Healthy Snacks

A snack by definition is a small amount of food eaten between meals. When most people talk about snack foods, they are often referring to packaged foods such as chips, cookies, crackers, or popcorn that you would find in the “snack foods” aisle at most grocery stores. Planned snacks can actually be a great opportunity to fill in the gaps of your diet with wholesome foods.

 

Aiming for snacks between small meals has manybenefits:

  • Decreased cravings – when going more than 5 hours without food, you’ll find that EVERYTHING starts sounding good, making it more difficult to resist the drive-thru on the way home or the cookies in the breakroom
  • Fueled metabolism – many people find that skipping too many meals and snacks leads to weight gain
  • Improved energy – going too long without food can make us feel tired; small amounts of food can be a great pick-me-up
  • Blood sugar control – snacks between meals can help prevent your blood sugar from getting too low and help to better manage diabetes

 

What are some ideas for healthy and TASTY snacks?

Aim to build in a fruit or vegetable to at least one of your snacks daily. Pair carbohydrate-rich foods (such as crackers, bread, or fruits) with a protein-rich food to stay satisfied longer. Some examples include:

Hardboiled egg + orange

 

Apple + slice of cheese

Banana + Peanut butter

Edamame or soybeans, shelled

 

Jerky (beef, salmon, turkey)

(Photo credit: Ozgur Coskun/Shutterstock)

Greek yogurt + berries

Small portion of leftover lunch (ex: 1 cup soup)

Trail mix or nuts + piece of fruit

Whole grain toast + nut butter

Protein drink or fruit smoothie w/protein powder added

Veggies + hummus or guacamole

 

Snap pea crisps or dehydrated beet chips

(Photo credit: Lauren Zembron)

Crackers + canned chicken/tuna

Avocado w/mashed boiled egg

Celery + peanut butter + raisins

 

Roasted chickpeas (homemade or store bought)

Cottage cheese + tomato or peach slices

Fruit and Nut bars

Turkey slices + cheese rolled in lettuce

Smoked salmon + cream cheese rolled in nori (seaweed)

 

*The amount of food your body needs at snack time will depend on your overall calorie needs

 

The key to smart snacking is to plan ahead and know what snacks you are going to have for the day. If you’re often on the go, try packing a small cooler bag. This idea will allow for a greater variety of options. Keep some shelf stable snacks in your car, desk drawer, and purse so you always have something healthy on hand.

 


Vanessa Imus, MS, RD, CD, is a Registered Dietitian providing nutrition education and counseling to patients at the University of Washington Weight Loss Management Center. She enjoys being active through running, hiking, exercise classes or dance games, and chasing her toddler. Her favorite past time is dreaming about and planning vacations.



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