Tips for Better Snacks

Chocolate bar, computer

Snacking can be good for you if you make the right choices.

 

Adults consume 400 to 900 daily calories as snacks daily, and half of all children take in about 600 calories between meals, which is enough to qualify as a meal! Use these tips for better snacks and upgrade mini meals for more energy, better focus, and good nutrition.


It’s OK to snack. The problem is that snacks are often rich in calories, fat, and sodium, and low in nutrients.


What is a healthy snack?

It’s natural to get hungry between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, especially for young children and teens. Kids need to energy grow, and adults who skimp on meals, or skip them, need snacks, too.

Think of snacks as balanced mini-meals, not meal-wreckers. For example, when you combine cheese, whole grain crackers, and fruit, it’s OK to eat lightly at your next meal.

There’s no limit on snacks, but they should be balanced. And, you should account for snack calories as part of daily calorie needs so that you don’t eat too much. It’s easy to confuse snacks and treats.

 

 

Bowl of popcorn.

Popcorn is a whole grain and makes a healthy snack.


When kids snack at home, have them eat at the table.  Eating at a table encourages mindfulness about food.


Make protein a part of better snacks for kids and adults 

Cookies, chips, and candy temporarily curb hunger, but they aren’t particularly filling in the long run, in part because they lack protein.

Protein promotes eating satisfaction, and may contribute to easier weight control.

Protein-rich foods, such as low-fat dairy, lean meat, poultry, and seafood, also provide vitamins and minerals, including choline, iodine, and vitamin B12 for brain health. And, soy, beans, nuts, and seeds supply fiber, which we need every day.

Piece of whole grain bread spread with peanut butter.

Peanut butter and whole wheat bread is a nutrient-rich, filling snack idea.

Carbohydrates are part of healthy snacks for kids and adults

Carbohydrates are found in foods such as milk, fruit, vegetables, beans, bread, cereals, pasta, rice, and other grains, and in cookies, cakes, and other sweet foods and beverages.  

Nutritious, satisfying snacks combine protein and carbohydrates, preferably the complex kind. 

Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include whole grains, beans, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Popcorn is a whole grain. 

Raw red and yellow peppers, carrots, large leek, onion, and garlic

Fresh raw vegetables are full of fluid and help you feel fuller for longer.

 

Complex carbohydrates, including starch and fiber, take longer to digest. In addition, complex carbohydrates are generally found in foods with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are plant compounds that support health.  

Tips for better snacks to make at home

  • Double Berry Smoothie: 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries or strawberries, 2 tablespoons milk, sweetener of your choice. Combine in food processor or blender and drink immediately.
Double Berry Smoothie is made with wild blueberries and dairy milk and yogurt.

Double Berry Smoothie

 

  • Small bowl of whole grain cereal and milk or fortified soy beverage. (Most plant milks don’t supply as much protein as dairy or soy.)

 

  • 1 serving plain one-minute oats prepared in the microwave with 8 ounces milk and topped with 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

 

  • 4 cups low-fat microwave popcorn tossed with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese; 8 ounces milk

 

  • 1 cup canned lentil soup topped with ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

 

  • ½ cup cottage cheese and 6 whole grain crackers

 

No Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookies make a delicious vegan, gluten-free and no-added sugar snack.

No Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are ready in 5 minutes, are vegan, gluten-free, and contain no added sugar!

 


Try these delicious smoothie recipes


 

Tips for better snacks to take on the road for hiking and walking

  • Trail mix: whole grain cereal, raisins, peanuts

 

  • ½ tuna fish or turkey sandwich on whole grain bread and a handful of cherry tomatoes

 

  • 1-2 reduced-fat mozzarella cheese sticks and 6 woven wheat whole grain crackers

 

  • 1-2 hard-cooked eggs and a 1-ounce whole grain roll

 

  • Carton of Greek yogurt and fruit

 

  • ¾ cup dry roasted edamame

    Whole almonds are a delicious, satisfying snack.

    Almonds, and other nuts, pair well with cereal and fruit for a quick snack at home or on the run.

  • 10 small whole grain pretzels and hummus

 

  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 10 baby carrots

2 Comments

  1. Kit Broihier says:

    Love this post–going to share! I think making wise snack choices is increasingly important–for people of all ages–as it looks like more and more we are a nation of constant grazers instead of strictly sticking to traditional meals.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: