‘Pie hole’, colloquial for one’s mouth, is believed to have evolved in the USA in the 1980s from the British expression ‘cake hole’ (coined in the mid 20th century). Pie hole refers to a mouth, as in: Shut your pie hole or, in this case: Put less in your pie hole.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

We Came, We Snacked, We Conquered

A slightly unconventional article this week, but I'm frequently asked about snacking, so it's about time I write a series addressing this topic. The scope of the snack series seriously comprises of several specific snacking areas including: snacks at home, snacks at work, snacks for kids, snacks at parties and snacks on a day out. Since the subject of snacks is interesting but perhaps not as riveting as the usual science commentary, look out for simple snack tidbits interspersed with the usual science articles.

Let's dive into this head first. Dr Wiki defines a snack as a small portion of food eaten between meals. As our culture diversified and food is now readily and cheaply available, people often associate the word 'snack' with being unhealthy. It's a real shame, because healthy snacks help maintain a healthy weight by preventing overeating at meals, keeping blood sugar levels constant and providing extra nutrition.

But... and we know there's always a but. Where the stereotype of snacking being unhealthy comes in, is when they are unhealthy. In this respect, evidence shows snacks (of the 'unhealthy' variety) provide an excess of energy (calories) and a deficit of nutrients.

Today's virgin snack article is focused on snacks appropriate for the office/work setting. Picture it: It's 4pm, you had lunch hours ago, your stomach is almost empty, you're hungry... Here are some easy, nutritious and delicious ideas that don't require a secret desk drawer full of chocolate (and will keep you energised).

If you have access to a fridge:
  • Plain low fat/no fat yoghurt with chopped seasonal fruit 
    • Whatever fruit YOU like and/or whatever is on sale. Pay no attention to these 'superfood' berries, all fruits are super
  • Celery with low fat cottage cheese/peanut butter spread in the crevice*
    • You can easily prep this at home and it won't get soggy in the fridge
  • Sliced cheese*
    • Either on a slice of whole grain bread, or with 3-4 whole grain crackers, or with an apple, or on its own
  • Hard boiled egg*
    • Plain, or sliced on a piece of whole grain toast, or sliced on 3-4 whole grain crackers (add a spice like paprika, pepper or chilli)

If you're on the road, or you don't have access to a fridge:
  • Dress up your fruit: 
    • Apple slices dipped into peanut butter (1 or 2 tbsp in a small plastic container will do the trick)
  • Dried fruit (~30g/1oz) 
    • No prep required
  • Nuts, preferably unsalted (~30g/1oz)*
    • Also, no prep required
  • Make your own (MYO) trail mix*
    • ~30g/1oz of unsalted nuts and dried fruit (or for a husband approved version, add a few dark chocolate chips too)
  • Washed and cut veggies with a dip (eg: hummus) or spread (eg: peanut or other nut butter)
    • Veggies: whatever is in season/on sale/you like. Some examples are carrot, celery, broccoli, sugar snap peas, snow peas, cucumber, capsicum
  • Cucumber cut into spears*
    • With chilli or cayenne pepper
* = husband approved (by my extremely food snobby husband)

Additionally, sometimes feeling hungry is actually feeling thirsty. Stay hydrated by keeping a water bottle with you and sipping throughout the day, or drink a glass of water before you snack/eat.

What did we learn? Apart from the fact I obviously love peanut butter, the key here is spending 3 minutes planning your snacks either the night before or in the morning. Your wallet, and waistline, will thank you.

Didn't see your favourite snack listed? Feel free to share your snack ideas.

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