Dr Ingrid van Heerden has put together a list of eight easy-to-make snacks that are both healthy and filling for people on the go.
The basic principles of keeping your blood sugar levels steady and preventing hunger pangs are:
- Use high-fibre or low-GI breads;
- Combine your carbs with a serving of protein;
- Use legumes and nuts to stabilise your blood sugar levels;
- Low-fat milk and dairy products are high in protein;
- Deciduous and citrus fruit and berries are low-GI
Here are eight healthy and yummy snack ideas:
1) Wholewheat or Low-GI bread with crunchy peanut butter, jam/honey and sliced banana
High-fibre and low-GI carbohydrates combined with the protein and monounsaturated fats in peanut butter keep blood sugar levels steady for longer. Add 1 teaspoon of jam or honey and sliced banana to make a tasty snack.
2) Tuna, sweetcorn and apple roll
Combine drained, flaked tuna with creamed sweetcorn, a chopped apple and a dash of mayonnaise and chutney. Eat with one or two wholewheat or low-GI rolls.
The tuna protein, maize kernels, chopped apple and the low-GI carbohydrate will keep you feeling full for longer. Research indicates that individuals who eat fish at least twice a week have a lower incidence of heart disease.
3) Boiled egg, ham, tomato, gherkin and Feta salad
Cut hard-boiled egg into slices, mix with chopped ham, tomato wedges, gherkin slices, Feta cubes and fresh lettuce. Add lite salad dressing or balsamic vinegar.
Egg, ham and Feta protein are all low-GI foods and the salad dressing or balsamic vinegar also lowers the GI of the meal. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which may protect against prostate and other cancers.
4) Grilled chicken wraps with pineapple
Fill wholewheat wraps with grilled, cubed skinless chicken breasts, lettuce, tomato, onion, and fresh pineapple chunks. Add a 50:50 lite mayo-low-fat yoghurt dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
The chicken protein and the dressing are low GI foods that will stave off hunger pangs. Use low- or fat-free yogurt to make tasty dressings with a low kJ content.
5) Pita filled with canned or cooked curried beans, salsa and grated cheese
Pack wholewheat pitas with canned curried beans, a salsa made with chopped tomato, onions and sweet peppers and top with 1 tablespoon of grated cheese. Add chutney if desired.
Beans are high in protein and fibre and when combined with cheese they make a wholesome meal. Combining plant protein and protein derived from animals (such as cheese or fish or lean meat) provides us with the complete protein we need to build new tissue.
6) Vegetarian treat – Bulgarian yogurt with chopped dried fruit, nuts and honey
Mix 2 tablespoons of chopped dried fruit (apricots, dates, figs, etc) and 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts into a tub of Bulgarian yoghurt and drizzle with honey. Plain yoghurt (use low-fat if you are slimming) is credited as being one of the foods that promote longevity.
The high-fibre fruit and the protein in the yogurt and the nuts make a satisfying meal for lacto-vegetarians. Plain Bulgarian yogurt (use low-fat if you are slimming) is credited as being one of the foods that promote longevity in populations in the Balkans and the Caucasus region.
7) Date and cottage cheese sandwiches with a pear and berry salad
Chop 2-3 tablespoons of fresh dates and mix into a tub of plain low-fat cottage cheese. Eat together with a large pear and a small container of fresh, mixed berries.
Dates have been used by nomadic people for their hunger-preventing properties for centuries. When combined with the protein of cottage cheese and a deciduous fruit and berries which are also low GI, this meal will keep you going till supper time. Berries are a good source of vitamin C and phytonutrients that protect us against degenerative diseases.
8) Meat and crunchy veg salad
Chop cooked, lean, left-over meat into bite-sized cubes and mix with strips of sweet pepper, celery and carrot sticks, olives or gherkins and add a 50:50 avo-yogurt dressing (mix equal quantities of ripe avocado, low-fat yogurt, and add salt and pepper to season).
The meat, vegetables, olives and the dressing are all low-GI foods which help to prevent sugar-lows. Avocado is rich in monounsaturated fat which increases ‘good’ HDL-cholesterol and lowers ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol.