How your favourite snacks are making you gain weight

The weighty truth about SA's top 10 temptations, and what to substitute instead.

28 January 2017
by The Clicks Health Team

South Africans love their snacks: koeksisters, slap chips, samoosas and wine... the options are endless, but unfortunately your favourite indulgences are often the main culprits for serious weight gain.  

Want to know how much a koeksister will set back your diet? Or how much time you'll have to put in at the gym to work off those slap chips? Nutritionist Megan Pentz-Kluyts has done the maths, so you don't have to.


Counting the kilojoules: Deep-fried and smothered in sticky syrup, this South African favourite contains 860kJ on average!

To work it off: You'll need to do aerobics at a moderate intensity for a good 30 minutes, or if you prefer, cycle for around 30 minutes at a pace of 16km/hr to work off this sweet treat.

Eat this instead: Sweet fruit such as half a mango or a thick slice of sweet melon may help satisfy a sweet tooth for only 410kJ.

Bag of slap chips

Counting the kilojoules: That small bag full of hot slap chips soaked in salt and vinegar adds up to a whopping 1292kJ.

To work it off: Go for a 30-minute jog at a pace of 9km/hr to burn it off. Or waltz or do the rumba for half an hour, and use it all up!

Eat this instead: Save 840kJ and do your own potato wedges in the oven. Spice up your snack with a smooth, fat-free cottage-cheese dip (mix in some garlic) at 378kJ per tub. Alternatively, if you have no time to spare, 100g of oven chips will add up to 930kJ. Use a tomato-sauce dip, because this is a great source of lycopene ­ phytochemicals that have already proven to help fight against diseases such as cancer.

A can of non-diet fizzy drink

Counting the kilojoules: A can of this ice-cold, refreshing but sugary-sweet drink sets you back 570kJ.

To work it off: Try 20 minutes of hiking on an uneven terrain, or a 40-minute walk around your suburb at a leisurely 4km/hr.

Eat this instead: Make a fruit frappe or a berry ice: mix 200g of your favourite berries, liquidise the whole lot, then add some crushed ice and fill it up with some sparkling water. Enjoy, at only 280kJ!

Chocolate bar

Counting the kilojoules: Sink your teeth into the chocolately heaven of a 60g bar and you'll feel the energy surge of ­ 1 150kJ.

To work it off: Have some fun ­ and go rowing at a moderate speed for about half an hour with a loved one, or skip with a friend for half an hour.

Eat this instead: Take a medium-sized banana and dip one end in melted chocolate. Freeze, and when the craving hits, grab it to go ­ at only 680kJ for the whole lot.

Bran muffin

Counting the kilojoules: A medium-sized bran muffin weighs in at 920kJ. Adding a bit of Cheddar cheese and a nugget of butter can add on another 550kJ, bumping it up to 1 470kJ!

To work it off: You need to do a 30-minute high-impact aerobics class, or 30 minutes of running at a pace of 10km/hr.

Eat this instead: Halve the muffin and add a teaspoon of jam for a 545kJ sweet snack. Or for only 460kJ, you can have one slice of wholewheat toast layered with low-fat chunky cottage cheese, a few slices of fresh apple and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

A small bag of crisps

Counting the kilojoules: This corner-store treat contains 690kJ for a 30g packet, be it the latest flavour or the plain variety.

To work it off: Go swimming for half an hour at 25m/min, or do a 45-minute session of light aerobics to work it off.

Eat this instead: Make your own popcorn! Get a microwave popper, follow the manufacturer's instructions and you can enjoy 30g for 525kJ. Tip: go slow on the salt.


Counting the kilojoules: One big, juicy samoosa adds up to 1 100kJ.

To work it off: A 40-minute walk at a pace of 7km/hr will do the trick, or if you are stuck for time, try vigorous rowing for 20 minutes.

Eat this instead: A vegetarian samoosa will give you a head start at 880kJ. Alternatively, you can have half a pita bread filled with two tablespoons of lean mince, some chopped salad goodies, one teaspoon of low-cal dressing and some herbs, all for 650kJ.

A glass of white wine

Counting the kilojoules: Each cold glass of crisp white wine sets you back 375kJ.

To work it off: Go for a 30-minute beach walk before that sundowner, or dance it away in 20 minutes.

Eat this instead: For half the kilojoules, try a spritzer­: half the glass of wine and fill up with chilled sparkling water, with all the taste!

A cup of coffee, with milk and two sugars

Counting the kilojoules: Your morning caffeine kick will start you off at 300kJ.

To work it off: Park a bit further away from work and walk the last kilometre, then take the last two flights of stairs to the office.

Eat this instead: Count down to 160kJ ­ by having your cuppa but switching to low-fat or fat-free milk, with half the sugar or some honey (the fructose in the honey tastes a bit sweeter, so you tend to use less).

Tip: For a quick cappuccino, buy a milk frother and use fat-free milk; ­it froths better and saves you kilojoules. For the daring among us, switch to herbal tea and start your day the more natural way.

Salted peanuts

Counting the kilojoules: This favourite bar snack gives you a blast of energy at 1 215kJ for every small packet!

To work it off: For the more adventurous, a 50-minute modern dancing class or the rumba should do it, or drag a buddy along to a 45-minute light aerobics class.

Eat this instead: Try a 50g trail-mix pack at 950kJ, or make your own mix: 25g raisins, 10g of peanuts (unsalted), 10g almonds (unsalted) and 5g of pumpkin seeds for only 830kJ.

How Clicks Clinics can help you

Clicks Clinics will help you manage your weight loss and identify and manage your risk of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes with their wide range of screening tests and health assessments.

These include:

  • Clicks Full Basic Screening (BP, Body Mass Index or BMI, meal guide and exercise plan)
  • Clicks Screening Measurements only (BP and BMI)
  • Clicks Comprehensive Screening (BP, BMI, Glucose and Cholesterol screening, plus meal and exercise plan).
  • Total Lean Lifestyle Programme

To make an appointment at a Clicks Clinic, call 0860 254 257 or book online at Clicks Clinics.

Shop now at Clicks.co.za for sugar-free snacks and supplements

Try the Clicks Smartbite range for healthy sugar-free snacks and raw foods that are suitable for the whole family. If you're looking for recipe inspiration, take a browse through this Smartbite digital recipe book.

IMAGE CREDIT: 123rf.com