Eating healthy snacks in between meals can add fiber and nutrients to your diet without adding too many calories. They can give you an energy boost during the day, and prevent you from overeating at meals. When you allow yourself to get extremely hungry, you are more likely to binge eat and crave high-fat, sugary foods. Know the times when you are most likely to get hungry between meals and plan for them by having healthy snacks on hand. Read on to learn how to become more snack savvy.
Keep in mind these three basic fundamentals when planning your healthy snacks.
- All fresh fruits and vegetables are great choices.
- Stock a healthy snacking area at home—include fruits and vegetables, whole-grain crackers and low-fat dairy products.
- Keep a supply of healthy snacks in your office and car in order to prevent trips to the vending machine or drive-thru.
When choosing healthy snacks, you’ll want to avoid and look for certain things. Use the chart below as your guide.
|· High fructose corn syrup
· More than 10 grams of sugar per serving
· At least 2 grams of fiber per serving
|· Partially hydrogenated oils (trans fat)
· Fried options
|· At least 2 grams of fiber per serving
· Baked options
|Cheese and Milk
|· Partially hydrogenated oils
· Added sugars
|· Low-fat options
|· More than 20 grams of sugar per serving
· High fructose corn syrup
|· Low-fat Greek yogurt (it is thicker and higher in protein than regular yogurt)
Keep an eye on food labels. Watch out for…
- Dairy products that are labeled low-fat. These can be healthful choices, but be careful of products with added sugar or artificial sugar to make up for the decrease in fat.
- High sodium content. Aim for 400 mg or less per snack unless you are on a low sodium diet, in which case you should strive for less.
- Misleading whole grain claims. To be sure the food really contains whole grains, read the ingredients and look for the word “whole” prior to the grain’s name—for example, whole wheat.
Try some of these easy snack ideas!
- Light yogurt mixed with any of the following: ¼ cup whole grain cereal, 2 tbsp. almonds, ¼ cup dried oats, ½ cup berries or fruit.
- Tuna kit with light mayo—or use avocado instead!
- Light yogurt smoothie with a small piece of fruit. Try these recipes.
- Whole wheat or reduced-fat tortilla with 3 tbsp. low-fat bean dip and 1 slice of reduced fat cheese. Dip in salsa.
- Half of a whole grain wheat bagel topped with marinara sauce and reduced fat cheese. Bake until cheese is just melted.
- 1 small potato microwaved with veggies of your choice and topped with ¼ cup of low-fat cottage cheese. Add hot sauce for added zip!
- Spinach quesadillas: 2 whole wheat tortillas, spinach and ¼ cup light shredded cheese. Spray pan with cooking spray and cook until cheese melts. Dip in salsa.
- Light string cheese with seven reduced-fat whole wheat crackers.
- Trail mix. Learn how to make your own here.
- Low–fat granola bar with a piece of fruit.
- Apple or banana with 2 tbsp. peanut butter.
- 1 cup of easy-to-bag veggies like baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, sliced bell peppers, or sugar snap peas; serve with light ranch or hummus.
- 4 oz. reduced fat cottage cheese mixed together with ½ cup fruit of your choice.
- One reduced fat string cheese.
- Apple salad: Dice apple into small pieces, stir in ¼ cup light whipped cream and 2 tbsp. chopped walnuts. Mix and enjoy.
- 1 cup low-fat hot chocolate made with 2 tbsp. cocoa and 8 oz. skim milk or 1% milk. Serve with 2 graham crackers.
- Low–fat/low-sugar pudding snack pack with a serving of graham crackers.
- 1 whole wheat frozen waffle with 1 tbsp. peanut butter and ½ small banana.
- 3 cups 94% fat-free popcorn with a piece of fruit.
- 1 whole wheat English muffin toasted with 1 tbsp. 100% spreadable fruit.
For Health Advocate Members
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the coaching component of our wellness program, connect with a coach today to learn more about healthy snacking.