Snack attack – what are Aussies munching on?
You are what you eat... So what are Australians snacking on?
Recent research provides a sneaky insight into the snacking
habits of Australians aged 14 and older and you might be surprised
by the results. Of the 15 snacks most commonly enjoyed by
Australians, only five were considered a healthy choice.
Five of the top 15 snacks were savoury, nine were sweet and one
was neutral (plain/natural yoghurt). While most people enjoyed
snacking on sweet treats they weren't the most popular overall.
Potato chips were the snack of choice, with 41 per cent of people
snacking on chips in an average week. Other class favourites were
nuts (37 per cent) and savoury biscuits/crackers (32 per cent).
There was a marked difference in snacking behaviours between
males and females. Women tended to snack more on healthy options
such as nuts, savoury biscuits or crackers and natural/plain
yoghurt. Nutritional value and kilojoules of snacks were less of a
concern for men, who were more likely to consume potato chips and
corn chips. Ice cream on the other hand was a fence sitter, with a
similar consumption level reported between both genders.
Age was also a determining factor in Australians' snacking
habits. 60 per cent of teenagers aged 14 to 17 snacked on potato
chips compared to 23 per cent of those over the age of 65.
But why does this all matter?
Considering a large percentage of Australian's consume some kind
of snack daily, this is big news. Nutritious snacks make up part of
a healthy and well balanced diet, however energy dense, nutrient
poor snacks like the popular potato chip are taking their toll on
our waistline and increasing our risk of type 2 diabetes.
Tips for healthy snacking
- Go natural. Instead of a muesli bar, opt for whole fruit and
unprocessed nuts and seeds
- Yoghurt is a great snack, but try and opt of natural or Greek
yoghurt to avoid unnecessary added sugar - you can always add fruit
for some natural sweetness
- Veggie sticks and veggie-based dip are not only easy to prepare
but delicious. Try whipping up some dip at home with a food
processor and some of your favourite veggies
- Homemade wholemeal fruit or veggie muffins are great, if you
don't fall into the trap of adding too much sugar
- Wholegrain crackers topped with tomato, avocado, cheese or tuna
are a healthy choice
- And after all this if you're still craving a muesli bar, why
not try making a muesli slice? At least this way you'll be
responsible for what goes in it