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Snacking is not necessarily a bad thing. Snacking helps to fill the void between main meals and fuel those who lead especially active lifestyles, particularly those in training. The important thing to remember is to choose wisely when snacking and building meals, including proteins, fibre and other nutritionally valuable foods to keep you full and to boost weight loss.

If you are looking to include healthier foods into your meal plan as snacks and as part of main meals these foods would be a great place to start.

Berries - You should be careful when including fruit as snacks as some varieties can contain a higher amount of natural sugars than you would expect and therefore these should be enjoyed in moderation. That said, some are a must and berries such as blueberries, raspberries and similar are low in calories, tasty, filling, packed with antioxidants and offer a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.

Quinoa – High in fibre and a complete protein, quinoa is packed with goodies, is low on the glycemic index and will keep you fuller for longer. Mix with salad for a tasty and healthier alternative to some snack foods.

Dark Chocolate - Yes, chocolate can be a snack food that helps to keep you full and contribute to weight loss. Choose one square of good quality dark chocolate once or twice a week to take advantage of the many nutrients it boasts while dealing pro-actively with your chocolate / sweet cravings.

Mushrooms – Delicious, meaty, versatile and great for bulking snacks and meals out, mushrooms have been attributed with having helped people lose weight when one or more of their meaty meals have been swapped for mushroom-based ones. Try a stuffed large flat mushroom for a snack, tasty and filling!

Carrots - High in fibre as well as beta-carotene, carrots make easy (and cheap) to grab filling snacks which are low in calories and incredibly versatile. A good alternative for breadsticks, crisps and similar to enjoy with dips (homemade hummus is a winner!) and also regularly used in soups and stews, portions of which may also be saved for planned snacks.

Spinach - When you are told to “eat your greens” you should listen! Spinach especially can add filling power to a snack without adding too many calories. Packed with nutrients from vitamins A, C, E and K to calcium, iron and more, spinach is a top food for snacking, avoiding hunger and still losing weight as well as being great in main meals.

Peppers - Peppers contain a decent amount of vitamin C and what few people realise is that vitamin C is a great releaser of fat. Crunching on peppers therefore is good for weight loss and offers a variety of health benefits on the nutrient front too.

Beans, nuts, kale and even apples should also be added to your list of approved snacks and meal ingredients. What healthy and low-ish calorie foods that are filling do you enjoy?