Here at Five-a-Dale, we just LOVE our fruit and vegetables (like the Krunchitz). To get our 5 portions of fruit and veg into our diet, we can eat them with our meals, but also in between as healthy snacks. For a refreshing change, why not try a fruit kebab or a pot of fruit salad? Melon, apple, banana, strawberries and pineapple all taste great on a kebab stick, in a pot or just on their own!
Eating fruit, as it comes from the tree or the bush, is better for our bodies because we get fibre from eating the skins (but don’t eat banana and satsuma skins!) and the natural sugar in fruit is kind to our teeth.
Once fruits have been processed – turned into juices or smoothies, for example – the fruit sugar becomes more harmful to our teeth, and can cause tooth decay. Try to drink your smoothies and juices at mealtimes only, when it will be safer for your teeth.
There’s much debate about dried fruit in between meals – some people say that because they have been processed, by drying them, the fruit sugar inside is more concentrated and will harm your teeth. Some people say that they are better for you than sweets and chocolate, as they contain vitamins and iron. However you feel, the main message is not to eat too many dried fruits in between meals.
It less easy to get excited about having vegetables as snacks, perhaps it’s because they are not very sweet, but they do have lots of colour, crunch and texture. Dunked into dips, veggies can taste amazing. At Five-a-Dale we love tasting a range of vegetables that have been prepared, cut, chopped and dunked into sweet chilli sauce, hummus, salsa or yoghurt dip (all lower fat, of course!). Yum! Try chopping up a carrot, some celery, cucumber, tomato and baby corn and dunking in a dip of your choice.
Often, when people reach for a snack or drink in between meals, they will plump for sweets, a chocolate bar, a bag of crisps, biscuits or cakes, washed down with a sugary fizzy drink. These foods and drinks are easy to pick up, on the way home from school, in shops, and from vending machines at leisure centres, work or college.
As we learned before on the Eat Well plate page, we can still eat these foods, but they should make up the smallest portion of our diet. This is because of the amount of fat and sugar they contain.
If you are really little, eating snacks during the day is a great way to get some extra calories to give you an energy boost, particularly as really young children can’t manage big portions at mealtimes. But for the majority of people, sat down all day, we won’t need extra snacks.
So before snacking, first check that you really are hungry! Sometimes we can feel hungry when we are actually thirsty! Perhaps try a drink first to see if that makes you feel full.
If you still feel hungry and want a snack, try to pick one from our healthier snack list.
Remember not to eat too many snacks, or you won’t feel hungry when it is time for your main meals.
The following foods all make delicious, filling and healthy snacks to keep you going in between meals:
- raw vegetables, such as carrot, cucumber, celery, cherry tomatoes etc.
- wholemeal toast or crumpets
- cereal (not sugary, chocolate or honey-coated)
- wholemeal sandwich, pitta bread, tortilla wraps or oatcakes
- cheese and crackers
- low-fat, low-sugar yoghurts – adding fresh or dried fruit to natural yoghurt is ideal!
- homemade popcorn
- baked crisps
Healthier drinks to enjoy alongside your snack are: milk (semi-skimmed or skimmed milk is best for children age 2+, or whole milk for under 2s), unsweetened soya milk or other unsweetened milk alternatives, tap or bottled water. Beware: flavoured water may contain a large number of teaspoons of sugar and/or sweeteners.
- Before snacking, first check that you really are hungry! Sometimes we can feel hungry when we are actually thirsty.
- If you still feel hungry and want a snack, try to pick one from our healthier snack list.
- Remember not to eat too many snacks, or you won’t feel hungry when it is time for your main meals.