Top healthy snacks

Judith Wills / 25 November 2014

Judith Wills lists her best healthy snack ideas, including healthy snacks for work and at home.



Read Judith's tips for choosing the best healthy snacks here.

Very quick healthy snacks

These healthy snacks are great when you are on the go, the perfect handbag snacks you can take with you to work or when you are out and about.

  • A handful of any unsalted nuts – such as almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts and pistachios, all of which contain good fats, protein, a range of vitamins and minerals. Read about the health benefits of nuts here.
  • A handful of any seeds – pumpkin seeds or pine nuts are ideal and rich in immune-boosting zinc.
  • Add a small apple to either of the above for some vitamin C and a small sugar hit which is moderated by the high-fat, protein-rich, low-sugar nuts/seeds.

Healthy savoury snacks

These healthy savoury snacks are perfect for when you are in the grazing mood at home and want to raid the fridge and cupboards.

  • A rye crispbread or celery stick topped with crunchy peanut butter or cashew nut butter (choose unsalted/unsugared type) and sliced cucumber is very satisfying, can reduce LDL cholesterol and is rich in B vitamins.
  • Two thin round oatcakes topped with the soft cheese, quark, which is similar to cottage cheese, and a dash of mango chutney – great taste and ideal for wheat-avoiders.
  • Recently pardoned after years in the nutritional wilderness, an egg, hard boiled and dipped in celery salt, is a carb-haters' dream snack and will keep hunger at bay for hours for less than 100 calories.
  • A retro avocado – halve, stone, fill centre with French dressing, eat – is the world's most delicious source of good fats and vitamin E.
  • Cold baked beans in tomato sauce. Yes, if you're desperate and have little in the fridge, a few spoonfuls of these can be a lifesaver. If they're the reduced salt and sugar kind, so much the better… and at the moment they even count towards your five a day.
  • A hunk of leftover cold roast chicken (get the skin off, you don't want it). The high protein content and savoury flavour will keep you satisfied for ages.
  • A few leftover new potatoes with their skins on. When cold their high starch content converts largely to 'resistant starch', a type of starch that's absorbed much more slowly than its poor cousin and keeps you full for longer.

Healthy filling snacks

These mini-meal snacks are for when you just don't have the time to prepare a healthy meal but want something more substantial and filling.

  • Ready-made reduced fat hummus with 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil and a dash of lemon juice squeezed in (or if you've a can of cannellini beans and a bit more time, drain and puree the beans with the oil and lemon plus seasoning and make your own bean puree) eaten with crudites and a couple of breadsticks. It has a great protein/carb/fat ratio.
  • 3-4 tablespoons leftover cold wholewheat pasta shapes tossed with chopped fresh tomato and with some grated Cheddar over the top. Resistant starch, fat, protein, vitamin C – what more to ask for?
  • A bowl of ready made chilled-counter soup can be fine, depending on your choice. One that combines pulses such as lentils or kidney beans for protein with plenty of vegetables for fibre and filling power would be good. Many of these soups come in at less than 150 calories a 300ml portion.

Healthy sweet snacks

Satisfy a sweet tooth by mixing sweet snacks with beneficial foods such as yoghurt and unsalted nuts.

  • You could make your own trail mix, which is often very high in sugar. For 4 x 25g portions, combine 40g unsalted nuts of your choice with 20g unsalted seeds, 10g each raisins or goji berries and chopped dried apricot, 10g dried shaved coconut, a pinch of ground ginger or cinnamon, and 10g cacao nibs (like dark chocolate but even more healthy).
  • Nothing wrong with a few squares of 70%+ dark chocolate though. It's high in fibre and antioxidants, can improve your LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio, is packed with iron and will soon have you feeling full, while the sat fat and sugar content is lower than you might imagine.
  • Small pot of natural wholemilk yoghurt with a few berries stirred in. Forget low-fat yogurt, whole is best.
  • A couple of pieces ready-to-eat dried apricot – try to buy unsulphured type - and a dried fig (both very high in fibre to reduce their Glycaemic Index and therefore the potential blood-spiking effect of the sugars they contain, and iron).

Do you have a favourite healthy snack? Share it with us in the comments section below.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.