Even if you’ve got a sweet tooth, it’s hard to resist the appeal of a savoury snack.
Whether you like yours salty, fried, spicy or crunchy – savoury snacks are often the ones we struggle to give up while trying to eat well.
The good news is – you don’t have to give up savoury healthy snacks in pursuit of good health.
What should I eat when I crave savoury food?
You’ll be pleased to hear that if you’re feeling hungry outside mealtimes, you don’t need to battle with your savoury cravings.
Healthy savoury snacks can fit perfectly into a balanced diet.
Benefits of snacking1
It leads to better food choices
A key benefit of snacking is that it prevents you from getting too hungry between mealtimes and making poor food choices as a result.
This is because allowing ourselves to get too hungry weakens our resolve to select healthy foods and means we’re far more likely to choose whatever’s readily available – often convenience food or ready meals.
Extreme hunger also means you might overeat at your next meal, so it can be good to temper your appetite with a healthy snack.
It might help balance blood sugar
Eating six smaller meals rather than three larger ones each day might be able to help prevent blood sugar spikes and dips in people who are prone to them.
Symptoms of low blood sugar can include tiredness, dizziness and hunger. If you regularly experience this a few hours after eating, try some healthy snacks to keep your sugar levels on an even keel.
It helps maintain energy throughout the day
Going several hours without anything to eat can cause us to feel low in energy. This is partially down to blood sugar dips (as above).
Also, remember your brain uses glucose from food as its primary energy source, and muscles use stored glycogen from carbohydrates to keep working at their best. 2
If you’re feeling exhausted and it’s been many hours since your last meal, consider that your body might need a re-fuel.
What is the best snack for weight loss?
Nutritionist Alexander Thompson says, “Aim to base your snacks around slowly digesting, high-fibre carbohydrate rich foods. These create a feeling of fullness and give sustained energy, keeping you feeling fuller for longer.”
To keep your snack in the healthy category, try to keep the sugar low – less than 5g.
What are some of the healthiest savoury snacks?
Our top picks for the best savoury snacks
Pita strips and dip
Wholemeal pita strips are the perfect vehicle for countless healthy dips. Wholemeal pita bread is filling thanks to its fibre content – yet low in fat.
Healthy dips to accompany it include:
- Tzatziki – yoghurt, cucumber, lemon juice and garlic. Use 0% fat Greek yoghurt for a low fat dip which contains protein and calcium.
- Guacamole – made with mashed avocado, tomato, lime juice, onions, coriander and hot pepper, it contains healthy fats and vitamins C and E.
- Ful- a chunky dip made from stewed broad beans with olive oil and fresh herbs. Some people add chopped chilli, onions or tomatoes. Full of flavour and contains vegan protein, vitamins and minerals, a portion of ful with wholemeal pita will satisfy you for hours without making you feel sluggish.
- Salsa- ingredients vary, but a basic salsa made from tomatoes, onion, garlic, coriander and lemon juice is low-fat and contains nutrients like vitamin C and E.
These dips are all easy to make at home. Simply assemble the ingredients and fill a small glass jar or lunch pot with your dip, toast and cut your pita and wrap separately to give you a truly delicious and filling snack at any time of day.
Apple slices and cheese
Contains fibre, protein, calcium and vitamin C, apples and cheese are also a great flavour match.
Eating protein in a snack makes you feel fuller for longer. This is because protein digests slowly in relation to carbohydrates, staying in the stomach longer and signalling to the stomach that it’s full.
To keep this snack appetising when you’re on the go- put the apple slices and cheese in separate pots to stop them bumping against each other until it’s time to eat.
There’s something about popcorn that makes it feel indulgent – despite being a deceptively light food.
When made by simply popping corn using heat, then lightly seasoned with low-calorie toppings, popcorn is a great, low-sugar choice. H&B Popping Corn
Top with a small pinch of salt, cayenne pepper and chili powder for a spicy, savoury snack. If you’re on the go, fill a small lunchbox with homemade popcorn to graze on when hunger strikes.
If you’ve never had these savoury snacks, you’re missing out.
Toss cooked chickpeas in a tablespoon of olive oil, then roast in the oven at 200C for 20 minutes. The result is a crisp, crunchy snack to which you can add paprika, chilli powder, or any other spice of your choice.
Chickpeas are a great source of fibre.
No time to cook? Try these BRAVE Roasted Chickpeas Sweet Chilli
Sliced boiled egg on crackers
A sliced boiled egg eaten with 2 wholegrain crackers is a snack that’ll fill you up.
Boiled eggs are packed with protein and contain important nutrients like zinc, calcium and B vitamins. Wholegrain crackers like these bran crispbreads 3GG Scandinavian Bran Crispbread contain fibre and complex carbohydrates.
If you find boiled eggs and crackers on their own a little dry, try adding a sliced cherry tomato or piece of cucumber.
Carrot sticks 4 and hummus
This snack contains protein, fibre, folate, vitamin K, zinc, iron, magnesium and vitamin C – with low sugar.
If you don’t like the taste of hummus, try one of the non-traditional varieties which are available. These include red pepper hummus, beetroot hummus, sweet potato hummus or avocado hummus.
You could switch up the carrot for your favourite vegetable baton – peppers, celery and cucumber all work well.
Cottage cheese with nuts
Cottage cheese contains calcium and B vitamins.
Cottage cheese goes surprisingly well with nuts, which offer a crunchy texture to the complement the creamy cheese. Nuts are also a source of protein, and contains minerals like selenium.
This snack doesn’t travel particularly well unless you’ve got a cool bag, but it’s perfect to eat while you’re working from home.
This vegan, gluten-free snack is a great alternative to traditional potato crisps.
Made from nori seaweed, a type of algae, seaweed crisps are a source of iodine.
If you crave something crunchy while at your desk, give these a go and enjoy the benefits.Abakus Foods Seaweed Crisps Salt & Vinegar Salt & Vinegar
Goats’ cheese and beetroot
Creamy, earthy and seriously delicious, goat’s cheese contains protein and calcium.
It may not have a reputation as a diet food, but a small chunk of goats’ cheese alongside some cubed or sliced pickled beetroot is filling enough to keep you satisfied until your next meal.
Savoury baked tofu cubes
Tofu contains vegan protein as well as magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. 5
To make, cut a tofu block into chunks and press out excess water. Marinate tofu in your choice of flavouring, ensuring each piece is evenly coated. Bake at 180C for about 25 minutes until beginning to turn golden.
Tofu lends itself well to Asian flavours such as soy sauce and rice vinegar, but you could choose anything from paprika, cayenne pepper, pesto, sweet chili to balsamic vinegar and more.
These chunks travel well in an airtight container – enjoy at any time.
Author: Andrea Dobronszki, Regulatory Affairs
Andrea started her career as a clinical dietitian and lecturer at a university hospital, managing the dietetic treatment of patients with various diseases, and giving lectures in nutrition for medical students. Later she worked as a Product Developer at a sport nutrition company where she developed food supplements and fortified foods, and ensured that the products complied with the relevant regulations. Andrea joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate and specialises in food supplements, food regulations, nutrition and dietetics.
1 Healthy snacking – British Nutrition Foundation
2 Fundamentals of glycogen metabolism for coaches and athletes (nih.gov)
3 Are Hard-Boiled Eggs Healthy? | Cooking Light
4 Healthy Food: 100 Healthiest Foods on the Planet | Eat This, Not That!
5 The health benefits of tofu – BBC Good Food