In the supermarket, there are shelves full of snacks. There are many different bars, nuts, and biscuits. Many of these products are sold as if they are healthy snacks. But is this food healthy?
Unfortunately, many ready-to-eat snacks contain too many calories, sugar, saturated fat, and/or salt. In this article, I will therefore explain you what healthy snacks are.
What is a healthy snack?
A healthy snack is limited in calories, sugar, saturated fat, and/or salt. How many calories a snack may contain varies from person to person. This depends, among other things, on the following factors:
- How many snacks are eaten per day
- How many main meals are eaten per day
- The composition of the main meals
Adults can eat an average of 400 calories in total in snacks. However, this is based on someone eating three main meals of an average serving. For personal advice, you can ask for advice from a dietician or keep track of your nutrition with the Eetmeter.
Day and week choices
Preference is given to products that can be classified under the Wheel of Five. Those are healthy products. The Nutrition Center adheres to the following rule of thumb about foods outside the Wheel of Five:
- Three to five times a day something small outside the Wheel of Five (choice of the day).
Examples are an ice cream cone, cookie, or a few drops.
- Three times a week something bigger outside the Wheel of Five (choice of the week)
Examples are a bag of chips, a piece of cake, or a croissant.
In the app ‘ Do I choose healthily?’ At the Nutrition Center, you can look up whether a product is healthy, or whether it falls under the choice of day or week.
Recipes on the internet for healthy snacks
Some recipes are made from healthier products than unhealthier snacks.
Then, for example, whole wheat flour is used instead of white flour or something is sweetened with fruit instead of sugar. Examples include healthier bounties and healthier brownies. Nevertheless, certain snacks can be made from healthy raw materials that contain too many calories.
This is the case, for example, with banana bread. One slice already contains 205 kcal. It does contain healthy products such as bananas, walnuts, and whole wheat flour. If you take this, you have to take your energy balance into account.
In addition, some products are called ‘healthy’. While they are not healthy. An example of this is coconut oil.
Regularly consuming too high calorie-rich snacks can lead to obesity.
Examples of healthy snacks
It is important to vary enough in the type of snacks you eat. This way you get all the nutrients you need. Below I will discuss several examples of healthy and responsible snacks.
Enough choice to vary. Don’t normally choose a banana and an apple. Alternate the fruits you choose.
Do you find this difficult? Then order a fruit package. This usually consists of all different types of fruit.
You can take 1 serving as a snack. This is about 100 grams. A large piece of fruit counts as a serving, such as an orange and a banana. You can have 2 pieces of a small piece of fruit, such as a kiwi and a mandarin.
For a change, you can opt for dried fruits, such as a handful of roses and plums. Limit these because of the large amount of sugar.
You can also make a fruit salad as a snack or opt for frozen fruit. Frozen fruit is a handy snack if you live alone. This way you always have fruit at home and you don’t have to worry about it going past the date. In addition, it is often cheaper than buying fruit for one person.
Snack vegetables are also a healthy snack. There are many types of snack vegetables for sale today, such as snack cucumbers, snack peppers, and snack tomatoes.
You can also choose other types of vegetables as a snack, such as radishes, scraped carrots, and celery. Steaming healthy vegetables is also a beneficial option since the nutrients are preserved extra well.
You can add a healthy dip for some extra flavor.
You can also make your vegetable chips. Drizzle a little bit of healthy olive oil over the vegetables. Ideally, choose a recipe with only vegetables and without (sweet) potatoes.
By taking snacks with dairy, you ensure that you get enough protein. The snacks below contain a lot of protein.
- Bowl of natural low-fat yogurt or quark.
Optionally with a small portion of nuts, fruit, or seeds and kernels.
- Lindahl’s Karg
- Homemade ice cream from low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese with pureed fruit
- A glass of skimmed or semi-skimmed milk (or buttermilk)
Other good snacks
Aside from the options described above, there are other healthy snacks you can choose from. The snacks below are also healthy choices.
- A handful of unsalted nuts (25 g), for example, macadamia, pistachio, almonds, or cashew nuts
- A portion of roasted chickpeas
- Cooked egg
- Edamame beans
- A handful of seeds or kernels
- Rice cake, whole-wheat cracker, or whole-wheat rusk with lean toppings
- Homemade vegetable chips – only use vegetables for the chips and no (sweet) potato
- A couple of cherry tomatoes with pieces of mozzarella
- A few cubes of young cheese
- A handful of mulberries or the superfood goji berries