Your guide to a healthy 'picky tea'

Amy Wood - Nutritionist | 18 Jun, 2023

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'Finger foods', 'snacky bits', 'British tapas' – whatever you call it, the 'picky tea' has become a firm favourite among us Brits, especially during the summer months. Research by meal delivery giant Deliveroo found it to be an even more popular choice than a barbecue when temperatures rise [1]! '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 our handy traffic light guide to help you get the most nutritious balance from your 'picky tea' spread. We would recommend choosing 3-4 from the green column, 2-3 from the amber column and just 1 or 2 maximum from the red column.


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.


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Vegetable crudites
24 kcals per 80g

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Satay chicken skewers
23 kcals each

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Mini sausage rolls
53 kcals per roll


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Mixed leaf salad
10 kcals per 60g

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Coleslaw
87 kcals per tbsp

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Mini pork pies
193 kcals each


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Fruit salad
71 kcals per 140g

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Tomato pasta salad
111 kcals per 100g

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Ready salted crisps
131 kcals per 25g


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Cherry tomatoes
17 kcals per 75g

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French baguette
60 kcals per 1-inch slice

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Scotch eggs
274 kcals each


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Four bean salad
64 kcals per 60g

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Olives
19 kcals per 5 olives

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Quiche Lorraine
259 kcals per quarter


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Wholegrain crackers
26 kcals per cracker

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Houmous
92 kcals per tbsp

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Mini beef pasties
104 kcals each


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Cooked chicken breast
100 kcals per half fillet

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Hard boiled eggs
66 kcals each

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Pizza slices
154 kcals each

Nutritionist Amy Wood (ANutr), MSci BSc Nutrition has a keen interest in the relationship between diet and health. Having been published in the European Journal of Nutrition, Amy is passionate about making evidence-based nutrition accessible to everyone and helping others to adopt a food-focused approach to taking control of their health.

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