Banish Nasty Nibbles With Healthy Snacks
“Banish Nasty Nibbles With Healthy Snacks” by Health Promotion Board, 11 Dec 2019, www.healthhub.sg
Eating between meals need not be a diet no-no — if you choose your snacks wisely. Instead, when you need a quick energy zap or when you feel hungry, healthy snacking can help to keep your energy levels without piling on added calories. The trick? Add nutrients while controlling the calories.
A rule of thumb is to choose snacks that are less than 200 Calories. Look for snacks that are rich in nutrients, for example, packed with fibre that can help improve your digestion etc. You can also keep an eye out for snacks with the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) where there are two types of snack. The average HCS snack (ice cream) has about 200 Calories while the smaller HCS snacks (crisps/chips) weigh in at 100 Calories.
Steer clear of less nutritious options, like sugar-laden drinks and snacks, or food that is fried or packed with fats. You can also spice up your snacks by eating with friends and sharing the calories along the way.
Another idea is to pair your food — whether having a fruit or vegetable with a protein snack or having a dairy snack with fruit. For instance, your snack of cucumber slices will look much more delectable accompanied by a small wedge of low-fat cheese. Other ideas include teaming grapes with a slice of turkey or ham, carrots with hummus, or strawberries with low-fat yoghurt.
Some appetising but healthy snack ideas include the following:
1. Flavourful Fruit and Veg
Fruit and vegetables are chock-full of nutritional benefits and are some of the simplest, low-calorie snacks available. Try these ideas:
Vitamin-packed smoothies, where you blend your fruit or/and vegetable with some liquid like low-fat milk or ice.
Fruit ice lollies can be made by freezing a smoothie mixture with ice-cream sticks in it. Add chunks of fruit like blueberries, or chopped fruit for greater texture.
Frozen fruit can be a refreshing option and you can experiment to see which fruit you enjoy frozen or slightly thawed. While most fruits taste greatly frozen, deep-freeze grapes taste like a delicious sorbet and frozen bananas without their skin can be put into a food processor to get a texture like ice cream.
|Vegetable sticks like carrot, cucumber, capsicum or celery, or ½ cup steamed corn||25 Calories per serving|
|Fresh fruit like banana, an apple, pear, and a wedge of papaya or 12 grapes||70 Calories per serving|
|½ cup of edamame beans, boiled or steamed||98 Calories|
Tip: Instead of a single fruit, make a fruit salad from several fruits to add variety in taste, texture and colour. An additional tip is to add some lime juice and low-fat yoghurt for an even tastier treat. Remember to eat 2 servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables each day.
Related: More Fibre for a Fit and Fabulous You
2. Healthy and Easy Packaged Snacks
Packaged snacks may be the ultimate in convenience, but are not always healthy. There are however healthier options, like the following:
|Less than 100-Calorie snacks||Calories|
|4 pieces of rice crackers||55 Calories|
|2 cups or 20g of popcorn that is unsalted and unsweetened||75 Calories|
|3 tablespoons or 50g of unsweetened dried fruit or vegetable||80 Calories|
|1 chocolate chip cookie that weighs 20g||88 Calories|
|1 pack of HCS chips or crips||Less than 100 Calories|
|Less than 200-Calorie snacks||Calories|
|3 pieces or 30g of HCS biscuits||140 Calories|
|4 squares or 30g of chocolate||160 Calories|
|3 tablespoons or 50g of sweetened dried fruit||160 Calories|
|14 pieces or 50g of fruit chips||198 Calories|
Tip: Choose low-salt and oven-baked chips, dried seaweed with low salt and cereals with low sugar content.
Related: Guilt-Free Homemade Treats
3. Mouth-watering Mini Meals
Fight off hunger with these delicious and healthier options that will satisfy both your hunger pangs and tastebuds:
- Soon kueh
- Vietnamese fresh spring rolls
- Cheese or canned tuna on whole-wheat crackers; or
- 2 egg whites on a slice of toast;
- Seeds like pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
|Less than 200-Calorie snacks||Calories|
|1 hard-boiled egg||75 Calories|
|½ cup or 150g low-fat yoghurt||88 Calories|
|1 piece of pancake with cheese filling||197 Calories|
|¼ cup or 40g nuts||180 Calories|
Tip: Choose non-fried snacks that are filled with vegetables. Another tip is to s180weeten yoghurt with low-calorie options like dried fruit and eat nuts with dried fruit.
Related: Cutting Calories Without Going Hungry
4. Drink to Your Health
Ditch those sugar-loaded drinks and opt for healthy juices, smoothies and beverages to keep you energised and healthy. Try some of the following drinks that pack a nutritious and tasty punch:
- 1 cup of low-fat milk, or
- 1 cup of soya bean milk or a bowl of soya bean custard.
|1 cup or 250ml low-fat yoghurt drink||120 Calories|
|1 cup or 250ml fruit juice* with no added sugar||120 Calories|
* not more than one cup per day.
Tip: Ask for less sugar to reduce the calorie count. Also, when making a smoothie, give it a nutrient boost by working with a liquid base and adding fruit like bananas, melons, berries or vegetables like spinach and kale, and even flaxseeds or wheatgerm.
So try these healthy snacks that do not compromise on taste. At 200 Calories or less, you can nibble away guilt-free and keep the hunger pangs at bay till your next meal!