‘Finger foods’, ‘snacky bits’, ‘British tapas’ – whatever you call it, the ‘picky tea’ has become a firm favourite, especially during the summer months.

‘Picky teas’ tend to consist of classic finger foods combined with cold salads, perfect for when it’s hot and we don’t fancy cooking. However, as with a standard buffet, the foods traditionally found in a ‘picky tea’ are highly processed, meaning they’re often high in saturated fat and salt.

Use the traffic light guide to help you get the most nutritious balance from your ‘picky tea’ spread. 

Green foods – these foods are lower in calories, saturated fat and salt, meaning you can fill most of your plate with these.

Amber foods – these foods are slightly higher in calories, saturated fat and/or salt than green foods, so are fine to have in moderation – just try not to overdo it on the portions.

Red foods – these are the foods which are high in calories, saturated fat and/or salt, so should only be included in small portions on your plate.


My three favourite picky teas are:-

All under 500 calories and really satisfying.

  • Scotch Eggs (from BEEWEIGHED cookbook) I batch cook these so they’re always ready to defrost quick. I have this with 3 salt and vinegar rice cakes with light soft cheese and sliced grapes.  Followed by Aldi meringue nest, 100g zero fat yogurt topped with frozen berries warmed up in the microwave.
  • A variety of ham selections with several pickled onions, 30g thinly sliced vintage cheese, 20 olives, 4 melba toast.  Followed by 1/2 lemon protein mousse and a salted caramel Fibre One bar.  I crumble half the bar and put at the bottom of a bowl, put the mousse on the top then add the remainder of the bar to the top in and break into four pieces.
  • Tomato, onion and pasta salad with 2 boiled eggs and spinach, low calorie creamy coleslaw, carrot, cucumber and celery sticks.  I put low fat cream cheese on the celery with 100g cold water prawns.


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