Healthy Snacks

Snacks, which are eaten between meals, can serve different functions. For instance, nutritious snacks can help the elderly with low food intakes, poor appetite, or who are underweight to increase their nutrient intakes. Choosing healthy snacks in appropriate portions is also important so as not to affect the appetite for the next meal and weight gain will not occur.

Tips for Choosing Snacks

1. Avoid high fat snacks

Eating high-fat snacks may lead to weight gain and snacks containing high saturated fat and trans fat may increase the blood cholesterol levels and should be eaten sparingly. Foods high in saturated fat or trans fat include foods prepared with animal fat, coconut oil, or hydrogenated fat, such as hard margarine and shortening. Examples include baked foods, such as cookies, pastries, cakes, croissants, etc. and deep-fried foods, such as french fries, doughnuts, etc. Low-fat snacks, such as whole wheat bread, wheat crackers, fresh fruit, etc. can be selected instead.

2. Cut Down on Sugary Snacks

Sugary snacks, such as cakes, chocolates, soft drinks, sweetened fruit juice, canned fruit etc. are high in energy and should be selected sparingly. Fresh fruit is full of nutrients can be selected more often.

3. Cut Down on High-Sodium Snacks

Excessive intakes of high sodium snacks, such as sausages, hot dogs, nuts with added salt, chips, etc. may lead to high blood pressure. Snacks with added salt or contain preserved meat should be chosen less often. Unprocessed snacks, such as fresh fruit and vegetables like carrots and celery sticks can be selected more often.

4. Choose More High-Fibre Snacks

Dietary fibre serves different functions in the body. It can help to give a sense of satiety and in turn lower one's food intakes. Dietary fibre can also benefit people with hypercholesterolaemia because of its possible lipid lowering effect. Moreover, dietary fibre can help to relieve constipation and lower the incidence of certain types of intestinal diseases. Examples of high-fibre snacks include fresh fruit, such as apple, banana, orange, etc., vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber, etc. and whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole meal bread, whole wheat biscuits, etc.

5. Have Appropriate Portions

Portion sizes of snacks should be appropriate and not in excess. Snack time can be arranged between meals in order not to affect the appetite for the next meal.

6. Read the Nutrition Labels

Read and compare nutrition labels, especially concerning the energy, fat, sugar, and sodium content, when purchasing prepackaged snacks. For instance, a food which carries the claim of low-sugar may be high in fat and eating excessively will lead to increased fat intakes.

7. Don't Forget Food Safety and Hygiene

Portion sizes of snacks should be appropriate and not in excess. Snack time can be arranged between meals in order not to affect the appetite for the next meal.

8. Consider the Health Conditions

The elderly with chronic diseases or who are obese should choose snacks according to their medical conditions.

Suggestions for Snack Selections


  • Select plain rolls, raisin rolls, white bread (may add a little jam or peanut butter), sandwiches with low-fat cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, etc.
  • Avoid eating croissants, cream buns, doughnuts, hot dogs, etc.

Biscuit and Cakes:

  • Select soda biscuits, crackers, whole wheat crackers, tea biscuits, etc.
  • Avoid cookies, wafers, chocolate biscuits, egg tarts, cream cakes, butter cakes, etc.


  • Select cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber chunks, etc.
  • Avoid french fries, pickles, etc.


  • Select fresh fruits, such as orange, apple, banana, etc., unprocessed dried fruit, such as raisins, dried prunes, etc.
  • Avoid canned fruit and candied fruit.

Dairy products:

  • Select skimmed milk, low-fat milk, low-fat yoghurt,low-fat cheese, etc.


  • Select boiled or roasted nuts with no added salt.
  • Avoid deep-fried nuts or nuts with added salt.

Related Audiovisual and Booklet Package(s):

Healthy Snacks VCD
Shopping Smart