Tested: 10 Handbag-Friendly Healthy Treats

We love nothing more than a sweet treat (or five) to help us rise from our 4pm dip. It’s all too easy to make unhealthy food choices, especially when you’re feeling lethargic. Here at SL, we’ve been noshing our way through a mountain of delicious healthy snacks, but are they really as good for us as they claim? Leading nutritionist Gabriela Peacock gives us her honest opinion.

Best for on-the-go breakfast:

Bananito Banana Bar, MightyBee
Bananito Banana Bar, MightyBee

Mighty Bee: Relying solely on the natural sweetness of the coconut, this brand is as natural and raw as it gets. Banana-lovers will rejoice with the Bananito Banana Bar, simply made of nothing but two bananas, which is somehow chewy and creamy in texture. Try the Dark Chocolate Dipped for a pure indulgence.

Nutritional Info: Calories per bar: 86; Protein: 0.7g; Fat: 21.g (of which saturates 1.2g); Carbohydrate: 17.1g (of which sugars: 12.8g); Fibre: 1.9g

Gabriela says:Dried banana, like all other dried fruit, is fine to include in the diet in moderation. With all dried fruit bars, you need to be aware of the impact on dental health too.”

Best for afternoon snacking:

Cacao Brownie, Squirrel Sisters
Cacao Brownie, Squirrel Sisters

Squirrel Sisters: Just three years old but already winning industry awards. Founded by sister duo Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell, who are on a mission to help people make better and healthier snack choices. These gluten-free, vegan-friendly snack bars come in four flavours: Cacao Brownie, Cacao Orange, Coconut Cashew and Raspberry Ripple. Including the newly launched Raw Bites Share Bags that hit the sugar slump, naturally.

Nutritional Info: Calories per 20g bar: 82; Protein: 2.0g; Fat: 4.3g (of which saturates 1.3g); Carbohydrate: 10.0g (of which sugars: 68g); Fibre: 1.3g  

Gabriela says:The sugar content jumps out at me here – mainly from dates, which appear in all of their bars. However, the serving size is sensible for a bar made of essentially dried fruit and nuts.”

Best for vegans:

Pineapple Fruit Crisps, Emily Fruit Crisps
Pineapple Fruit Crisps, Emily Fruit Crisps

Emily Fruit Crisps: Winner of the 2018 Grocer New Product award. When one of your five-a-day comes in a packet that resembles a packet of crisps, you know it’s worth a taste. Fruit and veggies get a crunchy makeover with Insta-worthy packaging and unusual flavours that get your taste buds going, including Fig Banana and French Beans, Sugar Snap Peas with Black Edamame.
 
Nutritional Info: Calories per 30g packet: 124; Protein: 0.4g; Fat: 2.3g (of which saturates 1.2g); Carbohydrate: 25.6g (of which sugars 19.2g); Fibre: 3.7g

Gabriela says: “It may count as one of your five-a-day, but it would be better to eat a piece of fresh fruit! There is almost no protein in this snack, so I would be inclined to either combine a handful of these crisps with a few nuts or seeds to make it more balanced.”

Best for pre-gym snacking:

Beetroot & Parsnip Snack, Nothing But.
Beetroot & Parsnip Snack, Nothing But.

Nothing But.: Need we say more. The fruit and veg in these ‘crisps’ undergo a freeze-drying process, rather than being baked or fried, all that’s removed is the water ensuring you’re still getting your vitamin hit while enjoying a crunchy nosh.

Nutritional Info: Calories per 100g serving: Calories: 337; Protein: 7g; Fat: 2g (of which saturates 0.3g); Carbohydrate: 63g (of which sugars 59g); Fibre: 13g 

Gabriela says: “Again, I would probably opt for fresh with some added protein. Small packets (11g) mean portion size is controlled, but I wouldn't expect it to keep me full for long!”
 

Best for post-gym snacking:

Brazil Nut & Cherry, The Primal Pantry
Brazil Nut & Cherry, The Primal Pantry

Primal Pantry: Armed with a blender and some fruit, nuts and spices, qualified nutritionist Suzie Walker launched these protein-rich snack bars with simple ingredients that you can actually pronounce. Although these bars cost almost quadruple of a sugar-laden chocolate bar, Walker argues, “we should stop asking why real food is so expensive and instead question why processed food is so cheap.”

Nutritional Info: Calories per bar: 221; Protein: 3.8g; Fat: 14.8g (of which saturates 6.5g); Carbohydrate: 16.8g (of which sugars: 14.9g); Fibre: 2.8g

Gabriela says: “The high protein bars in this range has added plant protein from hemp powder, but the coconut nectar and dates makes them quite high sugar.”

Best for cinema outings:

Habanero Roasted Corn, Love Corn
Habanero Roasted Corn, Love Corn

Love Corn: Popcorn has had a makeover. It’s all about the corn and less about the pop! Though a packet of this roasted crunchy corn will set you back more than a regular packet of crisps, you’ll get a nutritious boost with every mouthful. With Sweet Chilli, BBQ and Sea Salt to choose from, this makes for a great savoury natural snack.

Nutritional Info: Calories per 45g pack: 196; Protein: 3.3g; Fat: 6.0g (of which saturates 0.6g); Carbohydrate: 29.7g (of which sugars 0.3g); Fibre: 5.1g

Gabriela says: “Much lower in fat and sugar than some of the fruity bars above. It is quite high in carbs (but not sugar) and contains some protein to help keep blood sugars balanced. Again, I might be inclined to mix this with a few nuts too.”

Best for a sweet-tooth:

Dark Raw Chocolate Bar, Ombar
Dark Raw Chocolate Bar, Ombar

Ombar: We always knew certain chocolate was good for us. Made with raw, organic Ecuadorian cacao, unrefined coconut sugar and real fruits, these bars give you a melt-in-your-mouth sugar fix that is 100% natural. We love the moreish buttons for kids’ lunchbox treats.
 
Nutritional Info: (Variety: Dark Chocolate 72%) Calories per bar: 204; Protein: 3.3g; Fat: 15g (of which saturates 9.4g); Carbohydrate: 15g (of which sugars 8.8g); Fibre: 0g

Gabriela says: “The 35g bars look quite rich and indulgent. Maybe a square or two at a time rather than eating the whole bar!”

Best for crisp fans:

Take it Cheesy, Hippeas
Take it Cheesy, Hippeas

Hippeas: If you’re biggest temptation is cheese puffs this gourmet substitute will be a game-changer. Addictively delicious and come in six finger-licking flavours that put the crunch back into healthy snacking.

Nutritional Info: Calories per 22g packet: 89; Protein: 3g; Fat: 3.7g (of which saturates: 0.4g); Carbohydrate: 10.8g (of which sugars: 1.1g); Fibre: 1.1g
 
Gabriela says:The flavours look appealing and they’re made solely from chickpeas so a little more protein that your average packet of crisps.”

Best for lunchboxes:

Sea Salt, Off The Eaten Path
Sea Salt, Off The Eaten Path

Off The Eaten Path: Unexpected combinations of tasty ingredients make these light and crunchy vegetable crisp blends sensory pleasures. An enjoyable way to up your protein intake and to keep you nicely full.

Nutritional Info: (Variety: Salted Bean Sticks) Calories per 30g serving: 135; Protein: 2.4g; Fat: 54g (of which saturates 0.5g); Carbohydrate: 18.0g (of which sugars 0.7g); Fibre: 2.4g; Salt: 0.60g

Gabriela says: “These look like a good option with their protein and carb content, particularly in the variety that contains peas, beans and nuts.”

Best for savoury tastes:

Salt & Vinegar, Brave Peas
Salt & Vinegar, Brave Peas

Brave Peas: Did you know split peas are nutritional powerhouses and are one of the most sustainable sources of protein on the planet? With a mission to change the way people view pulses, co-founders Amber and Seb Fraser-Sokol created these nutrient dense sweet and savoury pea snacks that will power you through the day. With fewer calories and less fat than even popcorn, we’re stocking up.

Nutritional Info: (Variety: Sea Salt) Calories per 35g: 134; Protein: 6.9g; Fat: 3.9g (of which saturates 0.4g); Carbohydrate: 14g (of which sugars: 0.7g); Fibre: 70g; Salt: 0.4g  

Gabriela says: “Far more balanced snack option because of the protein in the pea. The Paprika and chilli variety sounds delicious.”

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