Snacks add to your daily calorie count so choose wisely.

Nuts

Nuts are packed full of protein and fibre, and are a rich source of vitamins E, B6 and folic acid. But they are also high in calories, so a small handful is enough to curb hunger pangs.

• Pick non-salted varieties to help you stay within the recommended maximum of six grams of salt a day.
• Nuts with lower fat levels are pistachios, cashews and almonds. Chestnuts contain the least amount of fat.
• Almonds are the richest in calcium, which helps keep your bones strong.

Low sugar or lower glycaemic index foods (GI).
The glycemic index or GI describes this difference by ranking carbohydrates according to their effect on our blood glucose levels. Choosing low GI carbohydrates – the ones that produce only small fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels – is the secret to long-term health reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes and is the key to sustainable weight loss.

Good low GI snack choices include:

• soft dried apricots
• fresh fruits
• fruit bread or malt loaf
• a small piece of cheese with cherry tomatoes.

The basic technique for eating the low GI way is simply a “this for that” approach – i.e., swapping high GI carbohydrates for low GI carbohydrates. Simple ideas:
• Use breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran
• Use breads with whole grains, stone-ground flour, sour dough
• Reduce the amount of potatoes you eat
• Enjoy all other types of fruit and vegetables
• Use Basmati rice
• Enjoy pasta, noodles
• Eat plenty of salad vegetables
• For more information see – http://www.glycemicindex.com/ – they have search database – you can put in a food and it will tell you what GI it has. Alternatively see http://www.the-gi-diet.org/lowgifoods/

Choose 5 a day or more fruits and vegetables

Choose fruit as a snack to get in your five a day. Variety is key, so choose a rainbow of coloured fruits throughout the week to get the best mix of protective antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Raw vegetable snacks are tasty ways to curb your hunger pangs. Make them into a treat by dipping them in hummus, cottage cheese or even olive oil.

Choose healthier crisps

Try crisps made from other root vegetables such as beetroot and parsnip, which contain more fibre than traditional crisps. Going from one pack a day to a pack a week can save you a massive 56,000 calories and 3.5kg of fat a year.

Drink water not fizzy drinks

A single can of fizzy drink can contain as much as six teaspoons of added sugar – ’empty’ calories that offer very little nutritional value. Fruit juices also contain sugar, but they come with a whole host of vitamins and minerals as well.

Take it easy on cereal bars

If you have a sweet tooth and think a cereal bar is a healthy choice, you may need to think again. Some cereal bars are loaded with added sugar, which can appear on the label as glucose, dextrose or glucose syrups. Look for bars where sugars appear after most of the other ingredients in the list. This will mean that only minimal amounts have been added.

Not all biscuits are equal

If you can’t have a cuppa without a biscuit to dunk, opt for plain wholegrain biscuits like oatcakes and digestives, and try to keep it to just one or two. Most biscuits are 50 calories. One cube of chocolate averages 25 calories or more depending on the size of the cube.