What are the best snacks to take on a plane?

Whether it’s a long-haul plane flight or one that seems only as long as it took to figure out how to log into the in flight wi-fi, it’s not uncommon to have a craving or two. The snacks served on some commercial planes often fall short of being rated five stars in those healthy option categories and many travellers may be left asking, what are the best snacks to take on a plane?

Interestingly, health practitioners advise not to travel on an empty stomach, particularly those who are susceptible to motion sickness, and that it’s a good idea to continue to eat a snack that is small, light, and low in fat, throughout your trip.1

Before the flight

But therein lies the challenge – when we think of snacks that can be taken on board, we may inadvertently reach for something that is high in fat, salt or sugars. These sorts of snacks can leave us feeling sluggish and tired. To combat this, health practitioners suggest that we look into snack foods that are low in sugar and contain a good amount of protein.2 And this is where snacks made from whole foods, such as chickpeas or fava beans, can be one of the best snacks to take on a plane.

These sorts of snacks also pass the “on board test” so to speak, where airlines are happy to accommodate pre-bought or pre-made snacks brought on board by passengers, as long as they come wrapped or sealed in packaging.

During the flight

Protein also helps us to feel fuller and more satisfied and can have the added benefit of helping us to eat less of possibly unhealthy filler foods offered in flight. But, if we do happen to find ourselves digging in to the airlines’ somewhat gluggy version of pad thai (which is not outside of the realm of possibility), knowing that we have snacked on a wholefood rich in protein, such as chickpeas or fava beans, means that we will have potentially helped aid the digestion of that meal, due to the fact that one of chickpea’s proven health benefits have been to aid healthy digestion.3

And finally, after the flight

When we finally get to end of what may have been a craving-filled flight, it is not an uncommon complaint to hear that after they disembark, some passengers feel lacking in energy and generally tired. There may be a range of reasons for these sensations, however a final added benefit of having a light meal or a light snack on the plane that is protein rich, can be that it helps to keep your energy up after you disembark or adjust to a new time zone.4

When it comes to travel, we may all have our own tried and tested routines, and some may or may not include a healthy option.  But as the mainstream focus shifts more and more on the long term impacts of what we eat and how it makes us feel, it’s worth looking at the many 5 star health rated snack foods on shelves in supermarkets and health food stores that offer a protein rich, low salt, low fat alternative to sugary or salt laced snacks.

So when it comes to pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight snacking, whether it’s from Sydney to Melbourne or from Brisbane to Singapore, we have a growing range of healthy options that can help us avoid feeling tired and sluggish, and instead help us to feel satisfied and energised at our final destination.

  1. http://mentalfloss.com/article/78131/9-scientifically-proven-ways-prevent-motion-sickness
  2. https://www.skyscanner.com/tips-and-inspiration/what-to-eat-before-and-after-a-long-haul-flight
  3. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280244.php
  4. https://www.skyscanner.com/tips-and-inspiration/what-to-eat-before-and-after-a-long-haul-flight

Chickpeas: the best snack to eat before bed

At times, many of us find ourselves battling with that late night surge of hunger – we may have finished a meal a few hours before and yet those familiar hunger pains start. When it comes to late night snacks before bed, we can be faced with a veritable smorgasbord of unhealthy options; left over takeaway meals, a half-eaten block of chocolate or a bag of crisps tucked away in the back of the pantry.

Genuinely hungry or just bored?

These late-night cravings are not always best dealt with by ignoring them, forcing ourselves into bed or willing ourselves to sleep. Indeed, some doctors argue that going to bed when you are feeling genuinely hungry, can be problematic, lead to poorer sleep and increase the chances of waking up in the night.1 For those who may be feeling hungry out of boredom or stress instead of genuine hunger,2 the sound advice it seems is to try and distract ourselves, drink a few glasses of water, and if we must, reach for a healthy snack, instead of a high calorie, high fat option, whether our hunger is genuine or not.

This then begs the question – if me must indulge, whatever the reason, what are the best snacks to eat at night or before bed?

Any snacks before bed ideally should be low in calories. The reason for this is that high calorie snacks or additional heavy meals late in the evening typically increase the likelihood of weight gain and fat stores in the body, and may also exacerbate symptoms such as heartburn, in some people, due to the fact that you’re consuming additional food and calories on top of a previous evening meal.3

If it’s a genuine craving – what are my options?

If we need to address a genuine hunger late at night or before bed, a great option can be found in some wholefoods snacks, such as those containing chickpeas. Chickpeas pass the late-night health test with flying colours, not only because that are a good, healthy source of protein, carbohydrates and fibre, but because they contain Vitamin B6 and the amino acid tryptophan.

Why is this helpful late at night? Vitamin B6 essentially helps our bodies to convert tryptophan into serotonin which in turns is converted to melatonin, and when melatonin levels rise in our bodies in the evening it can help put us into a state that promotes sleep.4

And for those that are looking to kick the late-night snack habit altogether and improve sleep overall, studies indicate that we can always tap into the B6 family of foods during the day to ward off disrupted sleep cycles.5 In fact, it seems that a daily ingestion of Vitamin B6 from food sources like chickpeas, have been shown to help encourage a sound and undisrupted sleep cycle6 which is more than enough reason to try snack foods that contain these high protein, B6 loaded legumes when you’re next looking for that late night snack before bed (san the calories or guilt the morning after!).

  1. https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a19540772/healthy-snacking-before-sleep/
  2. https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a19540772/healthy-snacking-before-sleep/
  3. https://www.verywellfit.com/10-healthy-midnight-snacks-4097329
  4. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy-sleep/sleep-science/melatonin-for-sleep-does-it-work; https://purple.com/blog/10-surprising-foods-to-help-you-sleep-better
  5. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy-sleep/sleep-science/melatonin-for-sleep-does-it-work
  6. https://purple.com/blog/10-surprising-foods-to-help-you-sleep-better

Australia’s Fava-ourite Beans

When it comes to adding beans into our diets, it may conjure up images of the stalwart beans of our childhoods, such as lentils, green beans, and even canned baked beans. But nowadays there seem to be an ever increasingly amount of healthy, protein and vitamin rich beans on the market for us to choose from. One of the bean varieties that has grown in popularity in Australia over the last few years is the Fava or Faba bean, a green legume that comes in a pod and has a slightly sweet flavour. These ancient beans originated from the Middle East during the pre-historic period (we’re not exaggerating on the “ancient” part) and have become a popular and sustainable commercial crop in Australian soils since the early 1980s.1

How are Fava beans grown?

Fava beans are known to be a fairly low maintenance crop to cultivate but require a few key elements to be in place in order to flourish and product a healthy yield for commercial production. They thrive in cool weather, are usually planted in Autumn months so that they can be picked and enjoyed in Spring,2 and the best soils are primarily those that are alkaline neutral, deep, and with a high clay content.3 Interestingly, some growers even use these low maintenance fava plants as a cover crop which can help to improve soil fertility and quality, prevent erosion and suppress weeds.4 Quite an  impressive little bean.

Why are Fava beans good for you?

But don’t let their low maintenance fool you – when it comes to vegetables, fruits or legumes that can offer a vitamin rich punch without breaking a sweat, Fava beans can hold their own. Described by health experts as dense with nutrition, fava beans offer us an option that swaps cholesterol and saturated fat for high doses of selenium, copper, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin B6, thiamin, protein, folate, magnesium and zinc.5 For these reasons, it’s no surprise that many Australia healthy snack food organisations, such as The Happy Snack Company, have chosen these little beans as the basis of a range of healthy snacks for adults and children.

In addition to the vitamins and minerals on offer, a small serving of fava beans comes with loads of soluble fibre, which has been shown to help with digestion and lower cholesterol levels overall.6

If we’re still not convinced on the benefits of fava beans, there are health studies that show how these small powerhouses of beany-goodness can assist in improving our overall health and diet to prevent illness and disease. For example, some health practitioners advise that regularly consuming fava beans may help to aid in weight loss as the high levels of protein and fibre found in fava beans, along with their low caloric rating, improve our likelihood of feeling full and may help to dissuade us from that second helping.7

So whether it’s having them in a pre-bought snack or including them in your evening meal, Fava beans have proven themselves to be an excellent source of vitamins, fibre and protein, and a great reason to branch out and include this powerhouse bean as part of a healthy diet.

  1. https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/157729/faba-bean-pt1.pdf
  2. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/beans/growing-fava-beans.htm
  3. https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/157729/faba-bean-pt1.pdf
  4. https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/cover-crops-improve-soil-zmaz09onzraw
  5. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-fava-beans-4574.html
  6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fava-beans#section4 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fava-beans#section8

How healthy are chickpeas?

The humble little chickpea is from the legume family Fabaceae and is an all-natural food.

The chickpea has been consumed for many millennia… starting in the Middle East and  now  enjoyed consumed across the globe. Chickpeas are produced in over 50 countries, including Australia – who are surprisingly massive producers of chickpeas.

Adding chickpeas to your diet may be a simple and effective weight loss strategy. Packed full of protein, they make the body feel fuller for longer. Also, the wonderful blend of nutrients and minerals also keeps the body energised and active while preventing fatigue and snacking between-meals. The chickpea is so valued as a healthy option that the Australian Government has included legumes in the recommended eating plan for a balance diet.

The benefits in chickpeas

The list of nutrients and goodness in this healthy snack is almost endless.  Chickpeas are packed full of healthy components like iron, which is important for producing energy, optimal immune function and storing oxygen in muscles. Chickpeas also have high levels of magnesium, which helps energy production, oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis in the human body. Chickpeas are also strong in vitamin B6 which help support adrenal function and help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system while vitamin K benefits the body when it comes to bone health, cognitive health as well as heart health. Additionally, chickpeas contain copper which helps the body form collagen and absorb iron, and plays a role in energy production.  Chickpeas also contain zinc which regulates the immune system, helps prevent diarrhea, helps maintain skin integrity and structure.

Protein is essential for a healthy body as it repairs and rebuilds our muscles as well as out skin, organs, hair and nails. Whereas fiber helps you feel fuller for longer and can help improve your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Chickpeas, being completely meat and animal product free, can be enjoyed by vegetarians and vegans, but are also a staple in the popular paleo diet.

An often unsung benefit is that chickpeas are easy to digest and reduce inflammatory markers. Other less popular chickpea benefits include improving your digestion, they may help lower your cholesterol.

The little chickpea packs a mighty health punch and are a perfect addition to your lunchbox, or perfect for the snack drawer in the office. Full of taste and free of guilt!

In The Happy Snack Company products, the chickpeas are made from whole chickpeas and they are not extruded, blended or altered in anyway. Chickpeas in the Happy Snacks product are grown, roasted and packed in Queensland. The chickpeas are slow roasted to perfection and tossed in a blend of tasty seasonings to make a super crunchy, delicious snack you can enjoy on the go.


Why protein is important and how to add extra protein to your family’s diet.

Why is protein important?

Protein is essential for our bodies and enables it to undertake a number of tasks that keep us functioning at our best. Protein is used to repair the damage impacting the body every day. It repairs muscles and also builds enzymes, helps regulate hormones as well as provides a helping hand to antibodies used by our immune system. Plus, for a healthy and alert brain, we need to deliver protein to it.

Plus, protein is especially important for younger children, because their bodies are still growing and protein repairs and prepares.

Obviously, there are negative impacts from not eating enough protein, including a sluggish metabolism, moodiness, low energy and an inability to focus. With protein as an essential contributor to our bodies and mental agility, it makes sense to add more protein to our own, and our family’s diet, wherever we can.

How to add protein to your family’s diet?

There are three main meals per day, and two smaller ones for snacking, as opportunities to get protein into our bodies. It’s essential that at every meal protein is included to give the body the best chance of success.

Protein can be found in lean meat, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, peas and beans. It makes good sense to include a variety of these sources, if you can, to avoid boredom. Additionally, including a variety of proteins means that other essential nutrients and minerals will be delivered to organs and muscles.

Dieticians suggest protein be included at snack times because it ensures a steady supply of energy to muscles and brain. A small protein snack will increase attention and mental performance while also decreasing the need for unhealthy snacks.

A surprising source of protein are beans and peas, which are a nutritious way of getting protein into your diet without meat.  Chick peas are a high source of protein, low in cholesterol and saturated fat they make an excellent addition to any meal, particularly lunch and dinner and are a worthy afternoon snack.

Another healthy, nut, dairy and egg free protein alternative is the fava bean, high in protein, vitamins and nutrients – they keep the body functioning as its peak and regulate core functions. Fava beans are also known as broad beans and are high in dietary fibre. These beans are excellent additions to salads, can be mashed together as a potato replacement or, when roasted, can be an excellent addition to the lunch box.

Both chic peas and fava beans help satiety and improve focus, perfect for adults and children alike, who need focussed attention every day.

Five reasons to pack your child’s lunchbox

School is a heady combination of friends, frenzied playtime, and learning. Unsurprisingly children don’t just learn maths and English in school, they learn the habits that will often last a lifetime. Healthy eating habits are just one of the many children will learn during their school careers that will set them up as successful adults. The patterns set by the food they buy in tuckshops or find in their lunchboxes will stay for them for the rest of their lives.

Nowadays many tuckshops and canteens offer healthy solutions, in addition to the fried food, chips and high sugar drinks, but giving your child the choice of what to spend their tuckshop money on, can you rely on them to choose the more appropriate healthy option?

So while packing your child’s lunchbox is time consuming, and, as a parent, you will spend hours thinking about what to include and hope that they both consume and enjoy the delectable delights you’ve included. By preparing your child’s lunchbox you will most importantly prepare children, in the best way you know how, to take on any challenge.

So here are five reasons to pack your child’s lunchbox:

  1. Energy – School, in many ways, is like the first day of a new job, every day, for your child. Sure, there’s the stability of being in a classroom with the same kids, but the content is always different and the challenges vary daily. Then there’s sport, music and after school activities. A lunchbox packed by you filled with protein and sustained carbohydrates will help.
  2. Calorie control – Packing their school lunches means you can control their calorie intake from when they wake until when they go to bed. Plus, you can continue to mimic what they eat at home in the lunchbox. Of course, if you choose potato chips and chocolate, with a side can of fizzy, then some of the benefits of that control are lost, but if you’re packing a nutritious lunch, built around fruit, vegetables, seeds, peas and beans, then you know your child is eating properly throughout the day.
  3. Preferences – You can tailor your child’s lunches based on their likes and dislikes, and also what you think they should avoid. If your child should avoid dairy, wheat or nuts, then through packing their lunches, you can ensure they don’t consume foods that don’t agree with them. It’s much easier to pack the foods you want them to eat, rather than asking them to avoid the foods that may irritate them.
  4. Variety - You can change the main elements of their lunches at the frequency that you think your child requires – which is something a school canteen may not. When packing your child’ lunchbox you have the ability to change meals up as you please – and tailor each day to your child’s favourites and introduce new foods as well.
  5. Reduces waste at home – you can use leftovers in their lunchboxes. Putting lean protein into sandwiches or salads means less wasted dinners from the night before. Any snacks that haven’t been eaten around the home can be added to the lunchbox and use up any food in the house before the next grocery shop.

Packing school lunches, while time consuming , does have far more pros than cons particularly if you can find healthy and nutritious lunchbox solutions to help your kids achieve all they need each and every day.

Finding the right back to school snacks

If you are sending your children to school for the first time or if they are going back for another year, as a parent, you’re not doubt wondering what to pack into their lunchboxes to prepare them for learning.

The school lunchbox is difficult to maintain, because you know their taste buds get bored quickly and that what they eat during the day sets them up for success.

Studies show that a child who has had ample to eat is likely to learn more than one who is hungry – so it’s important that whatever is in the lunchbox is high in protein and low GI. High protein foods keep us fuller for longer, reducing the need for snacking a higher feeling of satiety.

Dieticians and government authorities recommend fruit, vegetables, bread – or a variation of bread, protein in the form of meat, chicken, tuna, beans, peas or dairy to be included in the lunchbox.

When preparing the lunchboxes of your kids, you will likely spend hours making different foods containing all food groups, to feed them throughout the day. It’s time consuming and requires constant thought and attention.

Then, if you run out of time, you scour the aisles of the supermarket trying to find food that is healthy, tasty and almost as nutritious as something you would make at home. There are so many options available – many including nuts, wheat, dairy, egg or any other foods the school or your family may be trying to avoid.

When buying snacks for the family, one key element to be aware of is the Five Star Health Rating. The rating is a labelling system that assesses the overall nutritional profile of packaged food and assigns a rating as an easy way for you to compare similar packaged food. Put simply, the more stars - the healthier the food choice.

Here are some tips for the right lunchbox snacks:

  1. Prepare your own healthy snacks – high in protein and ones that your children already love.
  2. If there is little time to cook your own, investigate the health food aisle of your local supermarket for a variety of healthy snacking options.
  3. Check health star rating of foods in the supermarket aisle and select, for further investigation, those with a Five Star Health Rating.
  4. Ensure bought lunchbox snacks contain ingredients that are closest to those that you find in the pantry – avoiding additives and food colouring.
  5. Test them on your family before popping into the lunchbox to ensure they will be devoured throughout the day.

Whether you make everything yourself or you hand select what goes into the lunchbox, you can find the best snacks by looking for a Five Star Health Rating, assessing the nutritional information and the ingredient list of all that passes your child’s lips to ensure the content fits with their dietary requirements and school restrictions on foods while ensuring their school days are productive.

source: https://elearningindustry.com/

The best foods for learning and development

As adults we know that sitting at a desk all day can be exhausting, which is why we painstakingly plan our meals so that we feel pleasantly full and can focus on the tasks at hand. Our children, however, don’t yet understand the importance of eating for performance and will only eat the food they like, regardless of the hours you’ve spent planning their lunchboxes. This can lead them to feeling drowsy in the afternoon.

As parents, we can control their breakfast and their dinners, but the morning tea, afternoon tea and lunch breaks are, in part, up to them as children select the best from their lunchboxes.

Morning tea is a good time for fruit and vegetables to increase the extra serving for the day, while the afternoons are good for adding protein to get children through the afternoon, with a full stomach, and ready for complicated lessons.

There are many benefits of including protein more frequently into the diet, here are three of the key reasons:

  1. The brain’s neurons communicate to each other via the protein we eat. Fats such as fish oil help, but the protein is what keeps neurons firing 1.
  2. Protein can increase the dopamine levels in the brain – which in turn can increase alertness1.
  3. Protein repairs the body after a long day of continuous operation – all body tissues undergo wear and tear throughout the day. Protein rebuilds the body2.

For optimum benefits, protein should be included in every lunchbox and plate. Protein can be sourced from foods such as seeds, peas, beans and legumes are high in protein, contain low GI carbohydrates and good fats, meaning that adding these to your child’s lunchbox will keep them not only fuller for longer but their sponge-like brains soaking up all the knowledge!


  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200301/brain-power-why-proteins-are-smart
  2. http://www.webmd.com/men/features/benefits-protein#1


What are the best lunchbox food to stave off the afternoon slump?

Planning and preparing the daily lunchbox for kids is an exhausting grind. You want to keep the contents interesting, satisfying and also fulfilling to keep the kids operating at their best. For children, who are busily learning, the lunchbox needs to be filled with all they need to get through the day and stave off the afternoon slump.

To improve performance and increase attention, dieticians recommend five meals per day, not just the big three, so mid-morning and afternoon eating is important.

So why do dieticians recommend five meals per day? The top three reasons are:

  1. Distribute energy better through the day.
  2. Keeps glycaemic index levels steady.
  3. Stops overeating at other times of the day1.

It’s basically a way of improving attention and activity.

If you decide to pack the lunchbox ready for these extra meal times, it’s important to select the right snacks for improved performance during the afternoon. To keep energy and attention levels high, it may be wise to consider as snack high in protein and fibre.

Foods with high protein keep us feeling fuller for longer, meaning that the need for future snacks are reduced. Additionally, being full means we can focus on the task at hand, rather than a rumbling in the stomach, increasing attention and productivity, particularly important for children in the classroom1.

Thankfully, for variety and our physical and mental health, there are number of sources of protein and these include seafood, poultry, lean meat, eggs, soy, nuts, seeds, peas and beans.

Protein combined with low GI carbohydrate foods create a steady rise in the level of glucose in the blood, avoiding the spikes that can leave you feeling lethargic, hungry and in need of something else to eat – the effect otherwise known as the slump.

What foods contains protein and low GI carbohydrates?

Among a variety of sources are chick peas and fava beans (also known as broad beans) contain high fibre, high protein and small amounts of fat for a healthy afternoon snack.

These beans and peas are part of the legume family and are nature’s wonder food. Nutrient dense, containing low GI carbohydrates, each contains beneficial vitamins and minerals for the high performance of the body and brain.

Fava beans contain vitamin B6 and Vitamin B1 they also contain iron, copper, calcium, magnesium and manganese2.

Chick peas are high in soluble fibre and help digestion. They contain iron, phosphorus, thiamine, B6, magnesium and zinc – a solid power-pack of nutrients2.

Chic peas and fava beans can be added to lunches in salads or as burger patties or roasted for snacking. The extra boost of protein will help kids remain engaged throughout the afternoon and avoid that slump that everyone dreads.

While planning the lunchbox seems like an endless – and thankless task – with the right foods, your children will be more productive and focused and you know that long term, their bodies will benefit too.


  1. http://www.newhealthguide.org/What-Does-Protein-Do-For-Your-Body.html
  2. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280244.php

Healthy Food Awards Winner: Roasted FAV_VA Beans Pizza Flavour

What Are The Best Snacks For The Kids’ Lunchbox?

Kids are a curious bunch. They are open to new experiences and even the most carefree of parents can be overwhelmed at the pace their children throw themselves at the wonder of life. And yet, sometimes, when introduced to new food groups they can turn their little noses up and refuse to eat anything at all.

It’s a paradox, and an endless struggle for many parents.

Breakfast and dinner consumption is at least monitored at home, but once the kids go to school, parents have to trust that the food contained in the lunchbox, which as been carefully laboured over, will be eaten. A lunchbox contains one third of their daily nutrition and readies their minds for a long afternoon of learning, so it’s important that they have food that will sustain them.

A balanced lunchbox contains:

  1. high protein to keep brains active all afternoon
  2. natural carbohydrates found in fruit and vegetables – like carrot sticks, sweet potato or chopped apple
  3. wholegrains if they can tolerate wheat
  4. dairy – like a small tub of sugar free yogurt, if they can tolerate it
  5. no nuts. As many schools are moving to be nut free.

Finding new kid approved food ideas that are both tasty and nutritious is difficult. In fact 62% of Aussie mum’s say it’s difficult to find healthy snacks their kids will like, particularly when there is so much choice and so many mixed messages in the supermarket. Chic Peas and Fav-Va Beans from the Happy Snack Company could be  a good solution to the lunch box dilemma.

Why The Happy Snack Company Chic Pea and Fav-Va Beans?

  1. High protein content. Happy Snack Company Fav-Va Beans contain a whopping 27% of protein for sustained energy release. This helps kids stay alert throughout the day and able to handle a busy afternoon in the classroom.
  1. Bursting with feel good flavour – the Australian grown beans have been roasted and lightly seasoned in kid approved flavours like BBQ and Salt &Vinegar. They are all natural and blended from ingredients found in the kitchen pantry.
  2. School safe – The Happy Snack Company products are school safe and free from the top 8 food allergens including gluten, nut, egg or dairy. They are made from Australian grown Fav-Va Beans and Chic Peas and are GMO free.
  3. Have a five start health rating.
  4. The Happy Snack Company was recently awarded two Healthy Food Guide awards. They were recipients of the “Kid’s Lunchbox Snack Award” for their Pizza flavour and the “Allergy Friendly Snack Award” for their Red Pepper & Chilli flavour and recently featured on the Today Show.

Delicious, nutritious, and now award winning, Happy Snack Company Fav-Va Beans are the ideal lunchbox snack – for kids and adults alike.  Available from Coles and Woolworths across the country.