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Healthy Snack Foods
I've noticed that most of my calories come from snacks. Can you recommend some quick, filling, and low-calorie snacks?
I can provide some ideas on good nutritious snacks, but if you are relying on your snacks for most of your caloric intake, then your diet may be in more need of help than your choices for snack food. Nutritious snack foods are a great way to provide energy and nutrients until your next meal, but it's difficult to get a well-rounded diet from snack-type foods alone. Make sure that you are consuming enough calories during your meal times. Your meals should provide enough calories and "staying power" (i.e., satiety) to get you at least 3 hours along before hunger strikes. Combining healthy carbohydrates and fats, along with protein, can offer lasting satiety.
The same goes for nutritious snack foods. Use some combination of healthy carbohydrates (e.g., whole grain products, fruits & vegetables), fat and protein to provide nutrients along with satiety. Prior to choosing snacks, take a look at your current diet. A good evaluation of your intake can reveal any nutrient shortages that you may be experiencing. For instance, if you frequently fall short in the area of calcium, then snack choices such as low-fat yogurt, apple slices with low-fat cheese, or a soymilk shake would be good choices to balance out your nutrient intake.
The main key to keeping the calorie level of your snack at a reasonable level is to monitor the portion size of your snack. For instance, pre-sorting snack foods such as almonds or walnuts into small baggies containing 1 oz portions ensures that you're getting an appropriate amount with little hassle. Above all, choose healthy snacks that you enjoy eating! The following suggestions will provide a starting point for you to choose from.
Mix and match the following dippers and spreads/toppings.
Note: Kcals are provided as an estimate and will vary slightly depending on brand and type.
Here are a few other options:
The options for nutrient-rich, low-calorie snacks are endless. Be creative and enjoy the search for ones that fit your lifestyle and tastes. Happy eating!
Our expert, Dr. Sharon E. Griffin, holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in the areas of exercise science/physiology. She also holds a second M.S. degree in Nutrition and is a licensed nutritionist and an ACSM certified health and fitness instructor.