What is Healthy Snacking?
Snacks give you energy when you need it. To be healthy, make snacks part of your diet and not just "extras" to nibble on between meals. Making snacks a part of your daily food plan can help you in these ways, too:
Snacks and smaller meals are easier to digest.
Spacing snacks and meals throughout the day helps prevent headaches and keeps you from getting tired.
Small, low-fat snacks in the morning and afternoon can help keep you from eating too much at meals. This can help you control your weight.
Low Fat, Low Sugar
Many snacks are high in fat and sugar. Vending machines are often loaded with these kinds of snack foods. To make your snacks part of a balanced diet, try to:
Choose whole-grain snacks, such as whole-wheat crackers or pretzels, fig bars, or low-fat bran or corn muffins.
Eat more fresh, whole fruits and raw vegetables for snacks. Add a piece of reduced-fat cheese for a longer-lasting snack.
Take snack foods with you so you have something healthy to eat when you are hungry
Ideas for Healthy Snacks
When you want a snack, what do you crave? Something sweet? Salty? Crunch? Here are some ideas for healthy foods to eat when you want to snack:
Fresh fruit, dried fruit, raisin toast, fig bars, graham crackers, gingersnaps, animal crackers, angel food cake, low fat muffin,
Fat-free pretzels, small handful of dry roasted NUTS, BAKED TORTILLA CHIPS WITH FAT-FREE REFRIED BEANS, WATER-PACKED TUNA WITH SALTINES, REDUCED-FAT CHEESE OR COTTAGE CHEESE, LEAN DELI MEATS
RAW CARROT STICKS, BROCCOLI SPEARS, OR CELERY, FRESH apple, toasted English muffin, dry cereal, low-fat crackers, air popped popcorn, breadsticks, rice cakes
Smooth or creamy:
Fat-free pudding, fat-free yoghurt, fruit smoothie (fresh fruit blended with juice and fat-free yoghurt), apple sauce, peanut butter on whole-wheat bread
Ice milk or fat-free frozen yoghurt, frozen juice bar, fruit ice or sherbet, fat-free or low-fat milk, sugar-free soda or iced tea
Hot apple cider, fat-free cocoa, vegetable or bean soup, toasted bagel
Making Snacks into Mini-Meals
Here are some ideas for making snacks into small, healthy meals you can eat when you're hungry. For longer-lasting energy, combine grains, vegetables or fruits with protein from meat, beans or dairy foods.
Low-fat string cheese on whole-wheal crackers with carrot sticks.
Peanut butter lightly spread on rice cakes or half a bagel.
Trail mix you make from dried fruit, corn or wheal dry cereal, sunflower seeds and a small handful of nuts.
Toasted pita bread or English muffin with tomato sauce and a little mozzarella or parmesan cheese.
Baked tortilla chips with salsa and fat-free beans or bean dip.
Baked potato topped with low-fat chilli.
A cup of minestrone soup with whole-grain crackers.
Frozen fat-free yoghurt with fresh fruit and graham crackers.
Leftovers from low-fat meals. such as a piece of baked chicken, cold fish or a slice of lean beef.
Things to Remember
Keep these simple tips in mind when you're buying snacks or looking for foods to munch on:
Read the "Nutrition Facts" label on snack foods. Look for those with the least amount of calories, fat, sodium and sugar.
Think twice before choosing snacks from vending machines. Most are high in fat, sugar and calories. Look for fresh fruit, fat-free pretzels or fibre bars, or reduced-fat popcorn.
Space snacks and small meals evenly throughout the day. This helps to keep you from feeling overly tired or getting a headache.
Don't eat within 2 hours of going to bed. Your body has a harder time digesting when you sleep.