health

"Plain nuts bore me": The no-BS fridge and pantry snacks a dietitian always has on hand.

We’ve all been there. Track pants on. Bra off. Hair in a topknot. Checking the fridge for the seventeenth time that day, yet somehow, it still hasn’t magic-ked up any snacks you actually want to eat. 

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Here’s how to avoid hanger with my favourite fridge and pantry snacks that do the nutritional most. 

Sidenote: I like to create a snack section in my pantry and fridge, which is the first drawer/shelf I look at when opened. It has all my healthy snack options in one spot, so I don’t have to go foraging, feel like there’s nothing to eat, then end up with chocolate in hand.

Fruit.

Yes, it’s obvious but I don’t tend to eat my two serves of fruit recommended a day with my meals, so I prefer to get it with my snacks.

Personally, I find plain apples really boring, but adding nut butter makes them more interesting. Also, think beyond your usual oranges, apples and pears. Persimmons are in season right now and really delicious and sumo citrus season is coming up. If you’ve never tried them, do yourself a favour. 

Top tip: Sure, a crisper will keep your fruit longer, but if you forget it even exists, then it’s going to go to waste, anyway. Put them in prime view.  

Image: Supplied

Chicknuts.

Aka dried or roasted chickpeas are a favourite high fibre and protein snack of mine. They come in delicious flavours like chilli and salt and vinegar and tick those crunchy, tasty and salty boxes. 

Fancy cheese.

If I’m feeling like a high calcium, high protein option, I like to eat bocconcini straight from the container. For something a bit bougier and even more delicious, try smooth ricotta mixed with a bit of honey. 

Yoghurt.

Look, you might like plain Greek yoghurt, but I know I’m less likely to eat it than yoghurt that’s naturally flavoured. I recommend trying different brands and different flavours as nutritionally it’s better not to eat the exact same one every time. Plus, you’ll also get a variety of probiotic strains that way. 

Muesli bites and bars.

If I need something sweet, I love bite-sized pieces of seeds and nuts put together in cubes, or just a good old-fashioned muesli bar. I like Carman’s fruit free muesli bars and keep one in my nappy bag and a box in the car. They’re my emergency hanger busters.

Popcorn.

I’m the kind of person who owns their own popcorn maker. Even if you’re buying popcorn, though which might have added sugar and salt, it’s still a healthier option than chips. Plus, it’s high fibre.

Trail mix.

Plain nuts bore me, so instead I like to snack on trail mix and pistachios. If they’re in a bag, I find I don’t eat them, so I decant them into snack-size Tupperware to grab if I need to run out the door. 

Dried fruit and dates.

I like to have on hand Medjool dates and other dried fruit, like dried pear. Sure, fresh fruit is better for you, but if I’m craving a lolly, this often hits the spot. 

Here are five of my top snacking tips, below.

1. Forget the calories. 

A healthy snack isn’t 100-150 calories, but one that satisfies you until your next meal. If you need something more substantial like a bit of muesli on top of your yoghurt, go for it. And please, don’t count your almonds. 

2. Use it to ‘crowd’.

I love using my snacking as a way to crowd in more foods I want to eat, rather than think about foods I can’t. For example, getting your two serves of fruit a day and a dose of calcium. 

3. Have a pre-commute snack.

If you’re back in the office and find you always get home from work ravenous, plan for a post-work, pre-commute snack to get you through to dinner.  

4. Eat carbs before exercise.

They’ll give you good energy and a better workout, so you’re more likely to repeat it. My pick? A banana or a piece of wholegrain toast with avo.

5. Decipher hunger versus habit. 

If mindless snacking is a problem for you, aka, it’s not coming from a physical hunger, but an emotional one, work out where the habit happens (is it on the couch, at your desk, in the car?) and why - and take steps to change it. 

My online program for ending binge and emotional eating Keep It Real can help with this. 

Dietitian and best-selling author Lyndi Cohen would rather count happy memories than almonds. As the founder of the  Back to Basics App and Keep It Real, an online program for ending binge and emotional eating, Lyndi offers serviceable expert advice without the wellness wankery. She also has a loyal Instagram following  @nude_nutritionist where she regularly serves up Photoshop-free body appreciation posts, recipes, health tips and more.

Feature image: Supplied; @nude_nutritionist.

What do you like to keep in your fridge and pantry for snacking? Share with us in the comment section below.

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