10 healthier snacks to keep in your cupboard
Fun fact: Snacks are amazing.
Obviously, everyone loves a snack. They’re an important part of a healthy diet – as long as you’re making good snack choices.
Unfortunately, many pre-packaged pantry snacks contain large amounts of sugar or sodium and are highly processed.
Here’s one of our favourite tricks to eat healthier. It’s all about creating and stocking a healthier snack box that will satisfy your cravings while also ticking some nutritional boxes
What’s a healthy snack box?
For busy families, it’s so important to have healthier, portion-controlled snacks on hand. Fresh fruit, veggies and yoghurt are great options – but it’s a good idea to have a box full of healthier treats in the cupboard too.
So, how do we develop habits? By doing things every day. If grabbing healthier snacks isn’t easy, chances are little (and big) hands won’t get into good snacking habits.
Here’s how to make better food choices for your pantry snacks.
Nuts are the ultimate healthier snack. They contain good fats and a range of vitamins and minerals plus they are one of the best easy vegan protein sources.
And, they last a long time when packaged correctly and travel well. Just remember the two things you need to look out for: added salt and portion control. Enough nuts to cover the palm of your hand is plenty for a snack.
It doesn’t get much better (or cheaper) than air-popped popcorn when it comes to easy snack ideas. It’s the perfect healthier snack for school or home. But avoid the movie-style microwave varieties with melted butter and pop your own instead.
You can also read up on the pros and cons of organic food and make an informed decision about the type of popcorn you buy; organic or regular.
3. Wholegrain crackers
One of the easiest healthy snack swaps you can do is with your crackers. Stock up on some wholegrain crackers and separate them into portioned containers.
A good rule of thumb is if your crackers are full of seeds, rather than smooth and one colour, they will be a better choice.
4. Tinned fish
Tuna, salmon and sardines are a great choice when you want a hearty snack that is full of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They keep well, come pre-portioned and are an inexpensive addition to your healthier treat box.
5. Veggie chips
Veggie chips are a great swap for regular chips as long as you choose carefully. Look for baked varieties that have minimal sodium or make your own.
Dietitians and nutritionists often warn against processed foods masquerading as ‘healthier’ options – chips are some of the biggest culprits. Make sure to stock your snack box wisely.
shop healthy snacks
6. Dried fruit
Dried fruit is a great snack box option, but it sometimes gets a bad rap as it is high in kilojoules. But, it’s also full of vitamins and minerals; it’s just the sugar content that you need to be wary of. Choose whole, fresh fruit where possible.
7. Dark chocolate
The term ‘healthy’ is relative, right? Let’s be realistic – most people will want a sweet option in their snack box so dark chocolate is a great choice.
Firstly, your kids are unlikely to eat it all (win!). Secondly, choosing dark chocolate means you’ll be unlikely to binge as you might with a milk chocolate option. Also, dark chocolate is delicious.
8. Dried edamame
Nutritionally speaking, a variety of foods is something that we should all aim for. It’s a great idea to mix up your
snacking with iron rich, antioxidant full dried edamame.
As always, keep an eye on sodium levels and portion control then stock up.
9. Miso soup
Instant soup is a great winter snack idea, but not all soups are created equally. Miso soup can be a great snack option when you want something warm and savoury. It’s also perfect to grab and pack in your work bag or pop in a thermos.
Make sure you read the nutritional panel before buying – some varieties can contain MSG, which you may want to avoid.
10. Muesli bars
A simple, tasty and great way to fill you up until your next meal.
Look for options with nuts and seeds that are low in added sugar. You can also make your own at home – there are lots of great recipes available online.
Snacking is supposed to be satisfying!
Take some time to try a bunch of different healthier snack options and find ones that your family enjoys. Your snack box should feel like a treat, not a chore!
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board July 2021.