Grabbing a snack as you run out the door doesn’t have to be empty calories and be source of guilt and disappointment. In fact, snacks can be an important addition to your daily fuel. They can provide energy in the middle of the day or when you exercise. A healthy snack between meals can also decrease your hunger and keep you from overeating at meal time.
What makes a healthy snack?
Pay attention to the portion size on the nutrition label. Always portion out an appropriate serving size into a separate bowl or place. Never eat straight from the bag or container.
Avoid snacks that have sugar listed as one of the first few ingredients.
Aim for fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, healthy fats, and protein (including low-fat dairy).
A snack that includes a protein and carbohydrate will keep you satisfied longer. (Example: apple and string cheese, whole wheat crackers with peanut butter, carrots and hummus, or plain yogurt and fresh fruit)
Tips for healthy snacking
- It is ok to have an unhealthy snack once in a while. Never allowing any unhealthy snacks or sweets may result in sneaking these foods. The key is balance and moderation.
- Put snacks in small reusable containers or bags so they are easy to carry and help with portion size.
- Plan ahead and bring your own snacks to work.
- Replace a candy dish with a fresh or dried fruit bowl.
- Try air-popped popcorn with a drizzle of melted butter during a home movie instead of pre-buttered microwave popcorn.
Healthy Snack Ideas
- Air-popped popcorn: 3 cups
- Almonds: 1 ounces (about 23)
- Almond butter: 2 tablespoons
- Apples (dried or cut into wedges): 1 medium or ¼ cup
- Banana: 1 medium
- Beef Jerky: 28 ounces
- Beef Sticks: 28 ounces
- Blackberries: 1 cup
- Cheese slices: 12 grams (about 3 slices)
- Cherry or grape tomatoes: ½ cup
- Cottage cheese: 1/2 cup
- Dark chocolate: 40 grams (about 4 squares)
- Deli meat: 56 grams
- Fruit leather (dried fruit puree) without added sugar: 1 serving according to package
- Greek yogurt: 1 container (200 grams)
- Hummus: ½ cups
- Macadamia nuts: 28 grams (about 10-12 kernels)
- Olives: 100 grams
- Peanut butter: 1 tablespoon
- Pecans: 28 grams
- Pepperoni slices: 28 grams
- Pickles: 1 ounce
- Pretzels: 1 ounce
- Protein bar: 1 bar (60 grams) *Be sure to read the label for sugar content
- Pumpkin seeds: 33 grams
- Raisins: ¼ cup (35 grams)
- Sardines: 1 can
- Snap peas (the pods are edible): 1.5 cups
- Sunflower seeds: 1 ounce
- String cheese: 1 piece (28 grams)
- Walnuts: 5 grams
- Whole-grain dry cereal (if sugar is not listed as one of the first 2 ingredients): ¾ cup
- Whole-wheat toasted English muffin with jam