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Are you trying to eat healthier? I know I’m often trying to make changes to my diet to improve my health, it’s an ongoing struggle!
Most of us start by trying to make our main meals healthier, but it’s so easy to get derailed by our choice of snacks. You get to mid-afternoon, energy levels dip, and you find yourself reaching for a bar of chocolate or the biscuit tin. Sound familiar?
Now, I know that ideally we should keep some fresh veggie sticks or a couple of hard-boiled eggs to hand for these kind of moments. But realistically, I don’t always have time to prepare a fresh healthy snack. And if I’m out for the day, I don’t want to be walking around with a hard boiled egg in my bag!
So I’ve been looking into some healthy snacks that you can easily take out and about with you. The kind of thing that you can have at hand so you’re ready when hunger strikes.
Some are sweet, some are savoury and I’ve picked both light and substantial snacks to cover all appetites.
Abakus Jujube Fruit
I’d never even heard of the Jujube fruit before I received these packs from Abakus. It’s also known as the Red Date, and has been eaten in South-Eastern Asia for thousands of years.
The Jujube is packed full of phytonutrients, Vitamin C, Iron and Manganese. It’s usually eaten dried, and has a sweet flavour that is a little similar to dates.
I was sent two different types of dried Jujube fruit products to try. The dried fruit are great for snacking on, or you could add it to your morning bowl of porridge. But I really loved the crunchy Jujube crisps!
These are dried without sulphites or additives, and the flavour and texture are both great. They’re delicious for snacking on, and each 20g bag contains just 72 calories and no fat.
You can buy Abakus products from a wide range of online and high street retailers. Click here to find your nearest stockist.
Crazy Jack Organic
I’ve always been a fan of dried fruit as a healthy snack. Yes, they are high in sugar and you need to watch how much you eat. But it’s a great way to stave off hunger, and they’re just so convenient!
I used to give my sons dried fruit as a snack when they were little. They loved it then and still do now that they are teenagers. In fact, when these packs from Crazy Jack turned up, Ollie pounced on the dried mango slices before anyone else got a look in.
Crazy Jack source their organic fruit from all over the world, and then carefully prepare them without sulphites or other artificial additives. The dark, squidgy apricots are ready to eat, and the mango…well, I can’t really tell you much about that. Ollie enjoyed it though!
You can find Crazy Jack products at a wide range of supermarkets and health food shops – click here to see a list of stockists.
Jumble Bee Snacks
If you’re looking for a healthy snack option, then you can’t go wrong with a portion of nuts. Although they are high in fat, it’s mainly the ‘good’ kind of fat that is important for heart health.
Nuts are high in fibre and protein, so they’ll help you feel full for longer. They’re also packed full of nutrients like selenium, which is important for your immune system, and magnesium, which helps with energy release. Almonds are rich in calcium, so they’re a good option if you’re avoiding dairy.
But obviously you need to go for the raw, unsalted type of nuts, like these ones from Jumble Bee. A pack of dry roasted peanuts is not going to have the same level of nutrients!
The other option here from Jumble Bee is the delicious bag of Blissful Banana Chips. These slices of banana are fried in coconut oil, so they’re not the healthiest option you could go for. But they do taste really good, and they’re probably a better option when you want something sweet but want to steer clear of the chocolate bars.
Both of these options are calorie dense, so portion control is pretty important. You can find Jumble Bee products at Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Ocado.
Mr Lee’s Noodles
Sometimes you need a healthy snack that’s a bit more substantial than a handful of nuts. And these noodle pots from Mr Lee’s are brilliant for these occasions.
Now, you probably don’t think of instant noodles as a healthy snack. And ordinarily I would agree with you – they’re usually high in fat and loaded with MSG. But these noodles are different.
Damien Lee created these when he was craving noodles while undergoing treatment for cancer. As a result, they’re a much healthier kind of noodle pot. There’s no MSG, they’re low in fat, salt and sugar, and they taste amazing.
They’re also gluten free, and two of the varieties are suitable for a vegan diet.
The rice noodles are combined with delicious broths and real, identifiable ingredients. The beef in the Hong Kong Street Beef actually tastes like beef should, and there are pieces of brocolli and carrot that actually taste of vegetables.
There are six varieties in the range, and each comes in at under 300 calories per pot. These are brilliant for a light lunch or when you need a substantial snack to see you through to a late dinner.
The Protein Ball Co.
I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with protein bars. I can see the benefit for people who are doing heavy exercise. But many of them are full of artificial ingredients and ridiculously hard to chew.
But these protein balls from The Protein Ball Co. are entirely different – I was really surprised by them!
They really are very similar to the kind of energy balls you can make yourself at home. But they come in a convenient pack that you can throw in your bag ready for when hunger strikes.
Each bag contains protein balls made from natural ingredients, and they taste fantastic. I really love the Cacao and Orange flavour – they have crunchy cocoa nibs in them, and the natural orange flavour is so much nicer than other protein snacks I’ve tried.
These are the two latest additions to the range. That Raspberry Brownie flavour is so good – it genuinely tastes like dessert!
The balls are made with a range of different protein sources, and some of them are vegan friendly. Because of this, the level of protein in each variety varies, but you’re generally looking at 7-10g of protein per pack.
You can buy Protein Ball Co products from a number of stockists both online and on the High Street – click here to see the list of stockists.
If you’ve ever felt like you need a late night snack while watching a movie (and who hasn’t?), then these are definitely the snack for you.
Corkers popcorn is handpopped corn, which makes a great alternative to a bag of crisps or chocolates while you watch your film. It’s gluten-free, vegan friendly and doesn’t contain MSG.
There are two varieties, lightly Sea Salted, or my favourite – Sweet and Salty. This popcorn has a dusting of demerara sugar and sea salt, absolutely delicious!
Each pack comes in at under 130 calories (just 99 for the Sea Salted). Popcorn isn’t super low in fat, but the individual packs help with portion control.
You’ll find Corkers in Iceland supermarkets, and at a wide range of stockists including farm shops and delis.
This is something a little different, that I hadn’t tried before. It’s a fair-trade organic coconut snack from Tiana called CocoTop.
These are pots of coconut pieces, which come in a lightly sea-salted variety and a sweet variety which is sweetened with coconut nectar.
Coconut is high in fibre and protein, so you won’t need to eat much of these. But they’re great to keep on hand for that mid-afternoon energy dip. Yes, they are high in fat and carbs, but the complex carbs help to keep you full for longer. And the Essential Fatty Acids in coconut are an important part of a balanced diet.
I’ve enjoyed eating these straight from the pot. The salted version is really nutty and moreish, and the sweet variety doesn’t taste too sweet. It is also nice sprinkled over a bowl of Greek yoghurt and sliced bananas. Delicious!
On your search for healthy snack alternatives, it’s worth taking a look at your local supermarket. The range available is definitely getting better, and you could be surprised by what you find.
I took a look in my local Aldi when I was preparing this post. They had a range of bars and snacks suitable for paleo diets, as well as lots of fruit, nut and seed variety packs. I picked up these pea snacks from Passion Deli to try out, and discovered that they are pretty tasty.
They’re gluten-free, higher in protein than crisps and baked rather than fried. Each bag has under 100 calories, and they’re suitable for a vegan diet. And that sweet chilli flavour has a real kick to it!