Lockdown has been associated with more eating occasions and a higher intake of refined carbohydrates, especially sugar.
According to Tiger Brands’ Eat Well Live Well: State of Nutrition Report 2021, there has been a noticeable decline in snacking, with 51% of South Africans eating more snacks in August 2020 than in April 2020 compared to 29% in May 2021.
This suggests that consumers are looking to make smarter choices when it comes to what they eat, how much they eat, and also when they eat it.
Whether you are looking for something crunchy or savoury, marketing manager for Jungle South Africa Kershnee Kallee and registered dietitian Mbali Mapholi of Mbali Mapholi Inc, have shared some of the healthiest snacks to incorporate into your diet.
Kallee says in the morning, especially just after waking up, our cortisol levels are at their highest and this can increase the motivation to eat or snack on sugary treats.
To avoid a sugar high and the inevitable drop that comes after it, they recommend reaching for slow-digesting carbohydrates.
Kershnee Kallee’s snack suggestions
Morning snacks to get you moving
A handful of nuts
These are a great source of plant-based protein and reap a number of health benefits.
Homemade trail mix
This could include nuts, popcorn, dried fruit, high fibre crackers, or biltong.
Afternoon snacking when energy is lacking
A cup of plain yoghurt
Being a fermented milk product, yoghurt is full of probiotics, which are made up of good bacteria and are known to help reduce inflammation and allergies and boost the immune system. Add a teaspoon of honey to sweeten.
A piece of fruit (or a snack that contains fruit)
Mapholi adds that a treat is defined as ‘an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure’ and that treats are therefore occasional foods, usually very appealing and delicious, but sadly, often rating poorly on the nutrition scale, being high in fat, salt, and sugar.
Mbali Mapholi’s snack suggestions
Great as the on-the-go snacks, high in vitamin and minerals, fibre. In their natural form fruit are not high in sugar as we eat them with the skin and all the natural fibres that help slow down the natural sugar (fructose) in them.
Low fat or fat-free plain yoghurt
Filling, low sugar, and low in saturated fat. Provides nutrients such as calcium that we need for the development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth.
Seeds and nuts
You can add these in plain yoghurt or eat as is. They are high in mono-unsaturated fats that help reduce cholesterol and contribute to a healthy heart. Fibre also helps keep our gut healthy, plus they are high in other essential vitamins and minerals.
Low energy snacks that are also filling, help curb the urge for crisps. Homemade popcorn is better, the corn kernels are kept in their natural state. High in fibre, minerals and vitamins. Fantastic as part of a weight-loss diet.
Variety of raw vegetables with a low-fat dip (hummus or low-fat plain yoghurt or cottage cheese)
These dips are high in good quality proteins, vegetables are packed with all plant nutrients as well as vitamins and minerals which are essential to protect ourselves from diseases.