With the recent news that Brits are scoffing an average of 1,412 calories a day in sweet and savoury snacks between meals, some people will be relieved to know that it is indeed possible to snack and make your calories count.
Last year, Public Health England and the Department of Health launched their ‘One You’ campaign to encourage adults to reduce excess calorie consumption.
The official guidance recommended consuming 400 calories at breakfast, 600 for lunch, and 600 for dinner, with total daily calorie intake recommendations remaining at 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men.
Sticking to the 400-600-600 recommendation leaves us 400kcal (500kcal for men) outside of our three main meals for discretionary calories which can include healthy snacks.
Registered dietitian, Juliette Kellow, has some advice to help make your snacking count.
“Being careful about calorie-creep is important, but it’s also important to appreciate that not all calories are created equal. When selecting snacks to fit in with the PHE guidelines; choose options that deliver high nutritional value such as a handful of almonds. Bursting with natural goodness and high in fibre, one portion of 23 almonds (28g) contains 160 calories along with important nutrients, energising protein, and good fats, for a snack that will help you stay strong throughout the day.”
“When cravings kick-in, it’s easy to resort to sugary treats like chocolate and biscuits but if you opt for a more nutrient-packed snack, such as a handful of almonds (about 28g), you will reap more benefits. Almonds are a high source of fibre and natural source of protein, both of which are associated with increased sensations of satiety that will tide you over until your next meal. Almonds are also high in magnesium, which contributes to a reduction in tiredness and fatigue.”
Not only does a handful of almonds deliver a sensible number of calories, but, in a study, researchers used a method different than the traditional way of measuring the calories in almonds and found that a 28g serving of whole natural almonds (about 23) contains 25% fewer calories than what’s shown on the packet.
A separate study found that a mid-morning snack of almonds (42g), compared to no snack, helped control appetite and resulted in reduced calorie intake for participants over the rest of the day, suggesting that almonds may be an optimal snack for helping to combat hunger.