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How healthy are your revision-time snack choices?

5th April 2013

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We know that biscuits and chocolate are the staples of revision time. We all need motivation, right? But sometimes it might be worth throwing something a bit more healthy into the mix. Here, nutritionist Lowri Turner investigates snacking.

“The body is built to be able to withstand periods without food pretty successfully. Much of the snacking we do is about emotions, not hunger. Stress is a major trigger as we reach for chocolate, cake or biscuits to comfort ourselves,” says nutritionist Lowri Turner who has been investigating common snacking choices.

However, some of the snacks that people reach for to try to fulfil the craving whilst keeping a clear conscience, such as cereal bars and smoothies, may not be as healthy as we think.

Lowri has looked at the nutritional content of some of these choices. “We all want to get our five-a-day, but while it may be tempting to take a short cut and drink a smoothie, instead of eating the whole fruit, this can play havoc with your blood sugar. Eat a whole piece of fruit like a Pink Lady apple and the naturally-occurring fruit sugars enter your blood slowly, giving you sustained energy. Once any fruit has been processed into a juice or smoothie, it creates a fast sugar rush that can be followed by a crash. This can affect your energy, your mood, and set you up for sugar cravings later in the day.

“Cereal bars are also marketed as a natural, healthy snack. However, they can be high in sugar. Jordan's Wild Berries Frusli cereal bar has as stonking 21g of sugar, that's the same as eating half a jam doughnut!”

When compared to a fruit snack like an apple, cereal bars can have over twice the number of calories and a mango and passion fruit innocent smoothie has almost 3 times as many. And for those who enjoy a regular pick-me-up chocolate bar, switching to a Pink Lady apple three times a week can give the same sweet kick but save over 800 calories (which is almost a pound of fat in just a month)!

“Many of us crave something sweet when we're feeling bored or tired or a bit stressed. Rather than going for chocolate or a cake, I advise my nutrition clients to get a hit of natural fruit sugar to lift their mood with a Pink Lady apple,” says Lowri.

“An apple is a great choice as its portable so you can always have one to hand. Successful snacking is also slow snacking.  It takes 20 minutes for your body to trigger hormones to tell your brain you're full.  This is why you can gulp down a chocolate bar and still feel hungry. You have to chew each bite of an apple so your body and brain has time to get that satisfied feeling. I particularly recommend Pink Ladies because their natural sweetness also helps to kick that sugar craving”.


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