Many people are aiming to kickstart 2022 by shedding the lockdown pounds or just picking up healthier eating habits.
But starting out on a new diet regime can leave people feeling hungry and despite good intentions, they find themselves snacking on unhealthy foods like crisps and chocolate to get through the long work day.
We’ve spoken to the experts to find out the best snacks that you can get in your local Tesco’s and SuperValu that will help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions – and the snack foods to avoid!
Irish nutrition expert, Laura Warren, from Kilkenny, who runs Elite Living Health & Nutrition said that if you are on a good healthy meal plan, you shouldn’t feel the need to snack. But if you do, it’s about choosing the right food.
“No diet plan should make you hungry,” she said. “If it does, it’s nonsense. You should feel full and you should feel rejuvenated after a day of eating the right food. Snacks then will become secondary.”
She continued: “If you keep your protein high, you won’t feel the need to snack because protein will naturally keep you full. But obviously then you need the whole macro-nutrient; a mixture of fibre, good fat and carbs in there as well.”
The multi-award winning health and nutrition professional had one surprising tip for supermarkets, saying to avoid shopping for snacks in the inner aisles.
“In relation to healthy snacks, first off avoid the inner aisles in a supermarket,” she said. “They’re like traps with all the processed food and refined sugars.
“Shop on the outer aisles where all the lovely fresh vegetables and fruit and freshly baked bread and foods are in abundance.”
Laura advised that with the right food stocked in your fridge, it will be easier to choose healthy snacks when you get cravings.
“It’s all back to basics,” she said. “If your nutrition is right and you open up your fridge and the right food is in your fridge based on a customised plan that’s given to you, you’ll know then forever what’s not supposed to be in your fridge.”
In terms of portion size, Laura says she doesn’t advise her clients to count calories but says it’s about practising self-control.
She said: “Open up the palm of your hand for a portion size of nuts and don’t eat any more than that. The same with berries. You have to remember the more you eat, the more your tummy will crave so we need to shrink that.”
Here are Laura’s top 12 healthy snacks you can find in your local supermarket:
Peanut butter with slices of banana on McCambridge Brown Bread
Manhattan Popcorn – make sure it’s not the buttered one
Handful of mixed nuts – almond nuts, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts
Greek yogurt with berries – pop in a scoop of good quality protein powder and mix it around to make a mousse
A few squares of Green & Blacks Organic Chocolate (80-90%)
Apple slices with peanut butter
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Homemade energy balls
Cucumber with smoked salmon
Tomatoes stuffed with Shines Irish Wild Tuna in Olive Oil
Hard Boiled Eggs
Veggies with homemade hummus
Four common go-to snacks to AVOID:
Laura said that it is possible for people to lose weight just by eating healthy, though she recommends for her clients to do at least 20 to 30 minutes of brisk walking a day.
“Live by the 80/20 rule,” she said. “80% of the abs are made in the kitchen, they’re not made in the gym. You can exercise till the cows come home but if you don’t go home and eat the right food you’re at nothing.”
She said that while there is plenty of free information online a lot of it is based on yo-yo dieting and recommended for people who are serious about losing weight to speak to a professional.
“There’s no easy answer for anybody but the first step is putting up your hand, saying “I’m after putting on weight. I want to do something about it’.
“It’s incredible the amount of people out there that want to be healthy but they just don’t know what to do.
“Once they engage in the services with a professional, get a little bit of guidance, motivation, encouragement, they’re off. They have the blueprint for the rest of their lives in relation to healthy eating.”
For more expert tips on healthy eating and nutrition, you can follow Laura on Instagram @elitelivingnutrition