The world of health can be excruciatingly confusing. Some health experts tell us to eat one meal a day, while others say it’s imperative to eat a minimum of nine. Yikes!
While there are generally agreed upon rules like:
- Eat your vegetables, especially the green ones.
- Limit your intake of processed foods.
- Eat till you’re satisfied, not stuffed.
The rest of it can be somewhat mind-boggling.
Snacking is one of those topics that many health experts disagree on. While some say snacking is futile if you’re trying to lose weight, others say it’s essential for blood sugar regulation. If you’re confused about where to turn for advice, there’s only one person you should be listening to – and that is yourself.
Yep, that’s right. You’re in charge. Not me or anyone else.
We’re all different shapes and sizes, have different schedules, exercise at varied levels and have different goals we’re trying to achieve. All of these things play a part when it comes to deciding whether snacking is a good option for you.
In a nutshell, the most important thing is that you’re getting enough of the nutrients you need to fuel your body and make it work and feel well. If that means eating three larger meals a day, that’s good. Or, if that means eating three smaller meals and a few snacks, that’s the way to go for you.
If you’re choosing to snack, my advice is to avoid highly processed foods as much as possible. Eating processed foods, more than the act of snacking, is the problem we’re facing with our modern diets. These foods can wreak havoc on our hormones, waistlines and energy levels; the highs and slumps.
To paint a clearer image, let’s imagine your gut and your brain have just started dating. They swiped right, went on a first date and it felt like the stars were aligning, destiny was playing out, etc etc. Instead of texting, the gut and the brain communicate through their master communication hormones, known as leptin and insulin. If the gut is continuously fed excess sugars and refined carbohydrates, it can send mixed messages to the brain, hindering their ability to communicate effectively. This can overload the brain, making it resistant to the messages. This can then impact our gut’s ability to maintain a healthy weight and regular appetite.
One of the best ways to help their communication and reignite their connection, is by avoiding excess sugars and too many refined carbohydrates. It’s time to stop giving them mixed signals! If you want to know how to improve their connection, and along the way, help out your hormone regulation, reach a healthy weight and show your gut some love, check out my book, Supercharge Your Gut.
If snacking works for you and you want to cut back on refined sugars and carbohydrates, what kinds of foods are the best to turn to?
Below are my top five gut-friendly snacks plus a couple of new ones that won’t spark or spike your blood sugars but rather, give you sustained energy and keep your gut happy too...
One of the most underrated on-the-go snacks of all time is a piece of fruit. Yep, it really can be that simple. If you do want to supercharge that snack and add in a gut-friendly hit, why not add in some fibre-rich chia seeds? If you want to wrap your fingers around something that’ll chia your digestion up, you can’t go past my Strawberry and Chia Roll Ups.
If you’re in need of something a bit heartier than a piece of fruit, there’s nothing better than sipping on a smoothie. When I’m on the go, I pour single-serve portions of smoothies or smoothie bowls in a glass jar, so I’ve always got access to a wholesome snack. My two favourite smoothies at the moment are my Hello Vera Smoothie for some extra-gut loving and my Chocolate and Raspberry Smoothie Bowl if I’m in need of something sweet and need to boost energy levels. I like to chew my smoothies rather than slurp them up in one go to make them easier to digest.
Sometimes, all I feel like is a hearty slice of bread, but I don’t just want any piece of bread. I want a full-dose, gut-loving, crunchy, aromatic piece of bread filled with pumpkin, spice and everything nice. When that’s the case, my Golden Gut Pumpkin and Nut Loaf is my go-to. If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for (seriously, go do it now!)? I love combining it with nut butter for an energy hit. I always make sure to keep some in my freezer pre-sliced, so I can defrost it and enjoy it any day of the week.
You know when you’re hungry and bored… but you’re more bored than hungry and just really want something to do with your hands. Bring on my Apple Cider Gummy Bears.
They’re a supercharged treat that are extremely palatable and contain loads of gut-healing ingredients including gelatine and apple cider vinegar, making them great for our immune system, gut and overall well being.
If you’re hunting for some munching, I’ve got just the things to get you crunching. Celeriac fries and Plantain Chips!
I’m not sure why these vegetables aren’t more well-known, but let’s keep them as our little secret, shall we? I have two chip recipes for you that’ll fry your mind.
Celeriac isn’t the prettiest of veggies, but its performance makes up in taste what it lacks in beauty. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, these fries make a delicious snack.
Plantain is like a less sugary banana that requires cooking. It offers a great dose of Vitamin A and C, zinc, magnesium and potassium. They're now available in supermarkets too, they look like bananas but bigger! Plus, they’re just extremely delicious.
Try out these two recipes and let me know what you think 🙂
- 3 large celeriac, peeled and cut into 4 cm (11/2 inch)
- 1 tablespoon cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
- Celtic sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
Toss the celeriac fries in the olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Place in a baking dish and roast for 30–35 minutes, turning them once or twice, until they are crispy.
Note: The thinner the fries, the crisper they will be.
- 1 plantain, sliced thinly on the diagonal (a mandolin is great for this)
- 1–2 tablespoons oil of choice (I use light olive oil or spray them with macadamia oil)
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds or sesame seeds and sea salt, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Toss all the ingredients together and spread on baking trays.
Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until crisp, flipping the chips over halfway through.
Enjoy warm, or leave to cool, then store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.