For many in Australia stay-at-home orders resulted in the adoption of hybrid lifestyles and disruption of usual eating routines. But has a new flexible pattern of eating led to a habit of unhealthy snacking that’s become hard for you to break?

A recent study on snacking habits in Australia (Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey 2022) reveals that nearly 40% of Australians are snacking in between meals during the day. The study also suggests that there has been no great shift in Australian’s snacking habits between 2020 and 2022.

Source: Euromonitor International Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey 2022

But snacking doesn’t need to be unhealthy. Sophie Roberts from Central Coast Local Health District’s Public Health Community Nutrition team says the right snacks can contribute to a healthy diet.

“Snacking between meals can be part of a healthy diet, especially when you focus on including foods from the five food groups,” Sophie says.

“For example, a glass of milk or small bowl of yoghurt provides your body with protein and calcium. Including fruit or vegetables can top up your fibre and vitamin intakes. Or you may want to boost your fluid intake with a glass of water, milk drink or a ‘cuppa’ between meals.”

For many people like Craig, a 72-year-old Central Coast resident, the support of a lifestyle coach provided as part of the Get Healthy Service has been a great way to gain a new perspective on his snacking habits post pandemic.

“I’ve not been a great goal setter in my life, but my coach helped me realise that small steps can make a difference,” Craig says. “For example, they’ve helped me take a different approach around snacking and portion size.

“She’s really helped with some thought stoppers and simple interventions I can make to reduce the unhealthy part of my snacking.

“Ultimately, I rely on the coach to be my motivator and provide me with accountability. Having that structure works for me as I don’t want to let them down.”

Get Healthy is a free customised program offered by NSW Health to help participants reach their health goals and to help create healthy habits. Coaching is flexible, so you can do it from home and at a time that suits.

The program includes six or more regular confidential coaching calls with a university-qualified health coach like a dietitian or an exercise physiologist, who will help set and work towards goals. The coach will also send emails and text messages of encouragement and as reminders for future appointments.

The program supports participants to:

  • eat healthily
  • get active
  • reduce alcohol intake
  • reach and stay at a healthy weight
  • gain a healthy amount of weight in pregnancy
  • manage health while living with type 2 diabetes or cancer

The amount of time it takes to complete the program will vary for each person. And when finished, participants can choose to re-enrol for more coaching if need be.

Starting your Get Healthy journey is easy

Learn more about how the Get Healthy Service works.

To join our Get Healthy Service, call 1300 806 258 Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm or register online.

Get Healthy is available in languages other than English. Free interpreter services are available.

Get Healthy for Aboriginal people

If identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, this program is ideally suited.

Facilitating yarns with an Aboriginal health coach who will work with participants to help reach health goals, the program also Includes a journal to track progress and information specific to Aboriginal communities.

This article was written for and featured in GOALL (Growing Older and Loving Life) magazine.