The ultimate guide to grazing

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The traditional route of breakfast, lunch and dinner has been part of our day for as long as most of us can remember. But with the pandemic shaking up old structures like never before, it could be the right time to rethink our approach.

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Yep, we’re talking about grazing. Essentially, this concept is all about eating more meals each day (usually five to six) but reducing the size of each. With many of us spending extra hours at home (and let’s be honest, lots of time near the fridge), grazing kind of makes sense.

Nutritionist Leanne Ward from Lean Green Living says this approach can be effective if it’s done properly.

“For most healthy adults and even younger kids, grazing can be perfectly healthy if the 
foods provided are mostly nourishing,” she explains.

Reese Witherspoon (Credit: Instagram)

But haven’t we always been told that snacking is bad? Ward says the reason some people come unstuck with grazing is they choose the wrong foods. While many of us have a set idea of what a snack looks like (hello, Tim Tams!), what you should be aiming for are smaller-sized healthy and balanced eats that are tasty and will keep you satisfied.

“Try to focus on five to six mini meals based on wholefoods rather than constantly grazing on ultra-processed snacks all day long,” Leanne says.

“If you’re grazing, try to create mini meals rather than packet-based snacks.”

Salma Hayek (Credit: Instagram)

The main challenge with grazing is that it can be a little harder to incorporate each essential nutrient into one meal. Keep a mental note of what you eat through the day and try to include any food groups you might have missed along the way.

“Aim for five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit spread across your day,” Leanne advises.

“A balanced diet for most healthy adults requires high-fibre carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats and lots of colour from fruit and vegetables.”

Ali Oetjen (Credit: Instagram)

Smart Snacks

  • Aim to always add lots of colour to your food with plenty of fresh and cooked vegetables and salads.
  • Focus on protein and fibre in your snacks for fullness and satisfaction.
  • Listen to your hunger and try to only eat when truly physically hungry. Try to eat snacks that are already pre-portioned.
  • Stick to volume-dense snacks with a high-water and high-fibre content and lower kilojoules.
  • If you graze a lot and are not very active, reduce the size of your main meals by 30 to 50 per cent. Alternatively, you could aim for two balanced main meals rather than three a day.
Zooey Deschanel (Credit: Instagram)

Your all new day on a plate

“For general health and weight loss, the timing of meals or grazing doesn’t matter too much,” says Leanne. Here’s an example of some mini-meals to graze on through the day!

  • Vegetable soup with beans or high fibre crackers with hummus, tomato, cucumber 
or sprouts.
  • Fresh fruit with some Greek yoghurt or a small wrap with salad and curried egg.
  • Homemade banana and walnut muffin with some roasted chickpeas, or vegie sticks with dip.
  • Tofu or turkey rice paper rolls with dipping sauce or some san choy bow.
  • Green smoothie with apple, kiwifruit, spinach, cucumber, fresh ginger and lemon or some fresh fruit with flaxseeds, cottage cheese and cinnamon.
  • Small chia pudding, such as the chia pod from the Fancy Plants range, with some added fruit or nuts.

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