Your Guide to Healthy Snacking
Updated: Jan 6, 2020
Healthy snacking as part of a healthy and balanced diet can help you get the nutrients you need to stay healthy and feel energized. If you often find your energy levels drop between meals, snacks can keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels stable throughout the day. Fuelling your body adequately with healthier snacks can also help to curb feelings of hunger between meals and prevent you from overeating at mealtimes.
This guide to healthy snacking can help you determine what defines a healthy snack, how to prepare and plan for healthy snacks, and when you need a snack.
What makes a snack healthy?
Its portion size
Your snack should not be the same size as your main meal. Snacks are to help you keep your hunger at bay and provide a boost of energy until your next meal, all while providing high-quality nutrients. With this in mind, keep these general guidelines in mind when choosing a snack:
Per snack portion
Energy : 150 - 250 kcal
Fibre : 3g
Protein : 5g
Fat : <12g
Realistically, it may be near impossible to hit all these nutrient targets with every snack. So aim for overall balance. For example, if one snack is short on fibre, make sure your next one has a little extra. Also, if you are watching your weight, remember that excess energy or calories as snacks may lead to slower weight loss or even weight gain.
In addition, to control your snack portions, avoid snacking directly from a large container, bag or box. Buy small packages of food or go for single-serve snack packs. Snacksbuddy™, a Singapore-based healthier snacks provider offers monthly curated mega snack boxes containing a rotating selection of single-serve snack packs straight to your office pantry, as well as their mini ones to any individual employees.
Less of saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars
Frequently consuming foods and snacks high in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars can increase your risk of chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Often, these foods can also be high in calories (energy), and if you are trying to lose weight, it is unlikely you will be able to fit these foods into your calorie budget.
Moreover, you may end up displacing valuable nutrients like protein, vitamins, minerals, and fibre from nutritious foods.
More of fibre and protein
Choose snacks that are high in fibre and protein as these can help to keep you fuller and satisfied for longer, and thus reduce the need for you to grab another snack soon after. You’ll also be less likely to overeat at your next meal.
Try these healthier snack pairing ideas that will keep your portions in control, fulfill your nutrient needs, and satisfy your cravings.
1. Air-popped popcorn & almonds
2. Low-sugar muesli & non-fat sweetened yoghurt
3. Wholemeal bread & unsalted peanut butter
4. Wholewheat pita & hummus
5. Wholegrain crackers & low-fat cheese