OK, so it’s not a snack drawer, more of a lunchbox. In fact most of the time my various snacks are to be found scattered randomly across my desk, which is why I have to regularly hoover my laptop keyboard to rid it of crumbs! But here’s a little delve into my daily snacks – the ones I rely on whether I’m spending all day locked in the office or running around after the baby. Toddler.
As you probably know if you follow me on A Model Recommends, I’m a big believer in snacks throughout the day to keep energy levels up and spirits high. Whereas my evening treat (not every night, I hasten to add!) is a naughty chocolate-coated ice-cream, my daytime snacks are purposefully healthy. I realised quite early on in my adult life that eating sweets and sugary treats throughout the day is totally counter-productive; I get an instant sugar-fix and then crash about half an hour later, then usually need to take a long nap. By choosing good, wholesome (mainly!) easy-picking food morsels I can manage to keep myself on an even keel and deal with the things that life throws at me. Things like trying to answer eleven emails whilst having a wee when there’s a toddler staring at me from the door, a cat in the sink next to me trying to paw my hair and a crazy dog running circles around my feet and trying to eat my knickers.
So here’s what’s in my “snack drawer”: almonds (one of my best habits – I started eating them throughout the day in tiny handfuls when I was pregnant with Angelica and I swear they do wonders for my skin and nails as well as my concentration levels!), medjool dates, dried mango pieces and, if I remember to buy them, a fresh apple.
In my other snack drawer, aka the fridge, I keep loads of other stuff but I’d say that houmous is probably the thing that I indulge in most frequently. A wholemeal pitta and half a tub of houmous is rather a substantial snack and I rely on it heavily on days when opportunities for a proper lunch are slim. (I always eat lunch, by the way, it’s just sometimes I have to eat it at weird times!)
I asked dietician Lucy Jones to comment on my snack choices, omitting my love of choc-ices and fizzy sweets, because I’m well aware that they have little to no nutritional value and I wanted her to think I was a healthy superstar. Ha! I’m one of those people who would lie completely if I had to do a what’s in my fridge? feature. Here’s what Lucy said:
- Almonds: the all-round super snack. Gram for gram, they’re the tree nut highest in protein, fibre, vitamin E, calcium, riboflavin, and niacin, making them one of the most nutrient-rich tree nuts. Their healthy fats help to keep our cholesterol levels healthy. A daily snack of almonds has been shown to reduce belly fat in studies. Almonds are high in zinc, which maintains both healthy nails and healthy hair. They are also a high source of magnesium, which helps reduce tiredness and fatigue.
- Apple: Apples are a source of pectin, a type of soluble fibre, which helps to keep our cholesterol levels healthy. Their antioxidant polyphenols have also been shown to help keep blood sugars stable….and keep you going until lunch.
- Medjool Dates: A great way to fix a sweet tooth but a great source of fibre too, helping us to boost our intakes and keep our bowels healthy. They also provide a range of important minerals like magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese.
- Hoummous and pitta: the mix of hummus and pitta is a great snack-fridge (!) combo. The hummus provides plant proteins from the tahini and chickpeas to help fill you up and choosing a seeded, wholemeal pitta can keep the snack low GI – meaning you avoid the quick spike and drop in blood sugars associated with feeling sleepy.
- Dried mango pieces: Dried fruit makes a handy drawer snack as has a long shelf life, meaning it’s there when you need it. Although it loses much of its vitamin C, dried mango is a great source of vitamin A – which we need for our immune system as well as healthy skin and vision.
See, I’m a bloody nutrition ninja, me! Good job, because my meals since having a baby have left a lot to be desired. I used to plan ahead and cook lovely things every night but I’m so tired a lot of the time these days that I stick a couple of pizzas in the oven and open a bag of ready-washed salad to plonk on a plate! I’m much better at planning my snacks – if I’m going to be in the office all day (on nanny days) then I pack my little plastic boxes with almonds and bits of dried fruit and sit it at the side of my desk so that I can munch away at will.
I feel particularly virtuous about the almonds – almonds contain fifteen essential nutrients and a good handful of them (approximately 23) gives you 60% of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin E , which is the ultimate “beauty vitamin”. Great source of fibre and protein too, so if you find yourself flagging way before lunchtime then try munching on some almonds to fill you up! You can mix them with other seeds or dried fruits to make a sort of almond medley, but I think they’re just as delicious on their own…
Tell me: what are your snacks of choice? Be honest – if it’s half a bar of cooking chocolate, because that’s all that’s in the cupboards, then we’ve all been there. I would heartily suggest the ones I stock up on, though, if you’re stuck for ideas. They seem to keep things moving in the – er – downstairs departments as well as stop me eating sweets or other naughty and pointless mouth-fillers. Comments please – serious or otherwise!
*this post has been sponsored by The Almond Board of California.