Guest post by functional medicine nutritionist and yoga instructor Klara Mudge of bothsidesbuttered.com.
People regularly ask me about snacking. We have open and courteous conversations about The Snack, like it’s some sensitive political dispute or a trending sex thing.
“Are you a snacker?” I get asked in earnest. “What time of day? Alone or with others? How much and what?”
If you know me for longer than a minute you’re aware that I don’t count calories. I’d rather count the individual hairs of my unkempt brow. Or a colony of ants in a sugar bowl…twice.
The science on The Calorie is stale as chips.
Not all calories are created equal anymore, and some naturally high-calorie foods are super healthful and helpful at burning fat (I’m looking at you, almond).
So these days all I have for a low calorie diet bar is the finger between my index and ring. “Not today, faux food. Special K my special A.”
I’ve spoken about the benefits of the right snack. I preach about blood-sugar-balance like there’s no manaña. Hangry is real. So is adult-onset diabetes and the colourful array of less-than preferable conditions along the way.
I judge snacks first by their proportion of protein, fat, and micro-nutrients, and second by the proximity of that snack to its original source. So the flesh and juice of a coconut that falls at your sand-kissed tootsies on a tropical beach is an example of THE holy grail–good fats, protein, alkalising elements and glorious minerals.
At the other end of the spectrum is the aluminium-wrapped 10-ingredient, factory made, truck-transported ‘health’ bar from your local “convenience” store.
Here are the 3 main tried and tested and tried again tips for smart snacking, from one loop-hole A-hole to another:
1. Don’t be lazy
If you oversleep, skip breakfast, chug a liter of coffee or matcha to wake your brain up and then grab the jam sandwich to-go at 2pm because “it’s all there was and I was STARVING!” then, I have a total of ZERO sympathies for you.
Chop two minutes off your pre-sleep cuddles with Instagram and pack your washed grapes and nut mix in a jar ready to take to work tomorrow.
Also soak your overnight oats or chia pudding. That simple.
2. Make your meals matter
Here’s a candid fact: If you have a hearty breakfast full of good proteins, fats and antioxidants you will not want to eat any crap at all until at least lunch time. Same goes for lunch- if you get a massive green leafy salad piled high with unrefined carbs (sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, farro), good proteins (chickpeas, fish, steak, lentils, goat’s cheese, nuts) and healthy fats (avocado, olives, flaxseed oil, toasted coconut), then you’re setting yourself up for a productive afternoon filled with all the concentration and none of the munchies.
3. Fruit is not your get out of jail free card
Well done you bought a banana instead of a chocolate bar, here’s a medal. Now give it back because you’re still spiking your blood sugar if you don’t combine that baby with some legit protein. Have your monkey fruit with a spoon side of straight-out- the-jar nut butter. Or blend it in a smoothie with almond butter, ice and fibrous fresh berries. Medal be yours!
Check out my 7 healthy snack ideas.
Meet Klara Mudge