Sweet or savoury – Snacks can still be healthy

Snack plate

Sweet or savoury – Snacks can still be healthy

Whether your preference is a biscuit or two with your morning coffee (tea, herbal infusion) or potato crisps are more your thing, it is possible to incorporate a little of what you fancy without compromising your health.

Sugar has become the newest “villain” of the nutrition world and it is true that there are vast amounts consumed every year by individuals who may not even be aware the foods they are eating are sugar-laden.

Even though the UK Food Agency in line with the European Food Directive now state that labels must be informative it is still fairly easy to be deceived – even if only subliminally!

As part of my studies I was tasked with researching misleading packaging and I found it far too easy to find examples most especially when it comes to sugar content.

All of you will be aware of the label “No Added Sugar” and, of course, this had to be true or they couldn’t advertise it, don’t be mis-led into thinking it’s “Sugar Free” however, as the is rarely the case.

Most people living in the Western world consume far too much sugar simply because they are unaware that it is there – seriously do you know how many savoury foods contain sugar? Far too many for me to list here, honestly.

This is what the NHS* has to say about sugar

  • Adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, (roughly equivalent to seven sugar cubes).

  • Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day (six sugar cubes).

  • Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g of free sugars a day (five sugar cubes).

  • There is no guideline limit for children under the age of 4, but it’s recommended they avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and food with sugar added to it.

So, what about snacks? I most definitely fall into the “Savoury” category – I am not a fan of many sweet things and positively dislike a good number of them including cream, which rules out most desserts and cakes, chocolates filled with just about anything really, apart from mint, and I detest maripan and royal icing.

Rather unfortunately, however, I do like crisps, crackers, digestive biscuits and most forms of savoury snacks. I say unfortunately because these are nearly as bad as sugary treats.

But it is not all doom and gloom – there are loads of really healthy snacks you can eat completey guilt-free and, whatever your preference, sweet or savoury, many of them are actually really good for you!

For a sweet hit never disregard fruit, whatever season we are in there will be a fruit to tempt you – and not just the run-of-the-mill apple, orange, banana either (even though these are pretty good for you as well)

Seasonal Fruits

For the biscuit and cake lovers – indulge yourself occasionally, but make your own don’t buy. There are so many great recipes out there with wholesome ingredients and, if you make in bulk, most will freeze. You keep control of the ingredients so no “hidden” sugars!

For the savoury freaks (like me) leave the crisps on the shelf – they are sooo bad for you. High in saturated fats with little nutritional value and often high in salt too they have nothing to offer other than taste! (Oh, but they do taste good!) I have found hummus snacks and quinoa which are better but still quite high in fat, eat in moderation with a greek yoghurt dip or a tangy tomato salsa.

Individually wraps cheeses are great on the go snacks and protein rich too, popcorn is great for keeping hunger pangs at bay – a good source of fibre and no sugar!

I’m getting back in the kitchen next week so I’ll work on some snack ideas and share them with you soon!

Bye for now

*Source: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/sugars.aspx

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