A common question thrown to me these days is, “Isn’t it difficult to keep up with your current lifestyle?” It wouldn’t be difficult when there is already plenty of healthier alternatives available at our local and neighbourhood supermarkets. I am purchasing a bulk of my food stuff from NTUC and iHerb where I can get good quality fresh produce and healthy snacks at affordable prices.
My Typical Grocery Shopping List
My grocery shopping list is pretty simple: fresh produce and healthy packaged snacks where I can munch when I am on the go.
My typical grocery bills usually add up between $20 to $50 each time I make a trip to NTUC where I would visit every 3 to 4 days to stock up on fresh produce.
While there may be a variety of so-called ‘healthier’ snacks out there in the market, not all of them are really beneficial for the body.
The shorter the ingredient list, the better
As a rule of thumb, I would first study the ingredient list and choose products based on how natural and how short their ingredient list is. The shorter the ingredient list with natural foods, the better. Simplicity is the key. Because it literally translates to fewer preservatives, artificial flavourings, artificial colourings and other chemicals.
I would try to stock up as much fresh produce as I can but when there are times I felt a craving for crunchy savoury snacks or sweet treats, I would opt for the following. I’ve perpetually discovered a healthier alternative to the world of delicious-but-not-so-nutritious snacks.
1. FRUIT and VEGGIE CHIPS ( in place of potato chips)
Seneca Apple Chips
Potato chips are high in sodium due to their high salt content and artificial preservatives. You may find yourself addicted to potato chips too because of its artificial flavourings. Skip the potato chips and opt for these fruit and veggie chips instead. These apple chips are one of the best healthy alternatives which contain the least ingredients as compared to all the other chips displayed at NTUC. I am a little of the addition of corn syrup in their chips but otherwise, it’s a good chip to snack on in the cinemas.
Ingredients: Apples, Safflower, Sunflower and/or Canola Oil, Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
Cassava Republic and Roots Co. – Amazing Purple Sweet Potato Chips
Here’s another better alternative to potato chips in terms of nutritional value but its ingredient list is pretty long.
Ingredients: Purple sweet potatoes,
But if you really love potatoes and can’t do away with it… you could go for this brand of organic potato chips which is found in the organic section at NTUC Xtra. It uses Bioland-certified organic potatoes and organic spices to make crunchy kettle-cooked chips. It’s one of my favourites in terms of the taste and it does get a little addictive. Rosmarin and Meersalz Ingredients: Potatoes*, sunflower oil*, sea salt, rosemary*, dextrose*, natural flavor, black pepper*, onion powder, garlic powder*, apple fibre* (*certified organic)
2. KOREAN SEAWEED ( to replace Tao Kae Noi seaweed)
This seaweed snack from Korea is lightly toasted with salt and sesame oil to enhance its flavour. This would be a good alternative to all-time famous Tae Kae Noi seaweed snacks which is dusted with quite a bit of artificial flavourings.
3. BAKED NUTS ( in place of roasted or seasoned nuts)
I used to love snacking on flavoured mixed nuts and have always thought it is a healthier snack than chips but I was misconstrued to think in that manner because nuts, after all, are high in fat. Thus, consume nuts in small quantities and eat them for trace minerals to supplement your diet especially if you are a vegan or vegetarian.
Go for baked nuts over roasted one because baked nuts are cooked under lower temperatures so that many of the nutrients are preserved. I find that roasted nuts are often overcooked and not as palatable as baked nuts. I am loving Camel’s natural baked cashews and pistachios because it’s baked with no salt added at all.
4. HI-FIBRE CRISPBREAD ( in place of popular home
brand biscuits and bread)
Crispbreads have a texture similar to biscuits and crackers except that it has a rougher texture and is higher in fibre. It may not taste as appetizing as flavoured biscuits when eaten alone but it act as a great crisp base with paired with nut butter or salsa. It’s also fun preparing small bites or snacks with crispbread.
Ingredients: Whole grain rye flour, Wheat bran, Sesame seeds, Oat flakes, Wheat germ, Wheat fiber, Salt
You can also find gluten-free
5. CORN THINS ( in place of popcorn or crackers)
You could also try these coin thins which taste like brown rice crackers. It’s absolutely legit because it looks pretty unappetizing but it actually has this really nice crackers aroma. Besides, it is only made out of 3 natural ingredients! It has been my favourite crackers ever since I tried it. Ingredients: Organic maize (97%), sesame (2%) and salt (1%)
Corn thins with 100% peanut butter and banana coins
6. CARMAN’S MUESLI BARS ( in place of energy or other health bars sold at NTUC)
When I first begin this health and fitness journey, I was into muesli bars as I thought it was healthy. But as most of you would have already known, such muesli bars usually contains a high amount of sugar to make it taste sweet and for the muesli to clump together. I’m not an advocate of muesli bars as of now after studying its ingredients but if you are looking out for a healthier brand of muesli, I highly recommend Carman’s muesli bar for pretty obvious reasons. It’s inexpensive and largely made with natural ingredients.
Carman’s Classic Fruit and Nut Muesli Bar
Ingredients: Carman’s Muesli Blend 77% (Wholegrain Oats, Fruit 14% [Sultanas, Currants, Raisins, Coconut], Sunflower Oil, Nuts [Almonds 6%, Pecans 0.5%], Seeds[Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Pepitas], Golden Syrup, Oat Flour, Cinnamon), Glucose, Natural Vanilla Flavour.
7. ROLLED OATS
Rolled oats are great for breakfast and mid-day snacks which will fill you up. I especially like to soak rolled oats in soy milk to make overnight oats for breakfast. Rolled oats are actually oat groats which are de-husked, steamed and then rolled into flat flakes. It is a purer form of oats as compared to the instant/quick oats which have been cut further into pieces and rolled even finer for it to cook faster. Thus, I tend to go for organic rolled oats. Besides, this brand of organic rolled oats is often on offer. It’s one of the cheapest snack you can find too!
8. BROWN RICE RINGS ( in place of Cheese Rings)
Yes Natural Organic Brown Rice Ring (Cheese)
I couldn’t stop stuffing my face with Cheese Rings back when I was in primary school. This probably explains my current size… but anyway way better cheese ring is one which is made out of brown rice.
Ingredients: Organic Multi-grains (37%), Organic Brown Rice (18%), Cheese Powder, Non
9. COCONUT JELLY ( in place of Chinese sweet desserts like Ice Kacang)
This is perfect if you are craving for a sweet grab-and-go snack. The coconut husk is pre-cut and when you lift up that coconut-made lid, you will find a pot of yummy translucent coconut jelly with bits of coconut meat in it.
10. DATES ( in place of candies)
I was introduced to Medjool dates when I tested out the raw vegan diet and it’s really a super sweet dried fruit which can be used as a sugar alternative. It’s lovely to snack on these dates with some nut butter and crackers. However, nothing beats this snack below which I am going to reveal. It’s 100% natural and you can eat in large amounts since the body can digest it very easily.
And THE BEST SNACK is … FRUITS!
*All the above groceries are bought at NTUC Xtra JEM.