Most of us struggle with snacking, it gets to 11am and we start rooting around in our handbag to see what we can eat. It’s been drilled into us that to eat healthily we should stick to just three meals a day, no snacking - luckily that is far from the truth.
Rather than cutting out your elevensies, it’s about ensuring that your mid-morning, mid-afternoon or post-workout snacks are filling and nutritious rather than empty calories.
When we asked our nutritionist Abi Manders about it, she said: "Snacking is something I work with 99% of my clients on. It can feel like one of the biggest obstacles for busy women who just need that extra energy to keep them going, but once you understand which foods are both tasty and filling, you'll stop reaching for the high sugar or carb snacks that leave you reaching for more".
Here are Abi's top 5 desk and handbag snacks that will nourish you and keep you fuller for longer:
1. Chopped veggies and hoummous. Hoummous is packed with protein and healthy fats; the two main nutrients that will keep you full until your next meal. Cucumber, pepper, carrots, celery, sugar snap peas and green beans are all great veggies to try with this, but you can literally pick any that take your fancy.
If you haven’t got time to prepare these at home Marks & Spencer do great crudite pots with mini hoummous tubs to keep in the office fridge or grab on the go.
2. Dates and nut butter. If you have more of a sweet tooth, try having 2 or 3 dates filled with your favourite nut butter. Dates are packed with dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals, and nut butter ups your protein and healthy fat intake making them a real winner.
You can prepare a batch of these in advance and freeze them until you need them.
3. Healthy flapjacks. If you're going to be out and about, pop one of these homemade flapjacks into a ziplock bag and keep them in your handbag. They're packed with protein from the nuts and seeds, and you'll benefit from the slow release energy provided by the oats.
On the go? Try a KIND bar with only 1tsp of sugar for an afternoon treat.
4. Trail mix. No time to make anything? Throw a handful of mixed nuts, popcorn, seeds and dried fruit, such as unsweetened coconut, raisins, cranberries or goji berries, into a bag and voila! It's that easy.
Larger Wholefoods stores have these healthy pick-n-mix selection stations so you don’t have to buy large bags of all your trail mix components.
5. Avocado on oat or rice cake. Sometimes we fancy something a little more substantial than a 'snack', but are in between meals. This is when avocado wins every time. Oat or rice cakes can be easily stored in your desk drawer so all you need to remember if your avocado in the morning. To elevate this sprinkle on some salt, pepper, chilli flakes and seeds for a luxury mid morning or afternoon snack.
You could also spread some peanut or almond butter if you prefer - keep a tub at work or these Pip and Nut sachets in your bag.
For more nutrition advice or to find out about our 14-day Whole Food Cleanse later this year email Movers & Shapers' Nutritionist Abi here.