Snack It To Me

By: Crystal Flores, RD

If snacks are meant to curb our appetite and stabilize blood sugar between meals, then why do we find ourselves raiding the vending machine at snack time?  Even worse right now for the holidays is the overabundance of holiday treats available for our snacking pleasure.  So, how do we keep all of this unconscious noshing under control?  First, we should be mindful of how much and how often we are eating.  Many people find keeping a food journal helps with accountability.  Doesn’t have to be very detailed, simply writing down the time and what you ate, “2:00 pm crackers” is enough.  Knowing you need to write down what you are eating may help you second guess if you are hungry and if you are making a wise food choice.  Another way to keep snacking in check is to set a limit of three snacks daily and to keep them less than 150 calories each.  Sure, the supermarket is full of “100 calorie” snack options, but due to their lack of fiber and protein, many of these may leave you wanting more, rather than leaving you satisfied.  Keeping fresh fruit and vegetables in plain view in lieu of holiday goodies will also help cut out some of those unnecessary calories.
Snacks can actually help to achieve a well-balanced, nutritious diet.  Pairing fruits or vegetables with lean protein or low fat dairy can help meet some of our nutritional goals such as five-a-day fruits and vegetables and three servings daily of low fat dairy (or comparable calcium sources).  Below you will find a list of healthful snack options to get you started: 

Apple slices with almond or peanut butter or even a low fat cheese
Vegetables and hummus, try sugar snap peas, carrots and sweet bell peppers
Small handful of raw nuts
Strawberries and fat-free yogurt
Cottage cheese and fruit
Walnuts or almonds with raisins or dried cranberries (keep the total portion to a handful)
Fruit smoothie made with fat free milk, fat free yogurt and fresh/frozen fruit
Pear slices with a slice of turkey and reduced fat cheddar cheese
½ a sandwich on high fiber bread with banana slices and chocolate hazelnut spread


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