Do we need snacks?

Snacks are defined as a small amount of food or drink consumed between meals. Snacks are useful for adding in extra calories for individuals who struggle to eat sufficiently at main meals for example, children, elderly or adults with illness. However for most adults, snacks add extra calories, fat, and salt, which can contribute to obesity.

The National Health Survey 2010 showed that 1 in 9 Singaporeans aged 18 to 69 is obese; a 57% increase from 2004. Singaporeans consume a diet containing mostly refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats and oils with few fruit and vegetables. The My Healthy Plate was designed to visually represent the correct proportions of different food groups we should eat on a simple plate, but how about snacks?

healthy plate
Source: Health Promotion Board (2019)

Most Singaporeans would consider having a curry puff for their tea break however did you know a curry puff contains approximately 250 calories, about half the calories of a main meal? As a rule of thumb, snacks should contain between 150 – 200 calories.

If you find it difficult to eat according to the My Healthy Plate at main meals, try incorporating these snacks to make up for the absence of particular food groups from previous meals. Try snacking a on healthier options like wholegrains, protein sources or fruits and vegetables.


  • 1 small packet of whole wheat crackers
  • 1 slice of wholemeal bread

Protein Sources

  • 1 cup skimmed/low-fat plain milk
  • 1 small tub non/low-fat plain yogurt
  • Handful (30 g) of unsalted peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios or pumpkin seeds

Fruits and Vegetables

Enjoy a variety of fruit and vegetables to ensure you get your 2+2 servings per day!

  • Fresh fruits
    • 1 small apple, orange, pear or mango (130 g)
    • 1 wedge of papaya, pineapple or watermelon (130 g)
    • 10 grapes or longans (50 g)
    • 1 medium banana
    • 1/4 cup dried fruit (40 g)
  • 100 g raw non-leafy vegetables (cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, celery sticks)

If you have any general inquiries about diet and nutrition, you can contact us at our

Call-A-Dietitian hotline 983-22-983 !

Brought to you by Madeline Ng, Dietitian of Khoo Teck Puat Hospital

Follow us on Instagram @ktph.dietitians for more nutritional goodness!





Health Promotion Board (2017). Banish Nasty Nibbles With Healthy Snacks. Retrieved from:

Health Promotion Board (2019). My Healthy Plate. Retrieved from:

Ministry of Health. National Nutrition Survey 2010. Retrieved from:


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