Is snacking good for you?

4 April 2017 by
First published: 2 April 2017

New research says people are snacking less. But is snacking good for you?

New research by Censuswide has found that nearly half of UK dieters are shunning snacking as part of their bid to lose weight, but is this really the right way to shed the pounds? Further statistics from The National Diet and Nutrition Survey have shown that UK women don’t get enough key vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin, iron and magnesium, which experts say could be as a result of our snacking hiatus. Specialist dietitian Lucy Jones believes that we are unwittingly putting ourselves at risk of nutrient deficiencies, and calls for ‘snacking sensibly’ with nutrient-rich nibbles and a healthy snack drawer for when hunger strikes. Here, Lucy provides 10 reasons why snacking is good for you.

1. It can be hard to eat enough fruit and veg if you only stick to meals. Eating more fruit and veg is one of the most important changes we can make to improve our health. By incorporating fruit and raw veg sticks within snacks, you have a better chance of including more throughout the day

2. Snacks can help you meet key nutrient needs. Many people don’t eat enough key minerals, including iron, zinc, selenium and iodine. Snacks can help you increase nutrient intakes, especially when you incorporate a variety (think: yoghurt for calcium and iodine, and almonds for zinc).

3. Planned healthy snacks can bridge the gap between meals making you less likely to graze on biscuits, chocolate and crisps.

4. Some snacks can even help you eat less at mealtimes. Studies have shown that a handful of almonds mid-morning helped people eat less at both lunch and dinner.

5. Snacks can help to keep your energy levels up, helping you to stay focused and concentrate better throughout the day.

6. Most of us eat far too little fibre, which has implications for our heart and gut. Snacks can provide helpful fibre in the form of fruits, veg sticks, oat bars, nuts, seeds and roasted pulses.

7. Having varied snacks can add interest, enjoyment and flavour to your day, helping your healthy food plan stay on track by stopping you feeling deprived and hungry.

8. Snacks can actually positively change your body shape. Research has shown that a snack of almonds each day, compared to a plain muffin of the same calories, helped to reduce belly fat and leg fat.

9. Snacks such as almonds are jam-packed with 15 essential nutrients, including 6g of protein and 4g of fibre in every handful – both of which help to fill you up and can help curb hunger pangs.

10. Snacking shouldn’t necessarily be seen as ‘the villain’ when you’re watching your weight. Snacking is a vital component to any diet, especially if you choose something nutritious and tasty. It’s all about identifying snacking saviours you can feel good about.