Yes, snacking can be healthy — here are some ideas
Ever wonder what dietitians munch on midday? Here’s the inside scoop.
Healthy snacks can help keep your energy up and provide essential nutrients. The most helpful snacks provide some carbohydrate to give our brains and bodies energy, along with a bit of protein and/or fat to slow digestion and keep energy levels more stable.
If you’ve ever gotten “hangry,” that sensation is your brain screaming for fuel.
Even snacks that include healthy carbohydrates, such as a piece of fruit by itself, are digested and absorbed quickly — with hunger returning quickly.
Snacks that are high in refined sugars can prompt a rise — then crash — in blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling more tired than before.
Eating junk foods that are high in calories, sugar or fat (chips or cookies, anyone?) provide plenty of calories, but little nutritional value, possibly leading to an energy slump and/or feelings of guilt.
Snack time can also be an opportunity to sneak in an extra serving of fruit or vegetables, which most of us need.
Here are some favorite combinations from the Center for Health Equity and Wellness dietitians:
- An apple with a handful of almonds
- A café latte — combines nutrients with a little caffeine for additional stimulation
- Whole grain crackers with an individually wrapped cheese stick or round
- Lightly sweetened Greek yogurt (dairy foods naturally contain both carbohydrates and protein, and are a great source of calcium for strong bones)
- Whole grain muffins, made with fruit and/or nuts
- Carrots, snap peas, mini peppers or celery sticks dipped in hummus or dressing
- A banana or dried apple “chips” with peanut butter
- Spicy tomato juice for a little kick in your “pick-me-up” (counts as a vegetable serving)
- A small serving of dark chocolate, preferably with fruit and nuts
- Avocado on one slice of whole grain toast
- Dried chickpeas/edamame/peas provide a salty crunch, packed with protein and fiber (look for exciting spice varieties)
- A hardboiled egg and a mandarin orange
- Trail mix made with nuts, seeds and unsweetened dried fruits — mix your own for a custom blend
- Easy homemade granola cups filled with yogurt, fruit and/or nut butter. Recipe
What are your favorite healthy snacks?
About The Author
Lisa Lovejoy is a Sports and Wellness Dietitian for MultiCare. Her services include body composition assessment, resting metabolic rate testing and nutrition counseling for individuals and groups.More stories by this author