Healthy Snacking As Part of a Healthy Diet

Posted by Lynda on November 16th, 2012 (Diet, Nutrition, Weight Loss)

Healthy snacking as part of a healthy diet – healthy snacking tips and ideas from Sydney dietitian Lynda Hamilton.


Healthy snacking is ok as part of a healthy diet, because little and often is better for our bodies than 3 large meals a day.   Eating 3 big meals a day puts stress on our digestive systems as it struggles to process a large quantity of food in one go – and leaves you feeling sluggish and lethargic.  We all know how we feel after a large heavy meal!

If you eat 3 smaller meals with 2 healthy snacks in between, our blood sugars remain steady throughout the day and provide us with sustained energy levels.   Healthy snacking also means you never feel hungry or dissatisfied, and have an opportunity to eat a greater variety of foods in your diet – foods which provide you with all your nutritional needs.

Healthy Snacking Rules

1. Quantity

Of course there are rules to healthy snacking as part of a balanced diet – and the first is quantity.  Quantity is an essential part of a healthy diet – it is not necessarily what you eat but how much you eat of it and how often.  If you add healthy snacks to your diet but continue to eat 3 big meals a day, you will be increasing your calorie intake and put on weight.

2) Balance & Variety

A healthy diet should be balanced and full of variety. There are portion guided snacks of chocolate and ice cream in the healthy snack list below – after all, we all need a sweet treat sometimes – but do not overindulge.  If you just chose the chocolate and ice cream options every day as your healthy snack, you will not lose weight or be eating a healthy balanced diet with a variety of nutritional sources – so vary your healthy snacks.

Healthy Snack List For A Healthy Diet

  • A piece of fruit – or chop up a couple of pieces to make a fruit salad.  You can eat half now and pop the other half in the fridge for tomorrow.
  • 2 tablespoons of low fat yoghurt – add a few blue berries,  sliced strawberries or  half a banana
  • Chopped raw veg (eg carrots, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli) with 1 tablespoons of hummus, lentil or bean dip to eat them with.
  • 30g of microwave or air popped plain pop corn (no oil)
  • Regular muesli bar (without chocolate)
  • 30g of unsalted nuts or seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seed)
  • Low fat ice cream with a few dark chocolate shavings on top.  Or make your own healthier ice cream – read Two Sin-Free Ice Cream Recipes
  • 4 squares of dark chocolate (with a cocoa percentage over 70%)

How to Make Unsalted Nuts Delicious

If you find plain nuts bland, toast them for added flavour.   Put a frying pan over a medium heat on the hob (no oil).  When the pan is hot add a layer of nuts of seeds – don’t over crowd the pan.  Shake the pan for a few minutes until the nuts or seeds are toasted and brown – you will know they are ready because they let off a wonderful nutty aroma.

When ready, shake them onto a clean baking sheet to cool – they continue cooking if you leave them in the hot pan and burn.  Once cool put in a jam jar or air-tight container and sprinkle a desert spoon over yoghurt, salads, low-fat ice cream or fruit salads.

By Lynda Hamilton

Lynda Hamilton is an  Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist BSc, BHSc (N&D) at Hamilton Dietetics.  If you would like to speak to a dietitian in Sydney, get in touch with Lynda.


Written by Lynda

Lynda Hamilton is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist BSc, BHSc (N&D) and member of Dietitian Association Australia (APD).

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