Snacks and drinks can be a great way to get more energy and nutrients into your day, but they can also be a source of empty calories – loads of energy, no nutrition.
Planning ahead each week is the best way to ensure you’re eating nutritious, wholesome snacks.
It’s also the best way to keep these ‘empty calorie’ snacks out of your diet!
1. Soft drinks
These are full of empty calories – sugar, sugar, sugar and no nutrition.
Diet soft drinks are no better. While they don’t contain any sugar, they are loaded with chemicals and can cause issues for your pearly whites.
Replace with: soda water. Jazz it up with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a dash of cranberry juice or a slice of cucumber and some mint leaves.
2. Savoury crisps and chips
The packet comes out of the cupboard every Friday night when the wine is poured, the footy is on or you settle in for a movie.
Most varieties promise that they contain 40/50/70% wholegrains, which may be true, but you’re also promised saturated fats, salt, artificial flavours, salt and more salt.
Replace with: air-popped popcorn or plain rice crackers.
3. Lite jelly
While this may seem like a good substitute for a fully-fledged dessert, you’ll think again when you see the ingredients list. Gelatine, flavours, sweeteners, colours and preservatives.
Replace with: a healthy dessert, calories and all – you’ll probably enjoy it more, feel satisfied afterwards and you’ll be giving your body what it needs – nutrients!
4. Milk chocolate
This stuff is addictive! With a hefty serving of saturated fat, sugar and salt, how could it be anything else?
Replace with: at least 70% dark chocolate – less sugar, less fat and you’ll get a small dose of antioxidants as well. If you’re really game, you could try 90% dark chocolate – it’s difficult to eat more than a few mouthfuls of this stuff!
5. Flavoured coffees
Think caramel latte, mocha and hazelnut macchiato. Syrups and powdered flavours will add a tonne of calories to your daily caffeine hit. Skip the blueberry muffin as well!
Replace with: a tea, long black or small latte and take the time to really enjoy it.
6. Staff kitchen biscuits
We all know the jar. The one that calls to you as you walk through the office kitchen to make yourself that cup of tea. Again, these tasty little morsels provide very little in terms of nutrients.
Replace with: snacks you pack from home that are both delicious and nutritious.
Also read: Free 12WBT Recipe: Cacao Fudge Bites
7. Sweetened yoghurt
Even the most natural-looking yoghurts at the supermarket with added fruit and sauces can be a calorie trap. Sugar is naturally occurring in yoghurt (around 6-8g/100g) which is perfectly fine, but some yoghurts can have up to 7 teaspoons of added sugar.
Replace with: a natural/Greek yoghurt, unflavoured and unsweetened. If you do need a little bit of sweet with it, add a drop of honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon or a few berries.
Keep your snacks and drinks simple, minimally processed and nutritious. Enjoy!
Written by Erica Grandjean, for 12WBT