Sort out your snacks

For many women, when it comes to eating right, meals aren’t the main problem. It’s all those snacks in between breakfast, lunch and dinner that are difficult to resist…

Registered dietician and Heart Foundation Tick programme nutrition manager Rhodi Smith says, “It’s about maintaining a healthier balance – treat foods, like pies and sweet biscuits are often high in saturated fat, kilojoules and sodium, and should only be a small part of your weekly diet.”

Choccies, ice cream, lollies, chips, cookies, pies… they’re all foods that we should only be eating every now and then – not every day. There are healthy options that don’t have too much fat, energy and salt, and those are the snacks you should be eating!

What are some healthy snacks I can eat?
Don’t fret! When you feel a bit peckish, ask yourself if you REALLY want that snack or if you’re just bored/thirsty. Have a glass of water, then if you’re still genuinely hungry, check out these options to change your snacking ways:

  1. A salad
    Put together a cup of salad for a snack – aim for vegetables and/or fruit only, minimal dressing and not too much cheese. Remember that not all salads are your friend when it comes to eating healthy. Caesar salads have plenty of croutons, bacon and dressing which makes it a meal, not a snack! Lettuce, capsicum, cucumber, tomatoes, carrot, dried apricots, apple slices… Use your imagination.
  2. Low-fat yoghurt
    A small 150g pottle of your fave fruit flavour should fix sweet food cravings. Just make sure it has no added sugar.
  3. Whole fruit or vegetables
    Eating your 5+ a day servings of fruit and veg is much easier to achieve if you snack on them. A snack-sized serving is usually one piece of bigger fruit (i.e. banana, apple, orange, kiwifruit etc.) or a similar-sized portion of smaller fruit. If tinned fruit is more your thing, aim for half a cup in natural fruit juice with no added sugar.Alternatively, you could have a celery stick/carrot or equivalent in baby carrots. Cut ’em into sticks, rounds – whatever takes your fancy. If you don’t like the veges by themselves, have them with a bit of hummus or dip (but not too much!).
  4. Rice crackers or rice cakes
    Gone are the days of plain rice snacks. These come in pretty much all the standard flavours that chips come in – salt and vinegar, sour cream and chives, barbecue, chicken… Find them in the snack and/or healthy section of your local supermarket.
  5. Nuts
    Aim for a small handful – around quarter of a cup. Opt for non-roasted and non-salted when possible and don’t forget that nuts are high in fat! (not saturated – the good kind… but still fat nonetheless).
  6. Wholegrain crackers
    A couple of wholegrain crackers with healthy toppings are great if you’re craving bread. Some topping suggestions? Chopped tomatoes and basil, cream cheese and salmon, thin spreading of peanut butter. Just watch it if your preference is water crackers as some can contain quite a bit of fat and you won’t get the benefits of the wholegrains.
  7. Popcorn
    Unfortunately, the variety you get at the movies won’t really cut it for a healthy snack… Have half a cup (AFTER popping, not before!) of plain air-popped popcorn, little bit of salt if you need it to add some flavour but keep it minimal as you don’t want to have too much salt in your diet.
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