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A healthy approach to menu planning part 4: Snacks

by lizzi (follow)
Helping plant the seeds of positive birth. www.sproutbirthing.com.au
Nutrition (269)     
Think that not putting snacks on your menu plan means that you won't eat any? Think again!

By failing to plan for snacks you are planning to reach for whatever happens to be nearest when hunger strikes - and chances are that it will be something unhealthy and/or expensive.

Without a plan you may be more tempted to reach for some chips when hunger suddenly strikes. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Including snacks on your menu plan saves time, money AND your health. Here's how to do it effectively.

Step 1) Assess your current snacking habits.

If you usually eat only one snack per day then only include one snack on your plan. If you eat morning tea, elevensies, afternoon tea and supper, then include them all on your plan.

If you eat only one snack you may want to make it a fairly substantial one. If you eat several snacks then it may be better to make them smaller.

If you only have one snack per day a fruit salad with yoghurt is a filling and balanced option. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Step 2) Assess your nutrient needs

Look at the rest of your menu plan for the week and assess what needs to be added. Then add them as snacks!

Need more fruit? An apple or banana is an easy snack at anytime, or fruit and yoghurt can make a lovely after dinner snack.

Trying to get your 5 serves of vegies? Prepare some extra vegie sticks when you make dinner and put them aside to have with some peanut butter or hummous.

Step 3) Assess your schedule

There's not much point putting yoghurt on the snack plan if you are going to have to cart it around all day in your handbag. Check what your plans are and fit your snacks in accordingly.

If you are going to be out and about - bananas, crackers or little packets of sultanas are portable and durable.

If you are going to be at work and have access to a fridge then a tub of yoghurt is easy to eat quickly at your desk.

If you are at home then it may be no trouble to spoon out a bowl of fruit and yoghurt or chop up some cheese, tomato and avocado to go on a couple of crackers.

If you know that you are going to be home for a few days preparing a big bowl of chopped fruit can be a great option - prepare once for many snacks! My own image.

Step 4) Snack does not mean "treat".

While it is beneficial for most people to include some treats in their menu plan, not all snacks need to be treat food - there are many healthy "everyday food" options for snacks and these should make up the bulk of your snacking. Also remember that not all treats are a snack food. By looking at your menu plan as a whole across the week you will be able to see if you are having treats as meal options and therefore know that you need to keep the snacks as a healthier option.

This is a treat NOT a regular snack! Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

There's no reason why snacks can't be included in a healthy eating plan - and including them in your weekly menu plan will help you to save time, money and your health!

Prepare to snack well!

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