Confused about snacks? You’re not alone!
Healthy snacking is a great way to keep your hunger at bay and increase your nutrient intake. But, when it comes to snacks, there’s definitely a right and a not-so-right way to do it. Unfortunately, marketing has done a brilliant job at disguising treat foods as ‘healthy snacks’. And so, despite our best intentions, it can be incredibly difficult to discern what’s healthy and what’s not so healthy.
To help you, here are five things I look out for as a dietitian when shopping for healthy snacks:
Prioritise fibre and protein
Protein and fibre are two nutrients that slow the release of energy into our body, keeping us fuller for longer. Snacks that are low in fibre and protein may give us a quick energy boost but will be soon followed by that pesky ‘sugar crash’, lending us to wanting another snack.
When looking at snacks, try to aim for one that has at least 3g of fibre and 5g of protein per serve.
Wholefoods over, processed snacks
The more processed the snack, the less likely it is to contain health benefiting nutrients (such as fibre, protein, and vitamins). Wholefoods are also generally lower in salt, sugar, and saturated fats, which we know when consumed in excess are not great for our health. Ask yourself – how much processing has this product undergone? Can I find a less processed alternative?
Make your own
One way to limit processed snacks is to make your own! This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend hours baking or preparing, either. We offer a range of healthy Baking Mixes that take only five minutes to prep:
Try portion-controlled snacks
When you hit that 3pm slump, hand deep in a packet of family-sized chips, it takes a lot of willpower to close the packet and continue with your day. If you struggle with overeating at snack time, try searching for portion-controlled snacks. Ideas include:
- 80g air popped popcorn
- 35g muesli bar
- 170g tub of yoghurt
- 50g cheese and crackers
- 40g trail mix
Get to know the nutrition information panel
A nutrition information panel (NIP) is required by law on all packaged foods in Australia. They give us an overview of the product’s ingredients and nutrient amounts, including protein, carbohydrates, sugars, fats, and salt. Being able to read a nutrition information panel can be incredibly handy, particularly when comparing two similar products. To learn more about how to read a nutrition information panel, head to Eat for Health.
So there you have it, snacks don't have to be complex or guilt inducing, just delicious and tasty!