As we’re not moving as much whilst we work or study from home (no walking to the train station to commute or taking a gym class or joining in team sports), how much we eat is crucial to maintaining our optimal weight. Our advice is that you shouldn’t feel the need to snack if you’re eating satisfying and nutritious meals.
There are simple rules that you can implement to reduce snacking. These include front-end loading the calories (eat a good breakfast). An Up ‘n’ go doesn’t count!
We also recommend choosing three simple breakfast options like the ones below, then rotate them over the week. Eating a good breakfast will mean you’re less likely to reach for a treat an hour later.
Here are 5 healthy ideas for breakfast
- Bircher muesli (soak muesli + chia seeds overnight in milk and yoghurt and some stewed fruit)
- Smoothie (blend banana, yoghurt, nut butter, milk, cinnamon and ice)
- Smashed avo and feta on sourdough toast
- Fruit toast with nut butter and sliced banana + cinnamon
- Pan fried (in olive oil) or boiled egg on toast
Emerging evidence indicates that eating more food towards the beginning of the day may assist with curbing appetite and weight management. A systematic review conducted in 2020 reported that individuals who ate breakfast rarely were 1.48 times more likely to be overweight or obese compared to those who ate breakfast regularly. Another study of 94 women demonstrated the effects of “front loading” calories. All participants were put on a 1200 calorie per day diet; one group ate more of the calories at breakfast, the other, more at night. The ‘big breakfast’ group lost an average of five times more weight than the small breakfast group. Other studies indicate people who ate a larger breakfast ate less later in the day. The satiation effect of eating more food earlier in the day is real, so get that brekkie in!
Out of sight, out of mind
If it’s out of sight, you’re less likely to go for it. I keep my chocolate and biscuits in a hard-to-open jar, right down in the back cupboard behind all the pots and pans. Most times I actually can’t be bothered to get it out. When junk food is easy to access and at eye level in the cupboard, relying on willpower alone won’t cut it. Change the environment to make the healthier choice the easiest choice.
“It doesn’t take much to lose or gain weight.”
A slight imbalance in energy can result in weight gain or loss. For example, if you only ate 2 percent more than you burnt off, you would put on 2kg per year.
So, if your daily energy requirements were 10,000kJ, and instead you ate 10 200kJ (the equivalent of ½ a Tim Tam extra per day, you would gain 2kg per year.
Reducing food intake by only 100kJ a day will lead to 1kg of weight loss over a year. 100kJ is the equivalent of ½ Weetbix or 2 tsp sugar or 1/3 apple or banana or 1 Tbs honey or 1/10 of a Mars Bar (i.e. not much)
Keeping fruit at eye level in the fridge, means that you’re more likely to reach for it, because it’s easy. Have a small knife and chopping board ready to quickly prep the fruit when you need. Cutting it in advance can mean vitamin C is lost due to exposure to oxygen, so best to do it as you go.
“Eating foods high in fibre, like fruit prolongs the feeling of fullness for many hours, decreases appetite and may reduce the amount of food consumed at subsequent meals.”
Snack on protein rich foods
Protein rich foods – think nuts, cheese, yoghurt, tinned tuna help you feel fuller for longer. This is because protein quickly settles appetite and promotes greater satiety or feelings of fullness than foods high in carbohydrates or fat. High protein meals therefore have more ability to reduce energy intake from a meal, as well as intake from the next meal than do meals that are low in protein.
High protein foods, such as eggs produce the greatest satiety effect, and high carbohydrate foods, such as white pasta, lollies and biscuits do not have such a strong effect. However, one type of carbohydrate, fibre is a snacker’s best friend. Found in fruit, veggies, beans and whole grains, fibre does prolong feelings of fullness. The satiety action of fat is the weakest, which means it is easy to overeat fatty foods (enter Doritos!)
10 of my favourite snacking solutions
- 10 almonds + slice of cheddar cheese
- 1 Tbs hummus + 3 rice crackers
- 10 cashews + medjool date
- Mini apple and cinnamon muffin (homemade e.g. Teresa Cutter’s recipe)
- ½ apple + 1 Tbs peanut/nut butter
- 1 fig + 1 slice brie cheese
- Boiled egg with 1tsp mayonnaise
- Dried apricot x 2 + 3 brazil nuts
- Cottage cheese on rice cake
- ½ cup yoghurt + 10 sultanas/grapes
And most importantly…
Have a routine to avoid snackccidents
Here’s my daily routine which helps me keep on track, at other times, the kitchen is closed for business.
||Snack #3 (dessert)
Jakubowicz D, Barnea M, Wainstein J, Froy O. (2013) High caloric intake at breakfast vs. dinner differentially influences weight loss of overweight and obese women, Obesity. Dec; 21 (22)
Ma X, Chen Q, Pu Y, Guo M, Jiang Z et al. (2020) Skipping breakfast is associated with overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Res Clin Pract. Jan – Feb;14
Wahlqvist, M (2011) Food and Nutrition in Australia