At SNAP4CT, we LOVE snacking. The great thing about snacks is that they don’t need to be complicated, time-consuming or expensive. Below are some tips to help you and your family snack smarter!
What is a healthy snack?
Ideally, you want a snack that will keep you full until your next meal. Aim for a combination of protein and whole grains to give you the long lasting energy you need. Healthy snacks are:
Foods that are high in fiber will make you feel fuller longer, so you are less likely to over eat shortly after. Fiber is also important for good digestion and can reduce constipation.
Like fiber, protein will curb your appetite and keep you full longer. Protein can come from animal sources like eggs and cheese or plant sources like nuts and beans.
Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants
These nutrients are usually what make "healthy" foods healthy. Antioxidants protect the body from damage and help to reduce the risk of cancer. You will find these nutrients in brightly colored fruits and vegetables.
Added sugars provide bursts of energy but a quick crash soon after. Added sugars also provide no health benefits and have been linked to obesity and chronic diseases.
This type of fat is common in highly processed and fried foods. Eating a diet high in trans fats can raise "bad cholesterol" levels and lower "good cholesterol" levels.
We need some sodium in our diets, but most of us get far more than we need. Sodium is found in many packaged foods and can worsen high blood pressure and lead to other heart-related illnesses.
Tips for Smarter Snacking
2. Combine a protein and a whole grain
- Whole grains provide fiber and when combined with protein, help to curb your hunger until your next meal.
- Some classic combinations are cheese and crackers, hummus and pita, or graham crackers and yogurt.
3. Look out for multi-serving packages
4. Don't be fooled by package labels and claims
- Packages that claim to be "low fat" and "fat free" often have higher amounts of sugar and sodium.
- Avoid "100 calorie snack packs" when possible - they usually don't provide many nutrients beyond sugar.
Snacking with Children
Snacking is a great way to introduce more fruits and vegetables to your child's diet. But, it can be challenging. Meal and snack time are never perfect but we have a few tips to make them a little easier!
- Offer dips with vegetable sticks to make eating veggies a bit more fun.
- It is OKAY if a child doesn't like a new food. It may take serving the food multiple times before a child will eat it. Let the child say no, and try again another day.
- Children look up to adults. Let them see YOU enjoying the food and they are more likely to try and like it.
- Limit distractions and screens during snack time.
Healthy Snack Recipes
Find even more great Snack Recipes here.