Sensible Snacking

multi grain crackers, celery, & hummus
Photo by Kristin Brenemen

Keep snacking simple by stocking your fridge, pantry and desk drawer with healthy options. If healthy snacks are easy to access, you’ll be less tempted to choose foods that are high in calories, fat, sugar and sodium. Try to choose a healthy snack made up of complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. These snacks will help to increase your energy levels for a longer period of time compared to sugary snacks which will cause spikes and drops in blood sugar.

Portioning

A healthy snack should have between 85 and 250 calories. Choose snacks that have 2 or more grams of fiber. Avoid snacks that have 10% or more of the daily value (DV) for total fat or sodium and snacks that have more than 10-15 grams of sugar per serving (1 teaspoon of sugar equals 4gms). One way to control portion size is to serve yourself a single portion on a plate instead of eating from a box or bag. Also avoid distracted or mindless eating – for example, eating in front of a computer or television.

Timing

As a rule of thumb, you should be eating every 3-4 hours. It’s important to strategically place snacks according to your schedule, without falling into the trap of mindlessly eating when you aren’t hungry. For instance, if you eat breakfast at 6am and lunch is at 12pm, a mid-morning snack would be highly recommended. However, if you have breakfast at 9 and then lunch at 12, you may not need a snack since your meals fall within the 3-4 hour bracket. It’s important to strategically place snacks according to your schedule, without falling into the trap of mindlessly eating when you aren’t hungry.

Here are some of my favorite healthy snack combinations:

Cheesy

  • Skewered cantaloupe and cheddar cheese cubes
  • Apple slices and low-fat cheese on whole-wheat crackers
  • Clementine and string cheese
  • Tomato and mozzarella or cottage cheese
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • 1-2 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Original wedge(s) on 3-6 pieces Kavli Crispy Thin crackers
  • 1oz buffalo mozzarella and 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Cheese and whole wheat crackers
  • Red grapes and cheese

Very Veggie

  • 1 cup sliced peppers or veggies with ¼ cup guacamole dip
  • Hard-boiled egg and veggies
  • Snap peas and red peppers with Laughing Cow cheese
  • Celery with 1 Tbsp nut butter
  • Sliced veggies with hummus or low-fat dressing
  • Veggie roll-ups made with wheat tortillas, reduced-fat cream cheese, grated carrot, and lettuce or baby spinach leaves

Quick & Easy

  • Mini wheat bagel and reduced-fat cream cheese
  • Dried cereal and fruit
  • String cheese with 4-6oz 100% fruit juice
  • 1oz Planters NUT-trition almonds
  • Wrap sliced, low-sodium deli turkey or ham around an apple wedge or a string cheese
  • Applesauce cup and graham crackers
  • Hummus or peanut butter with pretzels
  • 3 cups air popped popcorn
  • Fresh fruit with yogurt dip
  • Whole wheat toast with 1 Tbsp nut butter and banana
  • Sliced apple with 1 Tbsp nut butter and 1 cup skim milk

Classics

  • Shredded wheat, low-fat milk, blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter on a banana with raisins
  • Oatmeal and ½ cup berries or fruit of choice
  • A cup of low-sodium, broth-based soup with 5 wheat crackers
  • Half a sandwich and a glass of skim milk
  • Hummus on a whole-wheat pita and carrot sticks
  • Low-fat chocolate milk and whole grain crackers
  • Tuna fish salad and wheat crackers
  • 6oz low-fat yogurt, ½ cup berries, ¼ cup granola
Photo by Anna Lilmsmrtas
Photo by Anna Lilmsmrtas

Creative

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread with reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel) and sliced strawberries
  • 2 pieces prosciutto with 4 dried figs
  • 1-2 Wasa Multigrain Crispbread(s) topped with 1-2 Tbsp avocado and 1-2 Tbsp hummus
  • ½ a turkey, avocado, and tomato sandwich on multigrain bread
  • Dried or fresh fig with 1oz goat cheese
  • ¾ cup edamame with 2 Tbsp tzatziki sauce

Make Your Own

  • 1 slice whole wheat bread or ½ a wheat bagel with ¼ can tuna and 1 tsp light mayonnaise and tomato
  • Half an English muffin with spaghetti sauce, chopped veggies, and low-fat shredded mozzarella melted in microwave
  • Trail mix – 20 almonds, 1oz raisins, ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • Smoothie – blend plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt with 100% fruit juice or frozen fruit
  • Whole wheat tortilla with low-fat melted cheese (or add black beans, chopped veggies, and salsa for a quick quesadilla)
  • Gorp- mix almonds, unsalted dry roasted peanuts, dried cranberries, chopped pitted dates, and chocolate chips
  • Veggies with homemade bean dip- mix 1 cup fat-free vegetarian refried beans with ½-1 cup salsa
  • Homemade potato chips – bake 1/2-inch-thick potato slices tossed with 1 tsp olive oil and a pinch of finely chopped rosemary, at 450* for 30 minutes

Others

  • Chicken salad and grapes
  • Multigrain bagel with almond butter and strawberry slices
  • Pears or apples, low-fat cheese, and 1 cup skim milk
  • Rye crackers and a hardboiled egg
  • Half English muffin with ricotta cheese and fresh berries

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About Gina
Gina Consalvo-Hassick, MA, RD, LDN, CDE, NCC is a registered dietitian and is actively involved in various food and nutrition communities. She has counseled and assessed a wide range of patients and has experience in outpatient, inpatient, and consulting. Areas of specialization include weight management, eating disorders, and wellness nutrition.
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Contact

Gina Hassick,
MA, RD, LDN, CDE, NCC

(908) 827-1482
gina@eatwellwithgina.com

Office Location:
133 N. 4th Street
Easton, PA 18042