Snacks provide a much needed energy boost between meals. Most of us need to eat every 2-4 hours, so snacking makes sound nutrition sense. People of all ages can benefit from snacks, especially those who are growing, like children. Because of their growing bodies, children may not be able to meet their energy and nutrition needs without snacks.
Unfortunately, some people are afraid of snacking. They may feel snacking leads to over eating or taking in foods that are not nutritious. This does not have to be the case. In fact, the best thing to do when you are physically hungry is to eat. However, some of us eat when we are bored, stressed or lonely. Ask yourself if you are truly hungry, if so then eat.
Consider snacks as mini-meals. With this in mind you should try to combine foods that are mainly carbohydrate balanced with some protein and possibly fat. Sources of carbohydrate include fruit, vegetables, dried beans, grain, dairy and soy products. Sources of protein include dried beans, nuts, meat, fish, poultry, dairy and soy products. Sources of fat include oil, butter, margarine, salad dressings, mayonnaise, fatty cuts of meat, the skin on poultry and fish, full fat dairy products and high fat desserts or treats.
Snack ideas to include in your diet:
Cheese &/or lunch meat with crackers, pretzels, bagel, toast or fruit
Milk or soy milk & cookies, fig bars or graham crackers
Instant or canned soup & crackers
Soy beans (just peel & eat!)
Half a sandwich
Peanut butter (or other nut butter) on apples, bananas, celery, crackers or toast
Yogurt or cottage cheese & fruit
Granola or breakfast bars with milk or soy milk
Cereal or granola with yogurt, milk or soy milk
Fruit smoothie made with milk, soy milk or yogurt
Nuts & dried or fresh fruit
Rice/popcorn cake & melted cheese or peanut butter
Almond butter & jelly on graham crackers
Lettuce leaf with lunch meat, tomato & cucumber rolled up
Chips & salsa along with bean dip or melted cheese
Pretzels or raw veggies dipped in hummus
Pita with melted cheese & lunch meat