WHEN you're at home in lockdown, you might find yourself reaching in the snack jar more than you’d like to admit.
And this may have left you fearing about gaining the so-called "Quarantine 15" – what some people have dubbed the weight gain likely to result from weeks of self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.
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In particular, dietitian Helen Bond says the snacks you much on during lockdown can make a huge difference to your waistline.
She tells us: "Snacking can be part of a balanced diet, and can be a great opportunity to sneak some extra nutrients into our diet.
"But it’s important to choose our snack food wisely – even healthy looking snacks, like reduced fat biscuits, cereal bars, yogurt, cereals etc. might seem like virtuous choices, but not all are created equally – some are high in cholesterol-raising saturated fat and added or ‘free’ sugars – the type that we should be cutting down on for the sake of our teeth and waistlines."
However, there are some simple steps you can take to avoid erratic eating and putting on that dreaded "Quarantine 15".
Here, Helen shares her top tips on how to take control of your snacking…
1. Stop buying packaged snacks
Try to buy fewer packs of ‘unhealthy snacks’ when you do venture out to get your weekly shopping.
Helen says: "The danger of feeling bored, stressed and a little fed up being cooped up at home all the time, is that you’ll will turn to comfort foods and snacks to cheer yourselves up.
"So it’s time to stop buying over packaged high calorie, high fat, high salt foods during lockdown – we’re talking crisps, chocolates, biscuits, cakes and confectionery.
"If you don’t have them in you won’t be tempted to indulge when you need a little pick-me-ups."
Healthy snack options
We've put together a list of healthy treats under 150 calories below which we would suggest having as a healthy snack. They're all under 150 calories.
- Hippeas – With only 130 calories per serving, 3 grams of fibre and 4 grams of protein – the organic chickpea puffs have great nutritional value. They're also addictively delicious with their 6 flavour-forward offerings including Pepper Power, Far Out Fajita, Vegan White Cheddar and Happenin' Hickory.
- Two-finger KitKat – Have a break, have a KitKat – and one that contains just 106 calories. One obese 29-stone man even managed to shed 16 stone by eating a KitKat a day.
- Ape Coconut Puffs – Ape snacks are pressure-puffed rather than fried, with a bag of their coconut puffs coming in at just 92 calories. They're also gluten free, suitable for vegans and a great source of fibre.
- Marmite on toast – Whether you love it or hate it, marmite is considered one of the healthiest things you can spread on your toast. Packed with vital vitamins and minerals, this store cupboard staple is just 113 calories when spread on toast.
- Propercorn – This tasty popcorn has under 100 calories per 20g sachet and are filled with iron, fibre and antioxidents. It contains only natural ingredients.
- Eat Real Lentil Chips – Coming in at just 130 calories, lentil chips are a guilt-free, moreish snack. The contain 40 per cent less fat than regular chips with just 5g of fat per serving. As well as this they are also gluten free, wheat free and suitable for vegans.
- Three Jaffa Cakes – As well as giving you a much-needed energy boost, Jaffa Cakes are one of the healthier snacks as one contains just 46 calories.Footie aces even claim Jaffa Cakes were the nutritional secret to Sir Alex Ferguson's success with Manchester United.
- Brave Roasted Peas – Full of protein and fibre, these peas keep you powered and fuller for longer. They're also just 130 calories.
- Pom-Bears – Pom-Bears contain no artificial flavourings, colours or preservativs and are under 100 calories per pack.
- Pulsin Raw Choc Brownie – These have all the taste of a gooey brownie but with none of the guilt. They're made with raw cacao and are dairy and vegan friendly. One has 150 calories.
2. Load up cupboard with nutritious snacks
Make sure your cupboards are packed full with healthy treats to curb those cravings when they do hit.
"If you are a ‘snacker ‘ – load up your kitchen cupboards with healthy, nutritious snacks that will satisfy your hunger, help sustain energy for longer and keep you going till the next meal," Helen says.
"Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cheese and apple, no added sugar yogurts and berries, vegetable crudités with reduced fat hummus, tzatziki with wholegrain pitta slices or a hard boiled egg and wholemeal soldiers are all great.
"They're so much more nutritious and filling than fatty, salty and sugary snacks."
3. Keep to a daily routine
Keeping to a daily routine will help to stop you reaching in the biscuit tin.
Helen says: "It might feel like the days and weekends are rolled into one but it is important to stick to a daily routine for work, mealtimes, snacks and time with the family and create a new sense of normality, as we could be in ‘lockdown’ for many weeks to come.
"Otherwise your eating habits could turn into one long eating occasion, which will do your waistline no favours."
4. Get active
Doing something different at the time you would usually have a sweet snack or treat and keeping active is a great way to curb cravings.
Helen says: "Exercise might seem like the last thing on your mind, but it will benefit your body and mind in so many ways, and of course, it will help topping up on your vitamin D and counteract those little snacking indulgences.
"So rather that slouching in front of the sofa, head outside for some fresh air and walk, once a day, go in the garden and play with the dog, or hook up to all of the many fitness video workouts online."
There are countless online fitness classes that can help you get a sweat on and boost those endorphins in the comfort of your own home.
You could try out Joe Wicks' daily P.E. lessons, which have well and truly become the nation's favourite workout during lockdown.
Or fitness studio Psycle between four and six Instagram live workouts every single day – including abs blast sessions, revival yoga, HIIT, barre and meditation.
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