We're all becoming a little more familiar with our fridges and pantries as we spend more time at home and it's okay to visit these fulfilling friends - as long as we fill it with snacks that are good for us.
Fareway Dietitian Whitney Hemmer has the following tips and tricks when it comes to snacking:
- A “snack” typically refers to an ultra-processed, high calorie and/or high sugar item
- “snacking” really means eating between meals OR eating every few hours regardless of the food’s health benefits
o Could refer to 6 small meals, 3 meals +1 or 2 smaller snacks, etc.
- People typically snack due to
o Low energy
- Snacks can contribute ¼ of your daily calorie intake – think of that as a 4th meal
- Does everyone need to snack? It depends!
Why snack between meals?
- Control hunger between meals (important for kids)
- Consistent energy levels (3 PM crash)
- Meet nutritional needs – fruit, vegetable, fiber, calcium, etc.
What should I look for nutritionally in a snack?
- Any snack, no matter if it’s a meal or smaller snack, should contain a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat
o Give you energy and keep you full
o This balance helps you eat less at your next meal
o Think of a snack as a mini meal with at least 2 food groups
- If it’s a smaller snack, aim for around 200 calories
- Good time to also assess your water intake for the day
What kind of foods work well?
- Carbohydrate options
o Granola bars
- Protein options
o Peanut/nut butters
o Nuts and seeds
o Cottage cheese
o Hard boiled eggs
o Beef jerky
o Deli meat
How to plan for snacks
- Kid-friendly options
- Batch prep options, such as homemade granola bars or protein balls
- Leftovers/mini meals