It’s no secret that when it comes to food, many people make the unhealthy choice because of convenience, but also taste.
Healthy indulgence is a leading food trend that’s market driven by those who demand healthy, yet tasty foods… because, while you are keen on taking the healthy route, you also want to eat according to what looks and tastes great.
Taste and Texture
Thanks to research into health and nutrition, we now realise the vital role food plays in achieving and maintaining optimum health, a rising food trend is the combination of healthy indulgence. This trend is reflected by the new, exciting and innovative foods popping up in health stores and supermarkets, showing how health benefits are as high on demand as exciting flavours, textures and great taste.
Instead of the previous generation of snacks that resembled cardboard in taste and appearance, there is now an array of flavoured brown rice and corn cakes.
In fact, even the sweet and snack industry are embracing health.
In February 2017, at the ISM trade fair in Cologne (the largest international Sweets and Snacks expo), the top trends in innovation pointed towards health:
- Vitamin and protein bars: convenient snack items enriched with proteins, vitamins and minerals.
- Vegan snacks: focus on plant proteins
- Reduced sugar: sugar-free and reduced sugar offerings, as well as sugar alternatives.
Functional flavour: Coconut, cocoa and cinnamon are used for both flavour enhancement and their intrinsic health benefits.
Snacking often comprises of foods that contain lots of added sugar, portions that exceed our energy requirements and very little nutritional value in terms of fibre and vitamins. This creates the need for nutrient-dense snacks that deliver on the need for convenience, indulgence and good nutrition.
Selecting smart snack options can prove to be a real challenge. Hidden sugars in foods are believed to contribute to obesity. Many snack foods that are perceived to be healthy contain lots of added sugar.
Tips for smart snacking
- No added sugar: Sugar is often added into snack bars without one realising. Check the list of ingredients before selecting your next snack.
- Portion control: Small servings of snack foods help with meal planning in order to avoid over-eating in between meals. Snacking can help with appetite control, reducing the need for large portions of food at meal times.
Protein and fibre: Nuts, seeds and dates add valuable nutrients such as protein and fibre, the exact nutrients that add the benefit of appetite control.
Did you know?
Snacking occasions have increased to represent up to 50% of all food and beverage occasions. This shift in dietary habits is also reflected by the fact that snacking often contributes to 50% or more of one’s total daily kilojoule intake.
Whole food snippets
- Cocoa is packed with an intense flavour that satisfies an over active appetite; it packs a powerful antioxidant punch from the cocoa bean polyphenols.
- Almonds are ideal to snack on, as they are a valuable source of protein and fibre. They are ideal for someone watching their weight, with a sack portion of 10 almonds providing less than 300 kilojoules.
- Coconut contains fibre and medium-chain oils, both known to help support appetite control.
- Seeds are packed with fibre, omega 3 oils, protein and minerals, all contributing to optimum nutrition.
- Cinnamon as a spice provides an intense flavour, which supports appetite control.
Snacking for sustained energy
Many people spend long hours away from home and need to sustain their energy, to keep up with long meetings, sport activities after work or school and evening classes. Lower glycemic index (GI) foods are recommended because they sustain energy levels better.
The intermediate GI levels of dates and raisins, combined with the low GI levels of nuts and seeds, provide the ideal combination for sustained energy. Dates and raisins are ranked as intermediate GI foods.
Sultanas, seeds and cashew nuts have low GI levels, so a date and nut bar, or an apple or citrus fruit will make for the perfect mid-morning snack.