Swap to these Healthier Snack Alternatives

Posted on April 16, 2021

Swap to these Healthier Snack Alternatives

When you’re feeling peckish, it can be tempting to reach for a packet of crisps or the biscuit tin, but it is the start of an unhealthy habit and soon those extra calories add up, especially when you’re close to the kitchen while working from home. Small changes to your diet can make a big difference to your health, so here are some of our favourite healthier alternatives for when you need a burst of energy or an afternoon pick-me-up.

For your chocolate fix

Sometimes only chocolate will do, but try picking up a bar of dark chocolate instead. Cocoa contains plant chemicals called flavanols which have some health benefits and dark chocolate contains up to three times more flavanol-rich cocoa solids than milk chocolate. Just a square from a dark chocolate bar can be enough to ease those cravings, whereas you may end up eating more of the milk chocolate.  There can also be less sugar in dark chocolate than milk chocolate, which you can easily get used to. 

Studies have shown that flavanols support the production of nitric oxide (NO) in the blood vessels, helping relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow, supporting a healthy cardiovascular system(1).

Something savoury

Nuts are a good alternative to popular snacks like crisps. Eating nuts has been associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes(2). They are high in healthy fat (unsaturated fats), protein, nutrients like magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin E and B vitamins and fibre. They are a perfect filling snack for eating on-the-go. So next time you want to grab that crisp packet, go for a handful or 30g of mixed, unsalted nuts instead. If you or someone you know is allergic to nuts, why not try vegetable baked crisps. 

A less decadent dessert

If ice cream is your vice, you can still enjoy a cooling after-dinner treat without the calories. To serve four, cut four fresh bananas into chunks then freeze until solid. When ready to serve, pop the frozen banana into a food processor with enough milk to achieve a creamy texture. Scoop into four bowls for a healthier pudding that’s just as delicious. You can sprinkle on top chopped nuts, seeds and cocoa. 

Time for elevenses 

Make fruit more fun by adding a teaspoon of peanut butter to slices of fresh apple. Apples are high in fibre and antioxidants called polyphenols, while peanut butter, being a good fat, has been shown to increase good cholesterol(3). This fruity and nutty combo makes a perfect 11am snack to enjoy at your desk. For those allergic to nuts, slices of vegetables like carrots and celery can be enjoyed with hummus or guacamole. 

Switch your smoothie

Whizzing up a smoothie might seem like a great way to check off your five a day, but blending fruit can make it less healthy. Blending breaks down some of the fibre in fruit and also releases its natural sugars, converting them to “free sugars”. These are the sugars we should cut down on to protect our teeth and our waistline. Rather than blitzing all fruit, add in some vegetables like spinach, kale and cucumber to add more nutrients and reduce the sweetness. 

Also enjoy a fruit salad as a refreshing snack, combining fresh fruit with tinned to save money and use up store cupboard stocks.

Movie night nibbles

For those crunchy snack cravings that hit when you’re relaxing in front of the TV, try cooking up some roasted chickpeas. 

Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, toss with a little olive oil then roast for 25 minutes at 230°. Toss with salt, pepper and paprika then serve on the sofa. Rich in fibre and protein, chickpeas are both delicious and nutritious – and you won’t miss those crisps one bit.

Making simple swaps like these will help you adopt a healthier diet without missing out on snack time, so you can enjoy a guilt-free treat and keep unhealthy cravings at bay.



  1. Fisher, N., Hughes, M., Gerhard-Herman, M. and Hollenberg, N. . (2003). Flavanol-rich cocoa induces nitric-oxide-dependent vasodilation in healthy humans. Journal of Hypertension. 21 (12), 2281-2286. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14654748
  2. Nishi, S.K., Kendall, C. W. C., Bazinet, R.P. et al. (2014). Nut consumption, serum fatty acid profile and estimated coronary heart disease risk in type 2 diabetes. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis . 24 (8), 845-852. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24925120/ 
  3. McKiernan, F., Lokko, P., Kuevi, A. et al. (2010). Effects of peanut processing on body weight and fasting plasma lipids. The British Journal of Nutrition. 104 (3), 418-426.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20456815/