How to choose a smart snack
Feeling peckish? When the 3pm munchies hit, it’s all too easy to grab a not-so-healthy chocolate biscuit or muffin. Processed snacks, like chocolate, cakes, chips and savoury biscuits like BBQ Shapes, are often high in added sugar, saturated fat and salt and contribute a lot more to our daily kilojoule intake than we need – just a handful of chips can provide the same amount of kilojoules as a small meal!
Healthy snack foods include vegetables, fruit, low-fat dairy, wholegrain products, lean protein and nuts. These ‘smart snacks’ will help you maintain energy levels and contribute to a healthy balanced diet.
According to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, an ‘extra food’ or snack for an average adult is around 600 kilojoules. However, everyone has different energy needs. Energy needs may be lower for people watching their weight and higher for athletes.
Choose a snack that is:
- less than 600 kilojoules (150 calories) per serve
- less than 3 grams of saturated fat per serve
- less than 450 milligrams of sodium (salt) per 100 grams
- less than 15 grams of sugars per serve
Here are some healthy snack ideas.
- A piece of fruit (1 medium piece e.g. apple or 2 smaller pieces e.g. 2 kiwi fruit)
- A tub of natural or Greek yoghurt – add your own berries and a sprinkling of cinnamon
- A slice of raisin bread or a crumpet spread lightly with low-fat cream cheese
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- 2 squares of dark chocolate
- Vegetable dippers (e.g. carrot, cucumber, celery, cauliflower or broccoli florets etc.) dipped in hummus, salsa, tzatziki or cottage cheese
- Small tin of salt-reduced baked beans
- Handful of raw and unsalted nuts e.g. almonds, cashews, walnuts
- A slice of wholegrain bread or 2-4 wholegrain crackers (Ryvita or Vita Wheat) topped with avocado and tomato
- 1–2 cups air popped popcorn
- A tin of tuna
If you would like more tips on how to reach your health goals, the Life! program can help. Life! is a free healthy lifestyle program that helps you reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Call 13 RISK (13 74 75) to discuss your eligibility for the program.