We love snacks. You love snacks. Whether it be crispy, crunchy, chewy, or gooey we’re always up for a good ol’ snack. And turns out, we’re not alone. According to a Nielsen Global Snacking Survey, worldwide consumers spend $374 billion on snacks a year. 91% of the 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries that were polled, said they eat at least one snack a day. So what snacks are trending around the world?
Three of the most popular snacks worldwide are chocolate (no surprise there!), fruits and vegetables! But as we all know, there’s a big difference when it comes to what type of snacks we prefer chowing down. North America for example, topped their snack list with chips, chocolate and cheese. A bit, huge no, no.
So, possibly the next time you grab a “snack”, maybe you can get inspired by some of the healthier snack habits around the world. Here are the healthiest snacks in 8 different countries!
Smashed avo, anyone? Avocado is one of the most delicious and satisfying foods on the planet and it’s also a powerhouse superfood. An excellent source of healthy fats, avocados are low in fructose and high in fibre, and contain 20 vitamins and minerals in every serving, including potassium (helps control blood pressure), lutein (good for your eyes), folate (crucial for cell repair), vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid,and magnesium. They also provide beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids. Australia is one of the biggest consumers of avocado in the world, devouring more than three kilos per person each year!
Mexico: Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds, like other nuts and seeds, are naturally rich in phytosterols (referred to as plant sterol and stanol esters), which are a group of naturally occurring compounds found in plant cell membranes. Phytosterols has been found to reduce LDL or “bad”cholesterol. Pumpkin seeds are also an excellent source of magnesium, manganese and tryptophan, which helps protecting serotonin, a brain chemical that primarily affects mood. Need more convincing? Just a quarter cup of seeds has 25% of your daily value of iron, and almost 20% of your daily protein!
Slightly cliche, but it’s the truth! Edamame is japan’s healthiest choice of snacking. Like all legumes, edamame is an excellent source of protein and healthy fibre. Edamame beans are also rich in antioxidants, vitamin K and folic acid that helps lower circulating cholesterol levels.
This one is really a no brainer. Did you know tzatziki has zero cholesterol? Greek yoghurt, cucumber, garlic and olive oil make this delicious Greek dip perfect for a healthy snack. Greek yoghurt is a great source of protein and B12, and it’s also packed with probiotics to keep you regular. You can add fresh mint and dill to help with digestion too!
Middle East: Hummus
Although there is a little dispute about the origins of hummus, there is no doubt about its benefits - especially when accompanied with colourful veggies. The key ingredient: chickpeas, like other legumes, are high in fibre and protein and also contain vitamin K, folate, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, choline and selenium. They also contain exceptional levels of iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium.
Vietnam: Rice Paper Rolls
Rice paper rolls are a fresh, delicious snack made using a thin peeled dried pith of Tetrapanax papyrifer: A sheet-like "paper". Replacing higher-calorie breads with rice paper wrappers can assist weight loss. As for the filling? There are countless possible combinations for the filling, but the most common ingredients used are super nutritious choices such as lettuce, carrots, chilli, coriander (rich in vitamin K), mint (helps digestion), and prawns, a great source of low-fat protein!
Nigeria: Fruit Salad
Nigeria is truly the fruit basket of Africa! With over 50 varieties of fruit, it’s one of the best places to have a tropical fruit salad bursting with aromatic fruits. A Nigerian fruit salad includes watermelon, papaya, pawpaw, passion fruit, banana, pineapple, apples, star fruit, coconut flakes and agbalumo, one of Nigeria's best fruits. Agbalumo is rich in fibre, calcium, iron and vitamin C making it a fruit salad like no other.
Thailand: Green Mango with Prik Gub Klur
A popular snack in Thailand is dipped green mango in Prik Gub Klur, a traditional Thai food of Sukhothai city. The mix is made of coconut flakes, salt, dried red chilli and palm sugar. Mangoes, of any colour, are rich in fibre, pectin and vitamins A,C, B6, which boost the immune system, protect eye vision and help balance cholesterol levels.