Tip #5: Fix Healthy Snacks
Many times I hear people say “I don’t snack”, like doing so is a bad thing. Snacks are important in many ways. They support the need to boost your energy between meals, help you maintain steady blood sugar levels throughout the day and are key in helping you meet daily nutrient needs.
Here a 10 pointers to make snacks fit into your daily eating plan:
- Keep it between 100-300 calories. The calories vary based on your energy needs which are affected by age, activity level, gender.
- Snack only when you are hungry. Learn to know your body’s cues and avoid eating when bored, upset, stressed or frustrated.
- Choose nutrient-rich foods. Snacking is your chance to boost your daily intake of fiber, healthy fats, protein, calcium, fruits and vegetables.
- Portion out your snack before you start. Don’t eat straight from the box/package. Use a bowl or small plate to put your food in after you have measured it.
- Plan ahead. If you know you will be gone for a few hours between meals, grab a snack to eat on the road if you get hungry. There are plenty of choices that are “travel friendly”.
- Get used to including foods from 2 different groups. Snacks should be a balance of carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables or grains) and proteins (dairy/dairy alternatives or meats/eggs/nuts).
- Take a break. Don’t snack in front of your computer, TV or while doing anything that distracts you from the fact that you are eating. Enjoy your snack and be aware of the signals your body gives to know you have had enough.
- Be label aware. Many choose to snack on foods that are “easy”. Granola bars, chips, trail mixes, amongst others can have more fat and sugar than what would fit into your snack. Choose wisely.
- Snack at the right time. Don’t wait too long for that snack attack to occur which will cause your body to reach for sugary and high fat choices to tame the need for quick energy.
- Open the refrigerator. Gravitate towards fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy and other simple foods instead of heading towards the pantry and choosing “dry” options. Set a personal goal of how many times a week you will include fruits and vegetables in your snack.
Healthy snack ideas
Remember to portion out your snack to ensure you don’t get too much or too little!
- Whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese
- Apple and peanut butter
- Popcorn and nuts
- Corn tortilla and bean dip
- Raisins and sunflower seeds
- Dry cereal and low-fat greek yogurt
- Carrots and hummus
- Whole wheat bread and deli chicken breast
- Grape tomatoes and cottage cheese
- Banana and skim milk
March is National Nutrition Month! We have committed to do 14 blog posts that tackle an important topic in food and nutrition. To see all the posts we have done including some from previous years, click on “National Nutrition Month” under blog category.