Snacks are becoming a part of the average daily diet due to the demanding lifestyles people now lead. There are more families with two working parents and there are a wider range of work and leisure activities which take us out of the home, leaving less time to prepare the more traditional type meal. People now want foods that can be eaten on the go, produced with no fuss.
| For young children :
|| Sugary Villains
Appetising and quick to eat. Sweets and crisps often become part of a youngster's diet - a problem causing tooth decay and lack of nutrients.
| Healthy Handfuls|
Fruit, cheese, bread and milk provide energy and nutrients. Fruit, however, contains sugar so is best not eaten between meals when acid builds up.
| For teenagers :
|| Harmful Snacking
It is this age group the snacks industry has the greatest influence over, promoting junk food as a way of life. Carbonated drinks seem to represent youth culture as promoted by pop stars. A high fat and sugar content exists in junk foods adding to the energy intake but not to body building or to maintenance.
| Healthy Alternatives|
Fish, fruit, raw vegetables and yoghurts are preferable snacks but it is harder to encourage healthy eating alternatives on this age group. In moderation, however, confectionery bars are a tasty treat and can provide an energy boost.
| Fat and energy :
| Lunchtime snacks - the Packed Lunch
|| It is wrong to say that all snacks are high in fat, the popular packed meal eaten by many at lunchtime can promote health - easy to assemble and nutritious, the carefully planned packed lunch can be eaten and enjoyed as a 'proper' meal unlike bought snacks which are often unplanned, eaten alone and away from the table.
| Recipe: A quick meal - Peppers a la Piemontaise
|| Preparation time 30 minutes. (equal to the time needed to cook oven chips)
- 1 large onion chopped
- 75g (3oz) butter
- 350g (12oz) easy cook rice
- 75g (3oz) parmesan cheese, grated
- 125g (4oz) lean ham, sliced
- 2 large peppers, halved and deseeded
Oven temp. Gas Mark 5 - 190°C - 375°F
Cook the onion in half the butter. Add the rice until all the grains are coated with butter. Add water to cover the rice and cook until it has been absorbed. Then add more water and continue doing this until the rice is cooked through. Add the rest of the butter and 65g (21/2oz) of cheese. Cut the ham into 2 - 3 cm (1 inch) longstrips and mix it in. Preheat the oven.
Simmer the peppers in salted water for about 8 mins until tender but still slightly crisp. Drain them, and cut them into strips. On a flat dish alternate rows of the peppers with rows of the risotto. Sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan and brown in the oven.
|| Microwaves allow snacks to be made in minutes and be nutritious at the same time. Baked potatoes when cooked in the oven are time consuming but can be turned into a quick, interesting snack with the aid of technology. Listed below are a variety of nutritious potato fillings which help create the perfect snack.
Cottage Cheese - low in calories and fat it is now available in many varieties. e.g. cottage cheese and pineapple . . . or you could simply add grated raw carrot to a plain tub of cottage cheese . . . cheese (grated), tomato and cucumber . . . baked beans, high in fibre and very filling . . . or simply a knob of butter