When I first developed an interest in nutrition, it wasn’t uncommon to be told that several smaller meals throughout the day were beneficial. The tides have begun to turn, however, and science is now telling us that in a generally healthy individual there are many more benefits to having three, well-balanced and satisfying meals each day, with a window of 4-6 hours fasting in between.1,2 More frequent eating can result in dysregulation of blood glucose, increased fat storage and even increased risk of metabolic disease.2 Regular fasting between meals (i.e. that 4-6 hour window) is now thought to potentially improve circadian rhythm (your sleep-wake cycle), improve stress resistance, improve modulation of the gut microbiome and reduce inflammation.

So what to do if you’re a hardcore snacker?

My first tip would be to make sure that you have three balanced meals, regularly spaced throughout the day. Include some protein, some complex carbohydrates, some good fats and some vegetables. The macronutrients and fibre in a meal like this will give you your best shot at avoiding hunger and cravings between meals.

However, scientific studies don’t take into account the nuances of life so we need some wiggle room! There are times when you might actually need to snack – for instance if you’ve done a lot of exercise or if your schedule has unexpectedly made you miss a meal or eat later than planned.

This leads me to my second tip – if you’re going to have a snack, eat it, enjoy it and be done with it! Don’t graze throughout the day. Whist a snack when needed is nothing to worry about, constantly picking at food throughout the day will not be doing you any favours. Think of it as though you’re trying to get some work done but every half hour someone keeps calling you – you won’t be able to get on with what you need to do. Similarly, if you’re constantly eating, your body (and gut specifically) can’t get on with what it needs to be doing to function optimally.

Thirdly, make sure that if you do snack, your snacks are protein-based and unprocessed. Junk food might satisfy your cravings but high sugar, high saturated and trans-fat snacks will dysregulate your blood sugar and will leave you hungry and craving more shortly afterwards.

Here are some of my favourite, balanced snacks to recommend to clients – most of which are quick and convenient:

  • Apple slices dipped in a small tablespoon of nut butter.
  • Carrot sticks dipped in hummus (bonus points if the hummus is home-made).
  • Smoothie – check my recipes for some ideas!
  • Protein shake – choose your protein powder wisely – look for minimal ingredients and nothing ending in -ose! Brands I like are Nuzest, Purition and Pulsin.
  • Oat cakes and cottage cheese, or a vegan alternative.
  • Mixed nuts and seeds – I sometimes roast them for extra yumminess.
  • Greek yoghurt and berries.
  • Celery sticks dipped in cream cheese, or a vegan alternative.
  • Kale or cavolo nero chips – I have a delicious cheesy cavolo nero crisp recipe!
  • A couple of squares of 85% dark chocolate dipped in almond butter.
  • Edamame beans.
  • Hard boiled eggs dipped in a little paprika.
  • Leftovers! Snacks don’t have to look like conventional snacks – I quite often have a few bites of last night’s dinner if I get peckish between meals.



  1. Paoli A, Tinsley G, Bianco A, Moro T. The Influence of Meal Frequency and Timing on Health in Humans: The Role of Fasting. Nutrients. 2019;11(4):719. Published 2019 Mar 28. doi:10.3390/nu11040719
  2. Piya, M., Reddy, N., Campbell, A., Hattersley, J., Halder, L., Tripathi, G., Tahrani, A., Barber, T., Kumar, S. and McTernan, P., 2014. Meal size and frequency influences metabolic endotoxaemia and inflammatory risk but has no effect on diet induced thermogenesis in either lean or obese subjects. Endocrine Abstracts,.