Snacking

Most people snack between meals, and it’s often tempting to reach for something delicious but unhealthy. But snacking can be a healthy habit too, giving you energy, protein and a range of vitamins and minerals, while keeping you going throughout the day.

Quick snacks

  • A large square of dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) and a handful of dried fruit and nuts.
  • Chopped strawberries mixed with low fat yogurt and frozen in ice cube trays.
  • Juicy peach slices with a teaspoon of honey and sunflower seeds.
  • Pineapple rings served with pineapple juice and desiccated coconut.
  • A bowl of porridge made with instant oats.
  • Fruit smoothie – just blend your favourite fruits together and perhaps a soya yogurt.

Vegetable snacks

  • Vegetable sticks with dips, such as low fat hummus, tomato salsa or yogurt and mint.
  • A cup of vegetable soup.
  • Half an avocado with a tablespoon of tomato salsa.

Yoghurt and dairy

  • Low fat yogurt or fromage frais.
  • A glass of skimmed or semi skimmed milk.
  • A low-fat yogurt with a little granola or muesli. Add in some berries or banana. Go for a soya yoghurt or one fortified with sterols and stanols. 

Morning or afternoon tea

  • Fruit scone, hot cross bun or current teacake. 
  • Toasted English muffin – go for a wholemeal option. 
  • Cereal and breakfast bars. 

Savoury snacks

  • Toast with peanut butter or mashed banana.

  • Low fat hummus and pitta bread fingers.

  • Beans on toast.

  • Unsalted popcorn – make it yourself at home and try adding a spicy seasoning or a low-calorie powdered sweetener.

  • Oatcakes or rice cakes topped with a chopped hard-boiled egg and black pepper, or low fat hummus and cucumber slices.

  • Rye crackers, with a topping such as cottage cheese and chives.

Tips for healthy snacking

What you snack on can become a habit. Use these ideas to help you form healthy new habits.

  • Plan your snacks. Plan what to eat and have snacks at regular times – rather than snacking at any time of day and reaching for what’s convenient.
  • Keep a stock of healthy snacks on hand. You’re less likely to be tempted by vending machines or convenience shops which tend to stock unhealthy snacks.
  • Try not to snack in the hour before a mealtime.
  • Go for a variety of different snacks. You’ll get a range of nutrients and you’re less likely to get bored. Be adventurous and try something new.

  • Choose snacks which fill you up. Such as cereal bars, fruit and nuts, and low fat yogurt.

  • Keep your snacks to 400 calories a day or less. For example, with two 200kcal snacks. The rest of your calories can come from meals. Most women need no more than 2,000 and men no more than 2,500 calories per day.

Can’t do without chocolate, sweets and salty snacks?

  • Go for smaller portions. If you can’t resist some chocolate or crisps, buy smaller portions so you’re not tempted to eat too much. Just buy one individual portion at a time if that works for you.
  • Check the labels. Compare products and look for lower salt and fat options.
  • Go for dark chocolate. If you eat chocolate, go for dark chocolate that’s high in cocoa solids. The fat in cocoa solids doesn’t have much effect on your blood cholesterol. Dark chocolate also contains plant chemicals which could be good for your health.
  • Choose sweets which are low in fat. If you have a sweet tooth, sweets such as boiled sweets, fruit gums, jellies and dolly mixtures contain little or no fat – so they’re better for you than cakes or crisps. They are high in sugar so don’t eat many if you have raised triglycerides or you’re trying to lose weight. It’s best to avoid sugary sweets if you are diabetic.