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Snack attack – what are Aussies munching on?

News flash!

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