Whether you find yourself struggling against the 3pm sugar craving, or a late night salty chip fix is your weakness, everybody has a favourite food that they turn to in times of need – ‘times of need’ being busy weekdays or nights when you need an easy meal, fast.
Many of us turn to frozen pizza, a pack of chips or a soda from the office vending machine for a quick fix, but there are plenty of healthy food options that are equally delicious, equally easy and just as fast to pull together. Accredited practising dietitian and nutritionist Lyndi Cohen has given us five healthy alternatives to your favourite snack foods, so you don’t have to go without. Just as easy and tasty, but a whole lot less bad for you.
1. Swap sausages and cold meat for minced meat
Many people get sausages and cold meats as a quick and convenient source of meat but these foods are incredibly high in sodium and saturated fat. While you might have sausages occasionally at a BBQ, choose minced meat during the week. Add a tin of lentil to stretch your minced meat even further. Compared with sausages and cold meat, minced meat is a much leaner and healthier option.
2. Swap frozen pizza for easy stir-fried rice
You can make healthy stir-fried rice faster and cheaper than you can buy a frozen meal or pizza. Use convenient shelf stable ingredients like SunRice SuperGrains, along with frozen peas, corn and carrot. Add an egg and some fish sauce for comforting meal that’s as quick and easy as it is nutritious.
3. Swap soft drinks for soda water
Soft drinks are one of the few foods in the supermarket that contribute no nutritional value. While the dollar value might be low, soft drinks are a non-essential grocery item so by not regularly buying soft drinks you’re saving money. To help break the habit, try swapping to soda water. If you can’t do without a sweet drink and need to a stepping stone, try mixing half and half 100% fruit juice with soda water.
4. Swap salty chips for snack sized popcorn
It’s nice to be able to include a delicious option in the kids’ lunchbox or to snack on something salty when the craving strikes but swapping chips with popcorn is a simple healthier choice. While chips are high in saturated fat, sodium and don’t add much nutritional value, popcorn is high in fibre and a much healthier choice.
5. Swap sugary cereals for oats or breakfast biscuits
Many breakfast cereals are marketed as a healthy option but many contain high levels of sodium and sugar without contributing much fibre. Oats are an incredibly cheap and versatile breakfast alternative. Sweeten oats with a drizzle of honey or add dried fruit to make your own muesli, and control the sweetness. Breakfast biscuits with a drizzle of honey are also another fantastic and affordable option.
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