking. The notion of dieting and eating healthy amidst the indulgent spreads of the Christmas season may seem intimidating, even impossible. But being a little more mindful about what and how you eat in between meals each day can also go a long way to curb hunger, prevent overeating and ultimately, improve your health.
In fact, Gleneagles Penang clinical dietician Jazeera Julaili cautions that even 'healthy' snacking' should be done in moderation, specifically not more 250 calories per day with a greater focus on snacks that are high in protein, fibre and good fats.
What are some examples of these healthier options and what distinguishes them from less healthy ones? Jazeera breaks them down for us.
What are the top misconceptions about healthy snacks?
The idea that the only options for healthy snacking are expensive nuts and fruits.
What is 'good fat', and which snack foods are rich in it?
Good fat is a combination of monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. There is high evidence on the relationship between higher intake of good fats and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Foods that are rich in good fats include tree nuts, avocados and Greek yogurt or low-fat yogurt.
What are some snacks that are rich in protein and fibre?
- Chickpeas in one medium cup (18.95g protein/3g fibre)
- Avocado tuna salad (18g protein/4g fibre)
- Yogurt parfait with chia seeds or oat brans (16g protein/7g fibre)
- Black bean scrambled eggs (9.5g protein/5g fibre)
- One cup or approximately 155g of edamame (17g protein/8g fibre).
Dieting is not undereating. It is about controlling the portions of meals, so we can still enjoy what we like.— Jazeera Julaili
What are the most important things to know about the habit of snacking?
Healthy snacking should train us to be mindful eaters and develop a good relationship with food (not feeling guilty about eating frequently).
When it comes to snacking, we should focus on protein and fibre intake instead of carbohydrates for longer satiety.
Dieting is not undereating. It is more about controlling the portions of meals, so we can still enjoy what we like. Overeating is a sign of failure to control our eating habits. Healthy snacking hence encourages better eating habits because it reduces overeating during the main meal.
Remember that everybody have their own unique requirements for main meal and snack portions (diabetic patients, for instance, have different requirements). Refer to your dietitian for a better understanding on this matter.
What are some good snacking habits that busy Malaysians can adopt for a healthier lifestyle?
Try homemade vegetable-based dips such as hummus and keep them in your office to eat with vegetables while you work. Employers can pre-empt healthier lifestyles in their workplaces by dedicating a section for healthy snacks. Another great option is ready-to-drink protein shakes under 200 kcal.
Bonus: Here's a list of healthy snacks as recommended by Signature Market's founder Edwin Wong: