Some of us love chocolate, others cake, then there are those of us who enjoy nothing more than sitting down after work with a glass of wine an platter of our favourite savoury treats – crackers, dip, cheese, olives, potato chips, corn crackers all tiny morsels that do not appear to be hiding anything sinister, especially when they are “low fat” – right? Unfortunately many of the tiny treats that we enjoy over a few glasses of wine can contain as many kilojoules as a meal, and that is before we even take the alcohol into account. So, as the party season draws closer, here are some tips on ways that you can enjoy a little nibble before dinner while avoiding a complete calorie blow out.
The primary issue associated with savoury snacks is that we tend to eat them in unregulated volumes – a 200g packet of chips; a while container of pesto dip, an entire round of rich cheese – large volumes of high fat food which we do not compensate for by eating less at the next meal. For this reason, the secret to success usually means limiting the number of options that are particularly high in fat to just one or two and instead bulking up the platter with lower fat, more nutritious options. Vegetables sticks instead of crackers, thin wafers instead of high fat crackers, low fat dips instead of the full fat creamy and pesto options or controlled portions of cheese rather than the entire block – remember, you will eat whatever options are in front of you, so the more you serve, the more you will eat.
Other less common savoury snacks which offer much more nutritionally than the traditional high fat snacks, and which are far less easy to overeat include Edemame beans, roasted chickpeas, smoked mussels and oysters and sashimi. Such options contain much more protein than other high carbohydrate crackers and chips, which means they also take longer to eat, and are not as “Moorish” as the more processed high salt options.
Perhaps the most crucial step to take if you are really serious about not gaining weight this party season is to never arrive at a party or function starving. Make sure you have a filling snack such as nut bar, cheese and crackers or protein shake an hour or so before you head out so that you are not ravenous once you arrive and are able to be much more mindful when choosing snacks off any platter that comes your way.
High fat options – Calories & Total Fat (g)
Handful of potato chips 100, 6
Handful of corn chips 100, 5
Handful of peanuts 190,16
4 crackers with French onion dip 150, 10
4 crackers with pesto dip 25, 20
4 crackers with ¼ round Brie 150, 12
Lower calorie alternatives – Calories & Total Fat (g)
Handful of roasted chickpeas 100, 2
Handful of Lavash crackers 60, 1
4 wafers with low fat hommus 100, 5
4 Lavash wafers with reduced fat pesto dip 150, 10
4 crackers with reduced fat Brie 100, 8