Updated: Dec 29, 2020
Many of us see snacking as an unhealthy habit that we need to stop, but snacking can absolutely be part of a healthy lifestyle. We asked our weight management dietitian Tabitha Ward for some dietitian-approved snacks.
Tabitha advises that it just depends on what you choose to snack on as not all snacks are created equally. Many snacks available on the go can be highly processed and contain high amounts of sugar, saturated fats and artificial ingredients. It is therefore worth doing a bit of prep, so you have healthy snacks ready to go for when snack time calls.
When deciding what snacks to choose, Tabitha's advice is to opt for foods high in protein and fibre as these will keep you feeling fuller for longer. These foods will help keep you ticking along until your next meal and may prevent you from overeating at mealtimes. Snacks might even provide you with a much-needed energy boost which is great if you are feeling sluggish before a workout!
Below is Tabitha's list of her top 10 go-to snacks which require very little prep and are delicious too!
1. Hummus and veggie sticks
Hummus is a great source of plant-based protein so is ideal when you are feeling peckish. It also contains fibre so good news for your digestive system. Pair it with veggie crudites for an extra fibre boost and to get you on your way to your 5 a day. And for those keeping an eye on calories, opt for reduced-fat hummus instead of the regular variety.
2. Fruit with Greek yoghurt
Fresh, frozen or tinned fruit all works here, whatever you have to hand. Just make sure to opt for tinned fruit in juice rather than syrup if you choose tinned fruit as this will keep the sugar content down. For the yoghurt, again make sure to check the label to ensure it doesn’t contain any added sugar.
3. Air-popped popcorn
Low in calories and high in fibre, popcorn is a great alternative to crisps. It’s technically wholegrain too! Buy ready portioned bags if you don’t trust yourself with the share bag, or you could even try making your own (just make sure to portion it out as it’s super moreish).
4. Apple and peanut butter
Filling and nutritious, this has to be my favourite snack of all time. The combination of sweet and salty is delicious and really hits the spot. Just make sure to read the label on the peanut butter and choose one made from 100% peanuts rather than those with added sugar.
5. Hard-boiled eggs
A great source of protein, fat-soluble vitamins and super easy to prepare too. What’s not to like? Just a word of advice, keep the shells on until you decide to eat them to limit eggy smells (not ideal if you are using public transport).
6. Chia pudding
I always make a batch of these at the start of the week (in all my leftover peanut butter jars!) as they are great when you fancy a dessert or something that feels a little more decadent. Chia seeds are packed with fibre and plant-based protein, and also provide plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Top your chia pudding with a handful of berries and a sprinkle of seeds if you want to go all out.
7. Dark chocolate
If you buy dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage (70% or more) then it’s likely to contain antioxidants, such as flavonols and polyphenols which are beneficial to health. Dark chocolate is also a good source of iron so good for those who don’t eat animal sources of iron. But remember, chocolate is still high in calories and fat so make sure to stick to the recommended portion size of approx. 20g (about 2 squares of your average Lindt bar for reference). It also contains caffeine so careful not to eat it too late at night!
8. Tinned tuna in olive oil
Ok a bit of a rogue snack I know, but it’s totally delicious when you are in a savoury mood and packed full of protein. It’s also available everywhere and is super affordable. If you can’t find tuna in olive oil, buy it water and add your own olive oil.
9. Edamame beans
Edamame beans are packed with plant-based protein, and a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as folate and vitamin K. I tend to buy these frozen from the Chinese supermarket then give them a quick 30 seconds blitz in the microwave before serving with low-sodium soy sauce.
10. A handful of mixed nuts
Nuts are a great source of healthy fats and protein, and they contain fibre too, so tick all the boxes. When it comes to deciding which nuts are best, my advice is to eat a variety as they all contain different health benefits. Choose the mixed bag of raw, unsalted nuts then portion them out before you eat them as they are easy to nibble away on and get through the whole bag. If you aren’t so keen on the raw flavour, feel free to dry toast them at home for added crunch and flavour.
Tabitha is our specialist weight management dietitian. Tabitha has written for Men's Health, and Tesco food magazine. Her passion is helping to communicate trusted, expert nutritional advice that is not only tasty but easy to implement. Please contact us to request Tabitha's expertise.