There are certain times of the year when sticking to a healthy diet is nigh on impossible; when socialising, eating and drinking are seemingly compulsory activities.
However, it isn’t just the holidays when sticking to a healthy diet is challenging. Some people find eating a balanced diet easy, while others can fall off the bandwagon with a sniff of wine and a gentle nudge in the direction of the bar.
While I’m all for treating yourself to Ben and Jerry’s, chocolate cake and a mince pie or two (occasionally), if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, these treats can quickly add up.
When looking to cut down, it’s helpful to have a few healthy sweet treats in the bag to get you through any cravings. Then, if you suddenly feel the need for a white chocolate Twix, you can indulge (almost) guilt free, knowing that, in most cases, you are treating your body as well.
If you’d like some inspiration, here are my favourites:
As a natural Greek yoghurt, Total 0% is high in protein and a great source of calcium. But, as the name suggests, it is also fat free. Overall, a 100g serving contains just 54 kcals, a mega 10.3g of protein and only 3g of naturally occurring sugar. Because it can be a bit sour, I tend to use a tablespoon of Canderel sweetner with 150g of yogurt, which comes in at around 92 kcals, or I add a scoop of my favourite protein powder (banana works really well).
While slightly on the small size, these cake bars are still super tasty; containing chunks of salted caramel, in a cake-y bar, drizzled with (you guessed it) more salted caramel. While the protein content is low – only 1g per serving – the calories are equally so, coming it at 87 kcals overall. Fibre One actually do a range of flavours, including Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Lemon Drizzle Squares, a couple of popcorn bars, and a couple of cake bars. The Carrot Cake Bar is next on my list.
Shapers Salted Caramel Nougat Bar
OK, so salted caramel is pretty high on my list of desirable flavours. For those who don’t know, Shapers is Boots’ own healthy brand, and these bars all come in at less than 100kcals – ideal for a small treat. The Salted Caramel Bar is by far my favourite and comes in at 95kcals. Sugars are pretty high , at 17g per serving – so not ideal if you’re on the keto diet – but otherwise, these bars are a great pick-me-up. They’re also available in Strawberry, Blueberry and Yoghurt and Chocolate Mint.
Back in the day (aka last weekend), you’d buy some Ben and Jerry’s, stick Friends on the TV and slowly work your way through the whole tub, telling yourself you were only going to have one more bite before putting it back in the freezer. But the freezer was always too far, and Phish Food too tasty. Well, let’s be honest, none of that has changed. The freezer will always be too far. To help with this, the amazing folks at Halo Top put the calorie count of the whole tub right on the front! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the salted caramel is my favourite (although I’m partial to ‘birthday cake’ as well). The whole tub comes in at 320kcals (with just under 20g protein), so I wouldn’t advise eating one every night – plus, it’s a bit pricey – but it’s pretty good compared with 1,350kcals for a tub of Ben and Jerry’s Salted Caramel Brownie.
There are only a few protein bars that I can say, hand on heart, that I actually enjoy (and would choose over a regular bar of chocolate). Fulfil’s Triple Chocolate Deluxe, is one of those bars, especially now that the start-up has introduced smaller 40g bars. In an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, these smaller bars still pack 15g of protein and just 2g of sugar, but have fewer calories than their larger counterparts, making them an ideal snack choice when 200kcals+ doesn’t fit with your diet. I really do love these little bars, and they have so many flavours to choose from. I challenge you not to find one you like.
I just couldn’t write a list of healthy snacks without including the Carb Killa protein bar. Yes, Grenade do shakes, flapjacks and other powders and potions, but for me, it’s all about the protein bars. More specifically, the Peanut Nutter bar. In fact, I have one on the desk in front of me as I write – at least, the empty packet is in front of me. While these bars are not low calorie – coming in at around 225kcals – they do pack 21g protein and only 2g of sugar. They are also nicely filling and, did I mention, very tasty. The Peanut Nutter tastes exactly like a Snickers bar (which, incidentally, comes in at 245kcals and 21g of sugar). OK, so the calories aren’t that different, but the protein is, and if you’re on a low carb diet, the Carb Killa bar is an excellent option for a sweet fix.
Honestly, all fruit is pretty good as a healthy snack, as long as it’s eaten in moderation. Some fruit can be quite acidic, such as grapes, grapefruit and pineapples, which can damage the enamel of your teeth. It’s also pretty high in sugar; so, while it might be naturally occurring fructose – rather than refined sugar – you shouldn’t go overboard. Raspberries are easily my favourite fruit. They are packed full of powerful antioxidants, a good amount of fibre for healthy digestion, and contain relatively little sugar. A 120g serving of raspberries contains just 64 kcals. It’s all about the raspberry!
The first time I tried these bars I wasn’t expecting anything amazing – an 18g bar of milk and white chocolate with crispy oat cereal. I was actually looking for a Cadbury Freddo at the time, so this seemed like a poor substitute. How wrong I was. I’m not going to pretend these bars have any real nutritional value to them, but they are low in calories (95kcals) and a really great sweet pick-me-up (for when you can’t find a Shapers bar from Boots). Nestle claims they are “100 per cent delicious”. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but pretty close to it!