Does hunger strike you midafternoon? Do you begrudgingly ignore your body’s signals and wait until dinner time rolls around? If so, you may not be doing yourself any favors. Snacking can be beneficial for portion control at meals, avoiding an afternoon slump in energy, and even offer an extra opportunity to sneak in some fruits of veggies through your day. Used well, snacks can be a part of any healthy diet.
Snacks are an excellent way to boost the nutritional value of your daily intake, and I always give my patients two tips. First, include foods from at least two food groups to make a nutritious snack that provides a variety of nutrients. Second, always make sure to include a fruit or a veggie as one of the two food groups. Following these tips, you’ll get a well-balanced snack that includes healthy carbohydrates, fiber, and lots of vitamins and minerals. If you want to take your snacking up a notch and you’re familiar with the food groups, it’s best to include a lean protein or healthy fat to provide some staying power for long-lasting energy and satiety.
Here are some examples of healthy snacks:
- Small apple and string cheese
- 7 whole grain crackers and ¼ cup red pepper hummus
- 1 cup cottage cheese and fresh peaches
- 3 graham crackers, 4 ounces 1% milk, and 15 grapes
- 1 cup celery topped with 1 tbsp peanut butter
- Sliced sweet peppers and 1 ounce almonds
- 10 tortilla chips and fresh veggie salsa
Make the recipe at home – Corn and Bean Garden Salsa
- 1 can low-sodium black beans
- 1 can low-sodium corn
- 5 tomatoes, diced
- 1 jalepeño pepper, diced
- ½ small red onion, diced
- ¼ cup cilantro, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Fresh lime juice from 1 lime
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Place first 7 ingredients in a bowl and stir until well-mixed. Add lime juice, salt, and pepper, to taste. Hint: start light and add more, if needed.