Smart snacking options to stay healthy
Do you crave an afternoon pick-me-up or an after dinner treats such as cookies, cakes, muffins, chips, ice cream or chocolates?
Most of these treats are loaded with calories and lacking in essential nutrients required by the body. Instead, choose some of the tasty, healthy options we've listed below the next time you go shopping, to keep you active and alert the whole day.
What makes a healthy snack?
Foods which are high in nutritional value and contain healthy fats are the ideal snack option. They should keep you fuelled and full of energy until your next meal and resist your temptation for junk foods. Whenever you go out shopping, read the food labels carefully and avoid foods containing artificial ingredients, high sugar or trans fats. Shop around for new foods and get creative rather than reaching for the same old foods you always buy.
Try to make sure your snack meets 3 or more of the following criteria:
- Less than 150 calories per serve
- Less than 3g fat and less than 1g saturated fat
- Less than 5g sugar
- More than 3g Fibre
Top 15 SMART snacking options
Pick a piece of fruit
Fruit is the perfect snack and it usually comes in the right size! Try a banana, apple or mandarin - they are usually cheap and easy to find at a supermarket or stall near the office.
Slurp a low-fat smoothie
Add some non-fat milk, whey or soy protein to make a yummy and delicious fruit smoothie as a quick and nutritious snack.
Combine pita bread with hummus
Try using hummus mixed with lemon juice, garlic and spices spread on pita bread to get a healthy snack. Or dip vegetables into it and treat yourself to a nutritious and satisfying snack.
Try some high fibre popcorn
This is one of the most economical snack options and an all-time favourite among both kids and adults. Make sure not to add salt and use some paprika or herbs to get the right flavour.
Build your bones with non-fat cottage cheese
Cottage cheese (non-fat) variety contains a rich source of calcium and can be great for building your bones. Mix some fresh fruits like strawberries, mango or peaches to make it tastier.
Yummy sugar-free jelly
If you want to satisfy your sweet cravings and at the same time stay away from calories, try some sugar-free jelly and add your favourite fruit to it.
Great tasting fruit bars
You can find fruit bars in the supermarket these days made using real fruits which can be a healthier option as compared to indulging to other junk foods.
Fibre rich healthy cereals
Cereals such as oatmeal mixed with low-fat milk can make a great snack option and it fills the stomach to last until the next meal.
Snack on some healthy nuts
Nuts are rich in unsaturated fats and can help in reducing high levels of cholesterol in the body - especially almonds and hazelnuts are known to rich in vital nutrients. Half a cup of nuts can be a healthy snack, and significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Microwave some baked beans
Baked beans can be an excellent option as it is high in proteins and rich in soluble fibre, and it is packed with a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
Try some salt-free pretzels
Another good snacking option is pretzels, especially the baked varieties with less salt, which can keep hunger under control.
Yummy tomato and basil soup
Prepare homemade low-fat tomato soup with some fresh basil leaves and add some pepper to get a great tasting and a healthy snack.
Healthy tomato and cucumber salsa
Mix some ripe tomatoes, cucumber and fresh capsicum, then add some coriander leaves with lime juice in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to get delicious tomato and cucumber salsa.
Nutritious chickpea dip
You can rinse a cupful of chickpeas overnight, and add some low-fat yoghurt to it. Add some freshly ground cumin, salt and pepper and serve with pita bread for a healthy snack option.
Indulge in some dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is a healthier option compared to other chocolates as they are rich in antioxidants and Flavonoids. They are also lower in sugar and fat so you can treat yourself to some occasionally.
Written by Alex Porter, Consultant Dietitian
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