Healthy snacks or confectionary in disguise?
A CHOICE review of the nutritional value of sweet snacks found that some masquerading as healthy should actually be sitting in the lolly aisle, and treated as a dessert or an indulgence rather than a regular snack.
"Just because a product contains 'natural' ingredients like grains, nuts, fruit or yoghurt doesn’t mean it's healthy, even if it's found in the health food section of the supermarket," says CHOICE spokesperson Ingrid Just.
"The findings add further weight to our argument that consumers need front of pack traffic light nutrition information to help them identify healthier foods."
The healthier snack options are those that come with portion control packaging, offer roughly 600kjs per serve and are lower in saturated fat and sugars:
- What to buy: Paradise Vive Lites Mini Choc Chip Cookies (8x30g packs)
- What to avoid: Arnott's Tim Tam Fingers (individually wrapped)
What to buy: Paradise Vive Lites Mini Choc Chip Cookies (8x30g packs)
"While Tim Tams are a national icon they are super charged with fat, sugar and energy – consider them a chocolate bar rather than an everyday snack. If you're going to eat them as an occasional treat, choose Tim Tams that are individually wrapped; the packaging may stop you ploughing through the whole packet," says Ingrid.
SNACK CAKES AND MUFFINS
- What to buy: Mills & Ware Chocolate Muffin Bars (6x42g)
- What to avoid: Adams Bruce Mini Cakes (12X90g; 6xLight Fruit, 6xSticky Date)
"Look for cakes that are 50g or smaller in size, are lower in fat and higher in fibre. These lower GI snacks will keep you feeling fuller for longer," says Ingrid.
- What to buy: Aldi Be Light Balanced Lifestyle Orange Flavoured Cereal Bar (6x30g)
- What to avoid: All Natural Bakery Yoghurt, Peach & Mango Oat Slice Made with Organic Oats (100g)
"Yoghurt is considered healthy but when it's used as a coating think of it as 'faux-gurt' – full of kilojoules and unhealthy fats in similar quantities to white chocolate. Instead, reach for bars with a high percentage of nuts or those that are of the lower fat cereal or baked variety," says Ingrid.
- What to buy: Aldi Sweet Valley Peaches in Juice (4x125g)
- What to avoid: Woolworths Peaches in Mango Flavoured Jelly (4x120g)
"This category is the most nutritious of the processed sweet snacks but choose fruit cups with natural juice and those that have more than 50% fruit content," says Ingrid.
For a full list of the sweet products reviewed by CHOICE go to www.choice.com.au/sugarsnacks
Note to editors: CHOICE will release its report into healthier, shelf-stable savoury snacks in May, 2011.
- Ingrid Just, CHOICE, Spokesperson: 0430 172 669