Smart Snacking Tips

Snacks can fit into a healthy eating plan and provide an energy boost between meals, if they’re planned right, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Choosing nutritious foods can help increase variety and reduce sources of empty calories and added sugars.

Find the right snack for your eating style and activity level. Keeping snacks to 200 calories or less can be a reasonable goal for most people. Adults and teens who are more active, or eat smaller meals throughout the day may want to aim for 200 to 300 calories per snack.

Make snacking a smart habit by:

    • Snacking only when you’re hungry. Eating out of boredom or for emotional reasons can lead to weight gain. Rate your hunger before reaching for a snack and avoid mindless eating.
    • Having snacks planned and portioned out ahead of time. Fixing snacks in advance, like washed and cut- up fruits and vegetables, air-popped popcorn, and low-fat cheese, can save time later on.
    • Practicing food safety. Keep perishable foods refrigerated or in a cooler bag with ice packs to help reduce the risk of food poisoning.
    • Make snacking simple by choosing different fruits and vegetables, depending on what is in season or on sale. Fresh, frozen, canned, or dried are all good options. Compare labels to limit items high in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.
    • Keep your snacking lively by including snacks that contain grains, especially whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. Some examples include fat-free yogurt with fruit, whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese, or raw veggies with hummus.
    • Eating different combinations of foods can be very satisfying and help to curb hunger. Snacks that include fruit can also satisfy a craving for something sweet.

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