Is snacking bad for you? In short, kind of. It is a bad habit that will most likely lead to weight gain due to the caloric surplus, meaning you are intaking more calories than you can metabolise and burn off. However, it is without a doubt that snacking is healthier than starving yourself. And besides, you would be astonished at the number of healthy snack options there are for you. Just remember, if your goal is weight loss or maintenance, snacking is best kept to a minimal.
The most apparent and healthiest choice will go to fruits. Bananas, apples, strawberries, pineapples, avocados, oranges, grapes, lemons and grapefruits are all excellent options. Packed with nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins while being low in calories, these high in fibre snacks can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. It is also possible to blend it all up to make a fruit smoothie for those with difficulties swallowing
Mixed plain nuts are another great option, but keep in mind, the salted or flavoured versions are often high in salt and possibly sugar as well which when consumed in high amounts can be very detrimental. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and more are high in fibre, protein and fats. This brain food, when eaten in small amounts, may actually help you reduce weight as it is rather filling.
Another healthy snack would be carrots/cucumber with hummus. Sliced carrot or cucumber sticks with a hummus dip does not have many calories while being rich in vitamins and fibre. While both carrots and cucumbers are weight loss foods, carrots have been linked to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, whereas studies have found cucumbers may help in reducing blood sugar levels. On top of that, hummus is primarily made from chickpeas and olive oil with the oil being an anti-inflammatory, combatting inflammation.
For something with a lot more flavour while being very beneficial for the heart, cherry tomatoes with mozzarella is a perfect choice of a snack. Both tomatoes and mozzarella help reduce the risk of heart disease. Tomatoes are packed with nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins, boosting your immune system. Mozzarella is a cheese high in protein and calcium. It also raises HDL cholesterol, the type which absorbs the bad cholesterol and carries it to the liver to be removed from the body.
Lastly, simple hard-boiled eggs are one of the healthiest foods to eat when feeling peckish. They are low in calories but high in nutrients, managing to still fill you up for hours, reducing the other foods you eat, possibly helping you with weight loss. It is rich in vitamin B and protein, and while eggs may have gotten backlash due to its high cholesterol content, the cholesterol found in eggs is not found to have much effect on blood cholesterol and hence the heart.
Whatever you're eating, be mindful of the amount and type of food you are putting into your body. Most people require some form of snacking to maintain their levels of energy in between their meals. However, there are always healthy snacks out there; it is just a matter of whether you choose to eat them over the unhealthier options.