Snacking on the Go

Eat Natural founder Praveen Vijh dismisses the notion that all snacking is bad for you – it’s about the balance…





FIRSTLY I GUESS I SHOULD SAY that I am not a nutritionist. I am, however a busy mid-lifer trying to keep an active and balanced life. I have two youngish kids and every day my family is challenged with what is a good choice to make for a meal and, of course, for a snack. Should we eat three structured meals a day or should we spend the day eating a bit every now and again? I know the research shows that we are becoming a nation of snackers, but perhaps all that is changing is the type of snacking. Gone are the days when we would sit down to an afternoon tea of sandwiches and scones, instead those nostalgia events have been replaced by something a bit more practical in today’s age.

People are becoming more aware that eating large amounts at once leaves us feeling uncomfortable and so we like to regulate how much we eat, perhaps having a bit less at lunchtime and saving some room for a pick-me-up in the afternoon. It also gives us something to look forward to – breaking up the monotony of the afternoon. I guess the point is to eat as healthily as we can whenever we reach out for a snack. Allowing ourselves a cheeky biscuit is fine sometimes, as long as most of the snacks we consume have some good nutritional substance. Of course we all know how good nuts, seeds and dried fruit are for us, so keeping some bags of these to hand is probably the best way to keep us feeling full, while doing us some good at the same time.





Giving kids a snack probably depends upon time and place. Handing over a big bowl of strawberries is not too easy on the way back from school, but perhaps they could be enticed by some glutenfree homemade brownies! There are a number of readymade snacking choices out there for kids, but I would always advocate something that looks like it has been made at home and been processed as little as possible.

We live in a world where we are almost overrun with choice. There are many good snacks on the shelves and we all find different things delicious and satisfying at different times. The key has to be to think ahead as far as possible and to plan your snacking. I am lucky in our office to be surrounded by good snacks, like a big basket of organic apples or, indeed, our own bars, but I cannot do without a few squares of dark chocolate to accompany coffee. The thing I find most difficult is what to eat before doing something strenuous. If you are very active then variety is important, so you get a chance to try all sorts of snacks to find something that suits you best. I guess for me it has to have some protein and some carbohydrate to give me some long-lasting energy. Hummus or slices of cheese are good for this, but often a bowl of granola with yoghurt really does the trick.





Snacking always seems to get a bad press, but surely it is all about balance. Ultimately the most important element in our lives is to get our heart beating more through activity, so use snacking to fuel those activities and choose that fuel carefully. These simple rules apply whether you are coeliac or not. The biggest advantage of knowing you are on a restricted diet is that you are forced to consider your food choices carefully and you need to plan ahead. This is surely a very good thing as the more we think about the food we are going to eat, the better it will probably be for us.

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