Hit refresh: crunch time on bad habits

19th April 2021 | Eativity editors

The Australian Apples 2021 Snack Report has revealed that the majority of Australians are keen to break away from the bad snacking habits they picked up during 2020 lockdowns.

Lockdown came with many challenges – from home-schooling and mask-induced foggy glasses to isolation and boredom. The COVID-19 pandemic also saw our collective lives change from being a nation of cafe- and restaurant-lovers to a land of locked-in home diners. For some, this led to a newfound passion for making sourdough and complicated Julia Child recipes. For others, it meant takeaway and too much booze.

For many of us, online food delivery platforms just made it too easy to give in to cravings.

New research by Aussie Apples has found that Australians’ daily snacking habits went downhill, too, thanks to all those endless commutes between fridge and desk while working from home. In fact, 50 percent of Aussies confessed that they snacked more in 2020.

The Australian Apples 2021 Snack Report confirms that, as a nation, we collectively hit the wall in the afternoon, with a sizeable 87 percent admitting to experiencing this daily. A further 65 percent of Aussies pinpointed 2pm to 4pm as the typical time they crashed and craved a snack, with 57 percent reaching for a sweet treat like chocolate, biscuits or ice cream. Only about a third said they opted for healthier options like yoghurts or muesli bars.

They might seem healthy, but will a muesli bar get you through an afternoon without crashing?

From sugar high to sugar coma

While these options might seem like a pretty good idea at the time, habit change and wellbeing expert Dr Gina Cleo says that snack choices like flavoured yoghurts and muesli or protein bars often aren’t giving our bodies what they really need.

“As we start to slow down mid-afternoon, our bodies begin to crave a boost to keep us going for the rest of the day,” she says. “Sweet and even perceived ‘healthy’ snacks can give us a quick sugary hit, but they don’t provide us with the long-lasting mind and body boost we actually need to make it through the day.”

One year on from when the word “lockdown” became common parlance, it’s encouraging to note that nearly three quarters of Australians are keen to hit refresh on their bad snacking habits and start looking to healthier choices in 2021, such as fresh fruit.

Eve knew what she was doing: an apple is nature’s ultimate snack.

A smarter snack swap

A fresh fruit alternative that 82 percent of Aussies want to make the switch to is a good old-fashioned apple – a great source of dietary fibre that’s low GI (glycaemic index – a measure of how quickly or slowly a carbohydrate food releases glucose into the bloodstream) and full of essential nutrients to help support our bodies through the afternoon slump.

To put the mind and body benefits of apples to the test, TV personality and self-confessed snackaholic Beau Ryan has embarked on the Snack Swap Challenge, where he’s traded in his usual afternoon snacks for an apple and documented the experience.

“My lifestyle is usually quite busy and I’m racing around a lot, so I was interested to see if swapping my usual arvo snack choice for an apple would give me a boost in the afternoons,” Ryan says. “The results were interesting but unsurprising for a fruit that packs in a lot of mind and body goodness.”

Make like Beau Ryan and take on the Snack Swap Challenge.

When the 3pm slump hits, add an apple

Dr Cleo says that apples are the ideal afternoon snack, because they’re packed with many nutritional benefits; some of which many people are unaware of.

“As many as 65 percent of Australians don’t know that apples are low GI, which can give the body and mind an energy boost,” she says. “They’re also a great source of hydration, antioxidants, vitamin C and fibre, making them the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

“Swapping your typical snacks to healthier options like apples can help you feel refreshed and fuller for longer, which in turn will help to support a more balanced diet and lifestyle.”

Research has found that some apples are even better for you than others.

From Ambrosia to Sundowner

Aussie apples are available year-round, but we’re heading into prime apple season now, which means you can have your pick of more than 15 varieties. But which one to choose? Research from the University of Western Australia and Edith Cowan University found that Pink Lady and Bravo apples are the highest in polyphenols – phytonutrients thought to improve health through their antioxidant effects. But all apples are high in polyphenols, particularly the polyphenol quercetin, which has been linked to everything from reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure to reducing your risk of heart disease.

All that Jazz: so good, even Queen Oprah gives them the royal nod.

When it comes to crunch factor and flavour burst, we here at Eativity can’t go past a Jazz apple. Being a red-skinned variety, Jazz are high in antioxidant compounds, and their sweet, tangy taste and crisp texture even saw this variety score a rave review in OprahMag.com, the digital site of O! The Oprah Magazine. Jazz apples are grown in orchards all across the southern parts of Australia, from Pemberton in WA and Stanthorpe in Queensland to the Huon Valley in Tassie. You can find them in-store from April to December.

For more information on Australian apple varieties, their health benefits and apple recipe ideas, head to aussieapples.com.au