Words by Charlie De Haas
So it’s ‘that’ time, time for a little bit of yumminess to get you through your day…aka ‘snack’ time, but instead of reaching for the block of chocolate you have wisely decided to go with a protein ball, a nut bar, or a handful of raw nuts.
You start mindlessly snacking in front of your computer screen and all of a sudden your snack has ‘disappeared’. What just happened?! And you’re still hungry. You didn’t even pay enough attention when eating it to enjoy it or for your digestive system to realise you were eating. But it’s healthy, right? You’re thinking you may as well go in for seconds so at least you can taste it this time.
If the above scenario sounds familiar, you are not alone. In fact, I was there once and this is one of the many healthy food traps that people fall into.
Healthy fats such as nuts, avocado and oils, as well as complex carbohydrates like sweet potato are good for you and vital for a balanced diet. It is always better to choose a more nutritious food option over empty calories but that being said, you need to remember that calories are still calories. Nuts are high in fat, dried fruit is high in sugar, and if you don’t want to be packing on the kilos you need to eat them mindfully and treat your snacks as just that.. snacks!
It is also important to learn to read your labels (read our tips here). If you don’t understand what an ingredient is, then how is your body supposed to understand it enough to know what to do with it? The rule of thumb is to try to avoid packaged foods, but if you can’t, buy the product with the least amount of ingredients in it. If a product is made of only four ingredients, odds are that they should be good ingredients.
While nuts offer so many health benefits, they are also high in fat so if you want to snack on them, firstly think of what you have eaten earlier in the day and secondly portion them out so there isnt any temptation for just one or two more. For example, if you had a nutty muesli in the morning, you may want to reconsider your mid-morning nut snack.
Yes, dried fruit is full of sugar so you really want to eat it in moderation. Sugar will give you a healthy high, but might make some people ‘crash’. To feel good again, we often reach for more sugar, creating highs and lows of energy and insulin for your hormones to sort out.
If you want to eat dried fruit, have a date or two with a couple of nuts (such as 10-15 nuts) to even out your GI.
Not all protein balls are made equally. Look at the back of the packet and make sure that you understand what the ingredients are. If you don’t understand what is in the product, then don’t eat it. Alternatively you could make your own with one of these delicious recipes or try one of mine from the Clean Treats Factory.
It’s a sad fact that many things in the health food aisle of your local store are not actually good for you. In fact, most of them are laden with hidden sugars from honey, syrup, yoghurt and other similar things.
As a general rule, avoid anything in a packet unless it has 4-5 ingredients or less, or if it has more, make sure you know what they are.
This one would probably get most people. With the exception of natural greek yoghurt, or something similar, many yoghurts are often laden with sugar. Always read the back of the package and NEVER opt for low fat!
One of the best healthy snacks ever, however this is another one to eat mindfully.
As with anything, different hummus brands use different ingredients to make their product and many packaged brands are full of unnecessary ingredients! It is very important to read the back of the packet and avoid the products with sugars, cream cheese etc. as they are just adding additional calories to a product that is already somewhat calorie dense. Better yet, make your own with this delicious recipe.
Most crackers are processed so should be eaten in moderation. Consider switching to carrot or capsicum sticks to make the snack healthier, and (note to self) don’t polish off the dip in one go!
TOP TIP: I recommend having a treat a day to keep the binge away, and make it your ‘you’ time. Sit outside, breathe and have a little time out while cherishing your treat.
Charlie is the young Sydney entrepreneur behind The Clean Treats Factory.
After having a tough few years, which included struggling with an eating disorder, a binge eating problem and a negative relationship, Charlie decided to move to Sydney to change her life around.
After moving to Sydney, Charlie started Clean Treats, studied integrative nutrition and beauty therapy.
Stay tuned for many exciting projects that are on the horizon in the next 12 months.