Nobody is immune to hunger pangs, especially the ones we get even after having a full lunch. They usually pop their dreary head because of not consuming enough fibre and protein—nutrients that are known to help keep you feeling full for longer. Often, dehydration can also be mistaken for hunger, or having a rushed meal at work may also lead to hunger pangs, as it takes time for your body to signal fullness to your brain. During times like those, reaching for the nearest cookie box or bag of chips is far from the answer. “Snacking on highly processed and refined foods like sugary snacks, chips, and candies provide empty calories as they lack nutritional value. Trans fats, commonly found in many packaged snacks, are detrimental to heart health,” reveals culinary Nutritionist and Holistic Wellness Coach, Eshanka Wahi.
Impacting both short-term and long-term health, sugary and sodium-laden snacks can lead to energy crashes, mood swings, and increased cravings for more sweet treats. Salty treats are also associated with bloating, water retention, and elevated blood pressure, which can contribute to cardiovascular problems over time. “Opting for whole, minimally processed foods can help stabilize energy levels and support overall well-being,” confesses Wahi and shares her go-to energy-boosting snack recipes that won't spike your sugar levels:
- Chia seed pudding: Mix chia seeds with almond milk and let it sit overnight. Top with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey for a delicious, nutrient-packed snack.
- Roasted chickpeas: Toss chickpeas in olive oil and your favourite spices, then roast until crunchy. These make a satisfying and protein-rich snack.
- Greek yogurt parfait: Layer Greek yogurt with granola and sliced fruits for a balanced snack that provides protein, fibre, and essential vitamins.
- Vegetable sticks with hummus: Cut carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers into sticks and pair with homemade hummus for a crunchy and satisfying snack.
- Trail mix with nuts and seeds: Combine almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit for a nutrient-dense trail mix that's easy to carry and provides a quick energy boost.
Sure, you can carry all the healthy snacks in the world but how do you curb excessive snacking in the first place? Eshanka directs, “Stay hydrated throughout the day. Plan balanced meals with a mix of protein, fibre, and healthy fats to keep you satiated. Additionally, practice mindful eating by paying attention to hunger and fullness cues." She also suggests that engaging in activities that distract you from unnecessary snacking, such as taking a short walk or practicing deep breathing exercises to manage stress-induced cravings, can also help!