Make your snacks count. Instead of empty calories (higher calorie foods or drinks with little nutrition), choose snacks that fill in your nutritional gaps. For example, if you are not eating enough vegetables in a day, choose your favorite vegetable for a snack. If you are lacking in the dairy group, choose a low-fat yogurt. Whatever food group you might not get enough of, snacks are a great way to increase your intake and meet your daily nutritional goals.
One helpful hint is to include snacks in your weekly meal plans. Each week, be sure to keep your personal schedule in mind. Will you be on the go? At home? In the car? Will you need a cooler to keep the temperature of your snacks safe? Schedule your snacks in between meals and in small portions. Snacking smart means not only eating just enough to tide you over until your next meal, but also making a healthy snack or beverage selection. Choosing snacks containing fiber or protein will help to keep you full longer. This may also help you reach your next mealtime without additional, unplanned snacks.
Healthy Snack Ideas
- Low-fat cheese sticks
- Yogurts (especially ones low in fat and/or sugar)
- Roasted garbanzo beans
- Air popped popcorn (season with your favorite herbs or spices)
- Raw vegetables
- Hardboiled eggs
- Whole fruits
- Handful of unsalted nuts
- Combine a variety of veggies to create a power snack. Try raw carrots, broccoli or snow peas with hummus or bean dip. Add whole wheat crackers and your power snack is ready to go! If you have leftover produce from your weekly meal preparation, use them as snacks. Extra bananas? Use them in a smoothie. Whatever combinations you choose, make your smart snack count.