To answer that question right off the bat, yes, they can be. But it can become a little more complicated that to simply tell people, yes, have snacks all day long!
First of all, what is a snack? It’s basically either some food in either a solid or liquid form that you consume in-between your main meals. It can be literally be anything! The concern is when people tend to have snacks when they are in fact not hungry for it. This is where it can become more complicated than simply saying eat all the time. I generally encourage some snacking to my clients, but only if they are truly hungry in-between meals. This could be because their meals are spaced far apart or they’ve done some exercise throughout the day, or the day before which has increased their appetite. A snack can consist of many different options. Depending on the person, I would encourage a fibre source (i.e. fruit, vegetable and/or whole grains) and a protein source (meat, non-meat options, nuts/seeds…) to help ensure that they remain satiated until their next meal. But that doesn’t mean that, as a dietitian, I will ALWAYS recommend a fruit or vegetable. My recommendations will change from person to person.
Sometimes choosing the right snack for you can be tough. There are so many pre-made options that you can choose from it can be confusing. If you do decide to choose a pre-made option (i.e. like a granola bar), I highly recommend to choose one that is lower in sugar and higher in fibre and protein. This way it can help carry you to the next meal. But if you have 10 minutes or so on your weekend I will challenge you to make your own granola bars! It’s actually quite simple. There are many recipes to choose from and again you still want to make sure that they are lower in sugar and higher in fibre and protein.
This recipe that I found from www.runningwithspoons.com is actually quite tasty! To make sure that it would be suitable for me (being Celiac and all!) I used certified gluten free oats and I used peanut butter instead of almond butter (just because I had PB) and they turned out quite delicious! If you need to avoid honey due to IBS/FODMAP issues, you can substitute with maple syrup.
Here’s the link to the recipe! http://www.runningwithspoons.com/2014/01/07/soft-and-chewy-protein-granola-bars/
What are some of your favorite snacks?
I work as a Dietitian and definitely walk the talk. I love to cook and help people get back to being healthy again.