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10 smart snacks around the globe

Snacking is a part of American life, as well as life for many other nations.

According to one study, 94% of Americans admitted to snacking at least once a day. But what foods are they choosing to eat?

Unfortunately, America’s snack industry is mainly known for foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar, such as chips or candy. With seven out of 10 people admitting to eating anything that will ease their hunger, it’s a good time to see what Americans, Brits and other nationalities can discover about snacking from their international counterparts.

Here are our top 10 healthy snacks* from around the world:

1. Pumpkin seeds (Mexico) 

Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, as they are known in Mexico, are a great healthy snack. They are naturally high in protein and fibre, and are a good source of potassium and zinc. You can eat them roasted or raw, but make sure you opt for unsalted varieties only. 

2. Goji berries (China)  

Over the past 25 years, goji berries have been lauded as a superfood, capable of treating cancer and increasing life expectancy. Although these claims have now been scientifically disputed, the berries still offer a healthy snack option. Rich in antioxidants, goji berries are delicious dried or raw.

3. Summer rolls (Vietnam) 

Summer rolls comprise a mix of seafood, vegetables and herbs wrapped in rice paper. Unlike Chinese spring rolls, which are usually deep fried, summer rolls are low fat and high in protein. There are plenty of recipes online, but here’s a simple one you could try.

4. Hummus (Lebanon) 

Hummus is a dip made from mashed chickpeas with flavourings such as lemon and garlic. Many health-conscious Americans have already turned to hummus as a nutritious alternative to cream-based dips. Some studies suggest that hummus, which is high in fibre and protein, can help maintain a healthy gut and lower cholesterol.

5. Edamame (Japan) 

Edamame is a tasty Asian bean that’s packed with iron and other vitamins, as well as antioxidants and fibre. They are often used as an ingredient in stir-fries or salads, but they also make a great snack. 

6. Crispbread (Sweden) 

Crispbread, or knackebrod as it’s known in Sweden, is high in fibre and packed with minerals. It’s made from rye flour, water, yeast and a pinch of salt. The simplicity of the recipe means there are no hiding places for unhealthy hidden extras. Knackebrod gained popularity as part of the Nordic diet.

7. Tzatziki (Greece) 

Tzatziki is a low-calorie dip made from yoghurt, mint, cucumber and garlic. As with many Mediterranean offerings, tzatziki is low in salt, and tastes fresh and flavoursome. It’s often used as a suggested dip or sauce in diet plans. Try this recipe.

8. Pretzel (Germany)

Often served at snack stands covered in salt or cheese, pretzels may not seem like a healthy option. However, if you choose a low-salt brand, they can be a filling and nutritious snack. Pretzels are high in fibre, and low in fat. They also contain lots of zinc and iron, essential vitamins that keep your body working well. 

9. Biltong (South Africa) 

Biltong is slivers of meat that have been air-dried. Although it looks like jerky, biltong is low in fat and high in protein. It’s also packed with zinc and iron. If you often find yourself reaching for snacks after a long run or gym session, biltong makes a great post-workout snack.

10. Skyr (Iceland) 

Skyr is a low-fat dairy product that’s similar in texture to a thick yoghurt or cream cheese. This snack is gaining popularity around the world thanks to its high levels of calcium and protein. It also has probiotic cultures that help to aid digestion.

Some of these foods are more difficult to find than others. However, a little research to find your nearest world food store will be paid off when your cupboards are stocked with delicious and healthy snacks, or the ingredients to make them for yourself and your family.

As a global medical insurance and wellness partner, Aetna International understands the needs of people who live and work outside of their home country. Health care is more than insurance, it’s making sure people are equipped with the knowledge and support to look after the wellbeing of themselves and their families in a new country. From cultural and country intelligence, access to the best health care facilities, preventing the onset of disease, dietary and nutrition advice, managing long-term conditions abroad, coping with medical emergencies and understanding the quality of regional health care, our teams are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year, to support eligible members. So, as well as offering tailored health care plans, Aetna International is committed to supporting the health and wellness of its members, providing them with useful information and insight.

Take the first step in planning your health provision in your destination country today. Talk to one of our expert sales consultants to find out more about our network of medical practitioners and for advice about the right level of private medical insurance for you and your family.

*We realise that some people might have special dietary requirements, which should be taken into consideration when considering snacks from this list.

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