To go or not to go? And if I eat on the go, is it bad for me?
These questions have probably crossed your mind many times. Done right, healthy bite-sized foods can ease between-meal hunger, fill nutritional gaps and relieve energy slumps. Done wrong, not taking the time to have a nutritious on-the-go bite can leave you feeling hungrier than before and cause overeating.
We asked nutritionist and mum of three, Kathleen Alleaume to list her top pantry snacks.
What on-the-go foods should I be eating?
Generally speaking, if you’re looking for a quick, convenient fix that you can eat on-the-go to tide you over to your next meal, then your best bet is to pick something with staying power, rather than mindlessly chowing down on something that will send your blood sugars levels on a roller coaster ride.
When it comes to eating on the run, there’s a lot of focus on protein, but ideally you should look for something that contains a combination of slow releasing, high fibre carbohydrates for sustainable fuel and blood sugar control, as well as protein for appetite control.
The following bite-sized eats are easy to stash, safe to store and ready at your finger-tips. A combination of these will give you that protein/carbohydrate ratio.
Wholegrains are an easy way to boost your fibre intake, which is important for digestive health. Try some brown rice crackers or, if you’re in a bind in the morning, an Uncle Tobys Oats Breakfast Bake, which contains the same the amount of oats as a bowl of porridge (compared to a 34g sachet of quick oats), dishing up wholegrain goodness with Low GI for longer lasting energy. Coupled with a glass of water, a tub of yoghurt and a piece of fruit, it makes for a satisfying brekkie that you don’t need a table for.
Nuts/seeds are not only full of protein, gut-friendly fibre and heart-healthy fats, but also make a nourishing dietary staple. They’re incredibly versatile and also have a long shelf life. Aim for 30g (a handful a day). Yes, nuts are calorific, but research shows that regularly eating nuts can boost your resting metabolic rate by 5-10%, meaning that your body is burning more calories.
Dried fruit can satisfy that afternoon sweet craving while tiding you over with filling fibre. Paired with a handful of nuts makes a balanced snack.
Nut butters have the same health benefits of eating whole nuts and pair well with fresh fruit and wholegrain crackers. Avoid varieties with no added salt or sugar.
Popcorn is a wholegrain that also dishes up fibre and is relatively low in calories. Stick to plain air-popped varieties with no added fats and sugars.
Canned fish packs a nutritious punch offering the all-important omega-3 fatty acids and ready-to-eat protein. Eat them on top of those healthy wholegrain crackers.
Roasted chickpeas/beans have protein and fibre that helps to satisfy your hunger and reduce your appetite.