Is snacking a bad habit? It can be. But snacks can also be a valuable part of your diet. Snacks are a way to get a pick-me-up between meals. They can also help you get your daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, only one-third of Americans get their daily recommended intake of vegetables. Its only a slightly better for fruits. Both are vital sources of vitamins, minerals, potassium, and fiber. National Nutrition Month, March 2013, is the perfect time to ensure you are getting all of your fruit and veggie servings. If you're worried fresh fruits will go bad before you can eat them, try picking up some dried fruit or canned fruit in its own juice without added sugars. You can even toss dried apples, raisins, cranberries, or apricots with some almonds or walnuts for a healthy and energizing trail mix snack.
Just like good meals take planning, so do quality snacks. Stock up your fridge with healthy options so when you get that nagging afternoon hunger you can reach for a something healthy and not into the cookie jar.
If you're watching your weight, remember snacks count toward your daily calorie intake, so adjust how much you're eating at meal times accordingly if you add snacks to your day.
Here are some healthy snack options suggested by Kendal at Oberlin dietitian Katie Hoover:
- Toasted English muffin with jelly
- 1 small tortilla with 1 ounce low-fat melted cheese and salsa
- 1 cup cereal with 1/2 cup skim milk
- Small baked potato with salsa, light sour cream or fat-free yogurt topping
- 1/2 English muffin or bagel with 1-ounce low-fat cheese and tomato sauce
- 12 baked tortilla chips with salsa
- 1/2 bagel with alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, tomato and low-free cream cheese
- 12 Baked Lay's potato chips
- Baked apple sprinkled with cinnamon
- Large frozen banana with 1 Tbsp peanut butter
- Low-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit
Want more healthy living tips? Download our free guide, Remaining Active: How to Begin a Regular Exercise Routine.