The Truth About ‘Healthy’ Snacks

The Truth About ‘Healthy’ Snacks

While it’s a given that you should steer clear of anything labelled ‘low fat’ or ‘low calorie’, the snack shelves, teeming with everything from plant-based bars to vegetable crisps, aren’t necessarily as healthy as they claim. To dispel the myths around some of our favourite snacks, we spoke with nutritional therapist Frances Phillips. From simple food swaps to the snacks to avoid, here’s what you need to know…


SWAP: Dried apricots    

FOR: A small handful of dried white mulberries
Dried fruit is something that comes up time and time again with my clients. It seems like a healthy option but it’s far too easy to overdo portions – for example, think how easy it is to eat ten dried apricots, but you’d never eat ten fresh apricots. To cut back on your sugar intake and boost your antioxidant profile, consider snacking on a handful of dried white mulberries or goji berries instead – or better still, stick to fresh fruit.


SWAP: Chocolate rice cakes   

FOR: Wholegrain rice cakes plus healthy fats
Chocolate rice cakes may seem saintly and I see the appeal if you’re looking to quash a sugar craving but the nutrient content is very low and they’re likely to leave you craving more sugar as the day goes on. Instead, find a wholegrain variety and have them with a tablespoon of hummus or avocado – a dose of healthy fats will help to control sugar cravings.


SWAP: The real deal    

FOR: A raw version
Raw treats such as Livia’s Kitchen’s products are a great substitution for the real thing. Free from refined sugar, preservatives, gluten and dairy, they’re a more nutritious option. However, just because they are made with natural ingredients doesn’t mean they can be enjoyed every day. I’d far rather my clients eat the occasional ‘naughty’ brownie instead of a daily ‘healthy’ one.


SWAP: Yoghurt-covered bars   

FOR: Nakd Bar
The ubiquitous snack bar is a common diet pitfall. The ones to avoid at all costs are ones that contain refined sugar (check the ingredients list) and have a yoghurt coating. – bars coated in yoghurt are a sure sign that sugar has been added to the mix. Instead, stick to bars made with minimal ingredients, ideally just fruit and nuts, like a Nakd Bar. While there’s a time and place for this kind of snack, they shouldn’t be a daily part of your diet. A better option would be a piece of fruit with nut butter.


SWAP: Supermarket brands 

FOR: Planet Organic’s own brand
Popcorn is easily available in most places now but it’s not a particularly satiating or nutritious snack. Even some of the supposedly ‘healthy’ brands are cooked in pro-inflammatory oils. The best choice out there is Planet Organic’s own brand – they do lots of delicious flavours and they’re all made with coconut oil and natural ingredients. If you haven’t got a Planet Organic near you and fancy a crunchy snack, stick to a handful of nuts – it may not sound as exciting but you can guarantee they will fill you up and provide a real nutrient boost too.


SWAP: Raw chocolate  

FOR: Nut-based varieties

Raw chocolate is definitely healthier than sugar and milk-based chocolate as it’s packed with antioxidants, but if you do have a sweet tooth go one step further and opt for a nut-based dark chocolate. The darker your chocolate the more flavonoids it has (antioxidant compounds are said to protect against cell damage caused by free radicals) and the addition of nuts will help to slow the sugar release, keeping sugar cravings at bay for longer.

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