What to buy
Biscuit and dip combos
Traditionally, these are crowd pleasers, but beware of the pre-packaged snack variety. These biscuits and processed cheese are high in saturated fat. And if you think the classic bickie and Vegemite combo might be better, think again - Vegemite is extremely high in sodium. Keep portion sizes small and opt for rice or water crackers and a salsa-based dip.
Uncle Tobys Le Snak Corn Crackers and Salsa, six 20g-packs
Serve size: 20g
While the tiny portions won’t even come close to curing your hunger, if you have a craving for a savoury bickie and dip these might do the trick. Each pack contains about seven corn crackers with a tomato-salsa dip – a snack that provides only a fraction of the kilojoules and fat of most other biscuit and dip packs. It’s still low on nutrients so is best combined with fruit or vegetables.
There’s evidence nuts can lower cholesterol levels and stop hardening of arteries. Raw or dry roasted nuts are a great source of important vitamins and minerals and healthy fats. Using our nutrition key, they may not look quite as good as some other snacks, but still pack a huge nutrition punch. While they have good fats, fat is the most energy-dense nutrient, so limit yourself to a 30g handful. Avoid salted or sugar-coated nuts.
Lucky Walnuts, Cashews and Almonds, six 30g-packs
Serve size: 30g
These raw nuts are a great source of nutrients. Walnuts are one of the richest plant-based sources of the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential fatty acid. Almonds are an excellent source of protein, while cashews provide you with zinc. These nuts come in handy 30g-packs – just the right amount for a nutty snack.
Now here is a snack with potential. Tuna is a great source of protein which can help keep you feeling full for longer, and a good source of omega-3 – an essential fatty acid. Tuna snacks can also be low in saturated fat and energy – provided they aren’t coated in oil or mayonnaise. Another thing to watch is the sodium content as processed tuna can contain high levels of added salt. If you choose wisely, this can be one of the best snack options.
John West Tuna to Go Tuna dip with water crackers, four 61g-packs
Serve size: 61g
This tuna-and-water-cracker combination provides a convenient snack that you can slip into your bag or glove box. The 61g portion size means you are getting the right amount of kilojoules and the protein will keep you feeling full. The only down side is that the sodium content is a little high. A good snack option.
Beans and legumes
This category provides a great snack choice. Beans are a good source of fibre, are low in fat and are an important source of protein. They are also a great source of vitamins and minerals as well as phytochemicals that can help protect you from some cancers. Fortunately, there are some great convenience products in this category now available at the supermarket. This just goes to show that pre-packaged foods don’t always have to be bad for you, or a compromise. You will notice that there is no worse buy when it comes to beans and legumes. That’s because they are all good for you. The ones that we have chosen to recommend are really just examples of what’s on offer.
Edgell 3 Beans & Corn with a Balsamic Vinegar Sachet 150g
Serve size: 150g
These bean-and-corn tubs turn potentially boring beans into a very tasty snack. They come in a handy convenience tub – just peel back the lid and pour on the dressing and dig in. They even provide the fork.
Chips and crackers
A look down the chip aisle illustrates our love affair with all things crunchy and salty. Because there’s so much to choose from – and with claims such as “30% less fat than regular potato chips” – it can be a bit of a minefield. On closer inspection, regardless of their claims, nutritionally they all look eerily similar. A good rule of thumb is opt for a rice cracker first, but if you must have chips, keep the portion size small (around 20g) and choose lower-sodium varieties.
Sakata Minis Chicken, six 15g-packs
Serve size: 15g
These crackers come in six handy portion control packs, meaning you can get your savoury fix without the temptation of a whole packet bender. They are also low in saturated fat and gluten free. The only problem is they are low in fibre. Combine them with some carrot sticks, a piece of fruit or low-fat cheese to boost your nutrient intake.
Interested in finding out more about healthy eating? See CHOICE's Nutrition page.