Snacks should really be mini-meals. Their purpose is simply to tie us over until it is time to sit down and consume a larger bulk of calories at once. Characteristically, our snacks are on the less-healthy side of the range. Crackers, chips, cookies, fruit snacks, and candy fill our cabinets as quick snacks for the whole family, but these do not generally contribute to the best diet. When eaten alone, these foods do not contribute much bulk to the stomach and are therefore not particularly satisfying. However, snacks are a vital part of the diet and can serve to boost nutrient intake exponentially. Here are some tips and possible healthy snack ideas that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine.
Aim for 2:
Ideally, your snack should range between 100-150 calories or less and include at least 2 food groups
- Protein + Grain
- Fruit + Calcium
- Grain + Vegetable
- Protein + Vegetable
The combinations are virtually endless. When you consume more than one food group, you have increased the variety of nutrients consumed. With a variety of nutrients comes varying amounts of water and fiber in foods – both of these contribute bulk to the stomach, causing you to feel more full on a smaller number of calories.
Often times snacks need to be quick, grab-n-go type foods. We can buy all the healthy food in the world, but if it is not conducive to our lifestyle, it will go to waste. Therefore, make the food convenient. Either buy individual packets of foods or take the time to re-package them into smaller containers yourself. This serves the need for convenience and also assists in controlling serving sizes, which further encourages weight loss and management.
Our daily schedule can get chaotic quickly. You don’t want to be stuck in a food emergency with nothing but the closest fast food restaurant to save you. Keep healthy snacks within reach – in a backpack, purse, car, or desk drawer for easy access. In doing this, you are already prepared when the snack-cravings start and you won’t be as tempted to reach for fast food or vending machine junk.
Some of Our Favorite Snack Combos:
- Pretzels + hummus
- Apple + Yogurt or 1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
- Pita + Carrots + Hummus
- Cherry Tomatoes + Low Fat String Cheese
- Tortilla chips + Smashed beans + Salsa
- Popcorn + Dried Edamame
- Chopped Veggies + Chickpeas + 2 Tablespoon Low-Calorie Dressing