Jo Travers, author of The Bone Strength Plan is a professional, evidenced-based nutritionist in London. She has carried out over 1500 hours of one-to-one consultations with more than 600 clients, as well as the additional hours of workshops, research, and media work with the BBC, Channel 4, The Islam Channel, and more.
Mindless snacking can lead to weight gain and other health problems, but resisting the biscuits and crisps is no easy feat when you’re ready to tear open your lunchbox at 10am. Replacing empty calorie-laden snacks with those made from wholefoods ingredients can often be just as satisfying, and help you avoid the sugar crash.
Look for snacks with ingredients high on the list that you can recognise and pronounce, such as grains, fruit, vegetables or familiar protein sources such as nuts. They will naturally be higher in vitamins, fibre and minerals, and some will even get you on your way to your 5 a day.
Steer clear of those with additives and processed ingredients. Some snacks may appear to be healthy if they are marketed as such, but even these can often be bulked out with fake ingredients that aren’t as good for us in the long run as the real thing.
Eating lots of processed food is associated with health problems like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, so although often convenient in the moment, processed snacks can actually cause long-term health problems if you eat them a lot.
However, there are lots of genuinely healthy choices available to choose from now. Planning your snacks in advance is useful because you will have something healthy to hand when you are hungry and can prevent a trip to the biscuit tin!
Complex carbohydrates are another filling snack component, as they are digested slowly and high in fibre, which will boost your energy and keep you satiated until your next meal. This will be especially beneficial for dieters.
These complex carbs are mostly found in foods containing oats or other whole grains, pulses, nuts and fruit and veggies. Note that their amount isn’t too important unless you are limiting carbohydrates, so focus on snacks with these particular types of carbs rather than how much they contain.
Ultimately our bodies need all the different food groups to be healthy and getting a combination of a couple of food groups in a snack is more likely to solve your hunger and keep you going for longer rather than just eating one food group. Something with fibre like fruit or oats, and some protein is a winning combination
If you have a sweet tooth in the afternoon or after a meal, opt for snacks that contain natural sources of sweeteners for a smart swap. These could be dried fruits or unrefined sugars such as maple syrup. As well as being healthier, they won’t give you the “highs and lows” you feel after eating regular sugary snacks, which can be counterproductive at work or school.
Snacks with low or natural sugars will also be ideal for kid’s lunchboxes, as they will often taste just as good as a packet of sweets and still feel like a treat for them. Of course, a little sugar won’t do us much harm, but try to stick to snacks with around 5g per 100g. Anything with over 15g is considered “high sugar” and is best avoided unless as an occasional treat.
Sugary foods can cause blood sugar to spike which is always followed by a crash. This crash is bad for two reasons; it can mean the brain and other organs don't get the supply of glucose they need to function properly leaving us tired, and the sugar that caused the blood glucose to spike will get converted to fat and stored rather than being used.
The upshot is that you haven't benefited from the snack and are probably going to be hungry again.
Too much salt or sodium can raise our blood pressure. Whether you choose nuts, crisps, or crackers, foods with less than 140mg (0.14g) of sodium are considered low, so use this as a guideline when checking the labels to factor this into your daily intake.
Nuts and seeds are high in fat, and although these are good, heart-healthy fats in large portions can cause weight gain over time because of the high-calorie content. A small handful a day is a good amount to aim for. If this doesn't fill you up, have some fruit alongside for a really balanced snack.
Even sweet snacks can contain a considerable amount of salt by stealth! Salt is often used as a preservative as well as a flavour enhancer so can be found in snack foods with a long shelf-life.
Your meals are the best place to get the bulk of your calories because they tend to be more balanced and (hopefully!) eaten away from a desk so you can eat more mindfully.
Snacks on the other hand are often eaten on the go and it's easy to eat mindlessly and consume large amounts of calories without realising it! Try to give yourself a few minutes to concentrate on your snack so you get the most of it and don't over-eat without meaning to.
Eating should be enjoyable and a welcome break in your day. If you resent the snack you have chosen it's easy to become rebellious! Remember a snack can be a small portion of anything, so if you have some leftovers from last night's dinner that aren't enough for lunch, that will make a perfect tasty snack.
|Protein (per bar)||10.2 g|
|Protein (per oatcake)||1.3 g|
|Complex Carbohydrates||Oats, chia seeds, flax seeds|
|Saturated Fat||1.9 g|
20g 18 Pack
|Protein (per YoYo)||0.19 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.02 g|
28g 9 Pack
|Protein (per packet)||7.3 g|
|Complex Carbohydrates||Cashew nuts, chickpeas|
|Saturated Fat||1.3 g|
30g 12 Pack
|Protein (per packet)||2 g|
|Complex Carbohydrates||Quinoa flour, lentil flour, pea flour|
|Saturated Fat||1 g|
26g 14 Pack
|Protein (per packet)||3.4 g|
|Complex Carbohydrates||Spelt flour|
|Saturated Fat||0.2 g|
40g 12 Pack
|Protein (per pack)||4.3 g|
|Complex Carbohydrates||Almonds, dates|
|Saturated Fat||1.4 g|
|Protein (per packet)||1.6 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.4 g|
40g 12 Pack
|Protein (per bar)||5.7 g|
|Complex Carbohydrates||Almonds, peanuts, walnuts|
|Saturated Fat||3.1 g|
22g 24 Pack
|Protein (per pack)||3.2 g|
|Complex Carbohydrates||Chickpeas, quinoa|
|Saturated Fat||0.4 g|
Organic Chickpea Puffs Take it Cheesy
Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Bar
Sweet & Salty Popcorn
Cacao and Almond Energy Balls
Spelt & Smokin’ BBQ Pretzel Bites
Quinoa Cream and Chive Chips
Veggie Protein Power
Strawberry Pure Fruit YoYo’s
Super Seeded Organic Oatcakes
Original Oat Protein Flapjack
A Natural Cheesy Crisp Alternative With All the Taste
Simple and Natural Chocolate Nut Heaven
A Healthy Corn Nibble With a Divine Flavour
A Great Tasting Unprocessed Energy Boost
A Crunchy Low Calorie Alternative to Crisps with Wholefood Ingredients
Your New Favourite All Natural Healthier Crisp
A Yummy Alternative to Salted Nuts
Best for Kids and Candy Cravers
Additive Free Crunchy Crackers Packed With Nutritious Seeds
An All Natural Traditional Tasting Flapjack Made Healthy
|Protein (per pack)||3.2 g||5.7 g||1.6 g||4.3 g||3.4 g||2 g||7.3 g||0.19 g||1.3 g||10.2 g|
|Complex Carbohydrates||Chickpeas, quinoa||Almonds, peanuts, walnuts||Corn||Almonds, dates||Spelt flour||Quinoa flour, lentil flour, pea flour||Cashew nuts, chickpeas||No||Oats, chia seeds, flax seeds||Oats|
|Sugar||0.6 g||5.3 g||8.1 g||12.6 g||1.2 g||1 g||1.4 g||3.78 g||0.1 g||12.2 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.4 g||3.1 g||0.4 g||1.4 g||0.2 g||1 g||1.3 g||0.02 g||1.9 g||3.1 g|
|Salt||0.3 g||0.31 g||0.44 g||0.02 g||0.6 g||0.26 g||0.36 g||0 g||0.18 g||0.5 g|
|Calories||89 kcal||199 kcal||135 kcal||156 kcal||99 kcal||170 kcal||130 kcal||27 kcal||45 kcal||217 kcal|
"I like to get a couple of different food groups into a snack. It's more enjoyable and keeps me going for longer. Some examples are fruit and yogurt; cheese and oatcakes; nuts and raisins; carrots and hummus, and so on."
"Remember that snacking is an opportunity to consume some nutrients too, so if you don't quite make your five portions of fruit and veg every day, adding some to a snack can help get you there."
If you're just starting on the road to healthy eating, you'll know that healthy snacks aren't the only food to introduce into your diet. However, there's no need to look further; here at mybest we already have many articles about healthy (and delicious!) foods to buy online.
Author: Natasha Dziubajlo
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