How do I know which snacks are healthy?

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Quick Question for you ... How do you know which snacks are healthy? I'm only asking as I used to buy snacks that I believed were healthy.

My assumptions were based on the branding, marketing and packaging, which I believed implied I was choosing healthy options. They looked enticing and told me there were only 57 calories per slice – these surely would be healthy snacks for me and my family?

Err – turns out I got it wrong!!

When I learned a simple 4 step process to reading food labels I was shocked (bear in mind I had a sports science degree so wasn’t completely naive about nutrition), but I had no idea that I would be duped into making choices that I now know, weren’t all they seemed!

I was shocked to find that my apple 'go ahead' slices had more sugar than chocolate digestives! And my “fat free” yoghurt options were packed full of sugar!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying anything good or bad about these snacks, and I’m not advocating having chocolate digestives instead either!

These snacks can be tasty, convenient and just what I need sometimes when I’m between meals or on the go!

But learning how to see past the clever branding and marketing, and understanding how to read the labels for myself has definitely helped me make more informed choices.

This is especially important as the governments adult’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) for sugar has recently been drastically reduced to not more than 5% of the energy (calories) you get from food and drink each day.

That's a maximum of 30g of added sugar a day for adults, which is roughly 7 sugar cubes.

And a child’s (2- 11 years old) is also not more than 5% of the energy from food and drink each day. That's a maximum of 24grams or 6 sugar cubes.

As part of our Intentional Health community programme we teach this simple 4 step process in how to properly read the packaging that led me to discovering my choices haven’t always been that helpful.

This process involves;

  1. Finding the right part of the packet to identify 100grams
  2. Finding out how many grams of fat per 100grams are in a product
  3. Finding out how many grams of sugar per 100grams are in a product
  4. Checking the ingredients list to see if these sugars are natural or added free sugars, and also looking at the ingredients list. There are many secret or hidden sugars in these foods.

I am about to start work on creating a free short online information session in December to demonstrate exactly how to do this, as well as how to identify some of the hidden sugars in the ingredients lists.

If you would like to find out more about how to quickly identify how much sugar is in comparable products, and be able to make more informed choices about your food and snacks, please click here and I’ll send you the details once they are confirmed.

If you are looking for a healthy snack in the meantime, you could try an apple and a handful of raisins for a less added sugar and more nutritious option, and I’ll leave you with one more little take away you might like to know;

Ingredients listed on the packaging appear in quantity order!

So the ingredients that appear first are in the largest quantities and the last ingredient on the list is the least quantity.

’til next week.


As usual, if you’ve found this helpful or inspiring we'd love to hear from you, or if you've got any other topic suggestions! – please get intouch! here.

You can also download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below to help get you started on your journey to living a healthier, happier life..

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