Have you got a snack-dispensing machine in your office? I do and it’s become Enemy #1 — sitting there loyally with its soft white light, showcasing a gallery of temptations.
The snack machine’s top asset, of course, is convenience. Not looks. And that’s the good news: you’re better placed to resist its offerings by being well armed with your own set of snacks.
(Even better, with snacks that help you combat daily stress; not the type that take your blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster ride.)
Here’s what to look for…
Snacks rich in B-vitamins and Iron
The “two main energy-releasing nutrients [are] B vitamins and iron, a mineral known to cause tiredness when in short supply,” says nutritionist Catherine Saxelby (www.foodwatch.com.au).
Try sunflower seeds and low-fat dairy, for instance
Snacks high in Omega-3 fatty acids
“The type of fats you eat can have a profound effect on your brain function since 50 per cent of the brain is made up of fat! The cells that transmit signals in the brain are unusually rich in omega-3 fats, meaning this fat is really important,” says dietitian Sue Radd (www.sueradd.com).
Try linseeds, walnuts or an omega-3 enriched hard-boiled egg.
Choose fruit; or look for snacks with the right mix of carbs, fats and protein.
“If you get hungry during the afternoon or are working late and need to top up to last till dinner, first of all have a piece of fruit,” says Radd. “Or try one of the following quick and easy suggestions. They contain the right types of carbohydrates and fats and don’t cost the earth in kilojoules.”
- Small pack (30 g) of mixed nuts (785 kJ)
- Small can of baked beans (585 kJ)
- Small can of vegetable soup, for example, Dr John Tickell’s 12 Vegetable Soup Minestrone (490 kJ)
- Small pack (40 g) of sultanas (460 kJ)
- Small carton (200 g) of natural low-fat
- yoghurt (420 kJ)
- Small banana (360 kJ)
- Medium cob of corn (350 kJ)
“Adequate water is needed to keep brain cells functioning optimally,” says Radd. As Saxelby adds, “Drink at least 8 glasses of fluid a day. Fluid includes not just water, but also herbal teas, clear soup, juices and low-fat milk.”
Up-size your snack
Nutritionist Associate Professor Catherine Itsiopoulos from LaTrobe University recommends these more filling snacks – for when the stress is really biting:
- Raisin toast or crumpets with ricotta cheese
- Fruit smoothie with yoghurt, low-fat milk and fresh fruit
- Pita bread with hummus
References available upon request