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healthy snack

Snacking is considering consuming food or beverages at anytime between regular meals. While snacking has developed a bad image, healthy snacks can be an important part of a person’s overall diet. They can provide energy in the middle of the day or after a workout to refuel the body. A healthy snack between meals can also decrease hunger and keep people from overeating at mealtime. Learning how to recognize food and drinks with no nutritional value can help a person in making healthier snack-food choices.

What Makes a Healthy Snack?

A snack should be a mini meal, just a little something to hold someone over until the next meal. When snacking, people should avoid eating empty calories, which are foods or drinks that primarily provides calories and no nutritional benefits. Empty calories items are composed primarily of high sugar, fat, oil, or alcohol-containing beverages. If a person is unsure whether a snack is healthy or not, they should read the nutritional facts on the label. Pay attention to the portion size given on label. When choosing a healthy snack, people should not make their decision solely on calorie count. Look on the nutrition label to avoid snacks that are high in added sugar and fat. Also, avoid snacks that list sugar and fat as its first few ingredients.

Keys to Healthy Snacking

Going too long without food (2 to 3 hours) slows down a person’s metabolism. A snack should be between 100 and 250 calories. As to whether snacking is recommended, that varies from person to person. Some people’s bodies work best when they eat small, frequent, snack-like meals to keep them going throughout the day, while others do just fine with three square meals a day.

Remember, a snack is a mini meal, and the snack should be the right size, a good balance between enough calories to satisfy hunger, but not too many calories to promote unwanted weight gain. Snacks should be enjoyable, easy to prepare, filling, and nutritious. Foods that are high in fiber, which contain carbohydrates for quick fuel, or contain protein are good choices. Make it a habit to check the label when possible to get a better sense of the ingredients in the foods. Pick foods that are low in added fat and sugar and high in fiber and water.

Below are five healthy snack options that are under 200 calories.

  • 2 cups of plain popcorn
  • ¼ cup of almonds or nuts
  • Apple slices with peanut butter
  • A handful of oven baked chips
  • 1 medium banana
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