Working from home at the moment?
You might be at a safe distance from the cakes and cookies yet another co-worker brought in for their birthday – but you’re in perilously close range of your kitchen cupboards!
Being in close proximity to snacks makes it all too easy to start rifling through drawers and cupboards for biscuits to have with your (ninth) cup of tea or crisps to crunch on while you scroll through your emails.
Research suggests we eat more when we’re mindlessly snacking or distracted. Double or triple a snack serving, and you might find yourself gobbling up the caloric equivalent of a meal, which could push you over your daily SmartPoints® Budget.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t snack while working from home. In fact, healthy snacks can help you reach your weight loss goals because they:
1) Prevent overeating
Because snacking between meals fends off hunger, it may help curb food cravings and reduce the possibility of overeating at your next meal, particularly when you pair ingredients that are high in protein and fibre, according to a 2016 review of studies on snacking published in the journal Advances in Nutrition.
2) Curb sugar cravings
If you tend to reach for sweets when you feel extra hungry, pairing high-fibre and high-protein foods may also help alleviate that urge. Fibre helps to slow the rate of digestion and absorption in your gastrointestinal tract, WW’s head of nutrition and wellness Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN says, while protein requires more “work” to break down and digests at a slower rate. It’s one reason why pairing an apple (for its fibre) and cheese (which serves up protein) rather than choosing one or the other may help you feel fuller for longer.
3) Provide nutrients
Your body needs both macronutrients (i.e. fat, protein and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to function. But as it happens, consuming nutrient-dense foods can also help you lose weight in the long run: in a 20-year study of 120,000 adults conducted by the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, researchers found that people who ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, yogurt, nuts, and wholegrains rather than low-quality foods (i.e. crisps, sugar-sweetened beverages and processed meats) were more apt to lose weight than gain it over the course of two decades.
Stay on track snacks
To stay on track, position pre-prepared, pre-portioned healthy snacks within easy reach of your desk (like a piece of fruit) or at the front of your fridge or cupboards (like a small pot of 0% fat Greek yogurt or a serving of raw nuts).
Other great snack ideas include hard-boiled eggs, cheese cubes, grapes, crackers with low-fat spread, and dried fruit (remember to count the SmartPoints). As a rule, if your savoury snack contains protein, fibre and/or healthy fats, it’s most likely a healthy choice.
Scroll down for 12 snack recipes to satisfy your munchies and tide you over until your next meal.