It’s hard to get through the day without snacking, especially when work is a bit boring or you’re feeling kind of fed up, and it’s even harder not to turn to crisps, sweets and biscuits as the easy option.
Picking at these foods all day can really mount up. It doesn’t help when you search for healthy snacks online and find things like ‘Cauliflower & Squash Fritters with Mint & Feta Dip‘ and ‘Wild Salmon & Avocado Triangles‘ – I mean, they sound great, but are they practical? Are they easy? Are they cheap? Do they satisfy that snack craving?
For me, personally, they just don’t hit the spot.
These snacks that feel a little more comforting to me, perhaps more familiar so I can just grab ‘n’ go, or at least put very little effort into making them. I’d say most, if not all, are low budget – everything on this list can be purchased from a nationwide supermarket for £1 (or less). The prices I’ve noted here are the cheapest options from ASDA, as that’s where I do my regular shop.
Peanuts are a great snack; they’re full of protein and healthy fats, and they help give you plenty of energy to last until the next meal so you’re not craving naughty treats. I like flavoured peanuts, but the thought of eating plain nuts doesn’t appeal to me; instead of buying peanuts already coated in way too much salt or sugary honey roasted seasoning, buy a pack of plain peanuts and sprinkle a light helping of salt from your cupboard into the bag. Shake it up and you’ve got your own savoury salted peanut snack.
200g bag of peanuts: 90p
Thins or crispbreads
Yes, they can be boring, but crispbreads are a great way to get that satisfying crunch into your snacking habits without tucking into a packet of crisps. You can spread something on top to make them a little palatable if you’re really not feeling it, like perhaps some light Philadelphia spread or drizzle with sweet chilli sauce.
125g box of crispbreads: 60p
I’m all for making these snacks as simple as possible but, sometimes, to get both a cheap and healthy fix you’ve got to roll up your sleeves. You can make a great chunky bean dip at home which is high in fibre, high in protein and counts as one of your five a day. The creamy texture makes them feel indulgent and totally satisfying! Just take a tin of black beans and a few spoonfuls of Greek yoghurt, blitz them in a food processor for a few seconds with some seasoning such as salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, chilli flakes, garlic and lime (any or all will do) and you’ve got a delicious, substantial homemade dip. It’d go great with your crispbreads!
400g tin of black beans: 50p
200g pot of fat free Greek yoghurt: 50p
A brilliant replacement for both sweet and savoury snacks is popcorn. It’s easy to pick at like crisps, but can come with enough sugar to satisfy any sweet tooth! If you’re being especially health conscious you might want to watch the salt or sugar content of whatever flavour you go for, but they’re still much lighter than crisps and aren’t fried either, so have a lot less saturated fat. Plus, popcorn feels like a treat anyway, even when it’s not, because we associate it so strongly with movie nights and cinema snacks. Yum!
100g microwaveable popcorn: 60p
80g sharing pack of pre-popped popcorn: 79p
As a student, my favourite lunch was an onion and chive bagel, toasted to perfection and smothered in butter – I had it nearly every day and the flavour combo was delicious enough to take me all the way to dinner. That’d be a bit much for a midday snack, but you can get a mini version in the way of bagel thins that are just as great but with less carbs. Still pop them in the toaster and top with a light spread, if you ask me – but hey, each to their own!
4 bagel thins: £1
This is another “do it yourself” trick, but it’s honestly not that hard. Melt some butter or spread, garlic and herbs in the microwave for 30 seconds, brush over a wholemeal tortilla, bake in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes and cut into sticks. Then you’ve got yourself some crispy, garlicky, buttery tortilla sticks that you can crunch away on! It’s like a lower carb, lower salt and lower fat version of garlic bread and, let’s be honest, we’re never going to turn our noses up at being one step closer to garlic bread!
8 wholemeal tortilla wraps: 95p
Probably last eaten it at a kids’ birthday party alongside some ice cream and sprinkles, jelly is great for a nostalgia trip but doesn’t necessarily spring to mind as a healthy, adult snack. But don’t be so quick to dismiss jelly – most stores do their own low calorie, low sugar versions. They’re also in these cute, super handy pots, so you can have an on-the-go bite of the sweet stuff without feeling guilty.
175g jelly pot: 47p
I used to despise dark chocolate and the bitter taste it left in my mouth, but as I’ve got older I’ve realised that a little nibble of dark chocolate isn’t as bad as I once thought. A couple of chunks here and there give me a hint of chocolate, which is basically my favourite thing in the world, but with nowhere near as much fat, dairy or sugar. The best thing about it, however, is that it’s still got a little tang of bitterness that stops me eating the whole lot! Bonus, right? You could just unwrap and eat like any normal chocolate bar or, for something a little different, you could melt the chocolate with a little butter and throw in a few chilli flakes to make a chilli chocolate dip for your crispbreads!
100g bar of dark chocolate: 30p