It’s Snack Time! Use These Tips for Snacking Smart

Spread of healthy snacks

What’s in your cupboard for snack time? Chips, cookies, or a piece of fruit can all be a snack, but what is the best snack for optimal and satisfying nutrition? How do you fit snacks into your meal plan? This may look different for everyone.

The true definition of a snack is a small amount eaten between meals. A snack is designed to ward off hunger and provide energy for long gaps between meals. For example, a snack may be necessary when breakfast is at 7AM and lunch isn’t until 1PM. It may also be necessary before a workout.

The Problem

What is the problem with snacking? Most Americans snack every day. We also know that obesity rates have risen substantially over the last few years. Could snacking be a contributor? Some say it may. Mindless eating, extra treats, and bigger portion sizes can lead to weight gain. Additionally, snacks seem to be everywhere. You find them in vending machines, at the gas station, at the grocery checkout line, and even served at your afternoon meeting. It can be a challenge not to overdo it with the abundance of food everywhere.

Smart Snacking

Make sure that when you snack, you make it intentional and nutrition-packed.

  • Eat Mindfully – Avoid snacking on chips while watching a movie or eating ice cream out of the container.
  • Snack When Hungry – Snack intentionally, when you are hungry. Use snack time when you have gone for a longer period of time between meals or when your energy is low. Do your best to avoid grabbing a handful of crackers from your son’s lunch box or that donut in the break room if you aren’t hungry.
  • Use it for Max Nutrition – Snacking can be a way to make sure you meet your nutritional needs. It can be difficult to fit enough fruits, vegetables, and dairy into your diet. A snack is a great way to get in an extra serving of nutrition-packed food.
  • Portion it Out – Portion servings out ahead of time so you can grab them, or stock up on pre-portioned items like individual packets of nuts, cheese sticks, or applesauce. This can make it easier to manage calories.

Smart Snack Choices

There are so many snack choices to choose from. Choose a variety to keep things interesting!

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Pieces of fruit, fruit and dip, veggies and hummus, or dried fruit can make great snacks. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Pack on Protein – Nuts and nut butter can provide protein as well as healthy fats. Lunch meat roll-ups can make a low-calorie, high-protein snack.
  • Dream about Dairy – Dairy provides both calcium and protein. Cheese and cheese sticks are quick and convenient. Yogurt offers a great mix of protein and carbohydrates. Cottage cheese is a great protein source that pairs well with fruits or vegetables.
  • Grab the Grains – Whole grain crackers and popcorn can provide healthy carbs and fiber.

Spend some time to find the best snack for you!

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