The time between meals can become too long and a mini-meal is just what you need to tide you over till the next time you eat.
By Amy Parker, RD
- 4 min read.
Photo by Gabriel / Unsplash
Got the Munchies?
Don’t feel guilty about snacking between meals; it is actually a proven strategy for successful weight loss. The time between meals can become too long and a mini-meal is just what you need to tide you over till the next time you eat.
If it is longer than 6 hours till your next meal a balanced snack is required. Most people have a hard time choosing a healthy snack; too often the choices are high in fat, sugar or sodium.
Remember this is a snack not a meal; make appropriate choices with portion sizes.
Healthy Snack Ideas
Baked tortilla chips with lots of salsa
Raw veggies with hummus or tzatiki
Hard boiled egg and a glass of vegetable juice
Make kabobs by alternating cherry tomatoes, feta and cucumbers
Apple and a cheese string
High fibre bar with a skim milk latte
A bowl of whole grain cereal with milk
Yogurt parfait with low-fat yogurt and frozen fruit
Cottage cheese and canned pineapple
Peanut butter and banana wrap in a whole wheat tortilla
Smoothie made with milk, ice and any fruit you like
Half a whole grain bagel topped with low-fat cheese
Fresh fruit with vanilla yogurt dip
Trail mix with nuts, dried fruit and cereal
Homemade muffin with a glass of milk
Top ½ an English muffin with tomato sauce, mushrooms, green pepper and cheese; broil
Stuff celery with peanut butter and raisins
Wrap a slice of ham around a part-skim cheese string. Serve with a couple olives
Small baked potato with broccoli and cheese
Slice of leftover pizza
Waffle topped with applesauce
Melba toast with peanut or nut butter
Build a Smart Snack
Choose 2 out of 4 food groups
Aim for 100-200 calories per snack
Choosing a fibre rich snack will help you feel full
Add lean protein and the snack will take longer to digest
Watch the portion size
Read the labels of prepackaged foods
High fibre bars - look for at least 4 g of fibre and less than 10 g sugar
100% juice drinking boxes
Individual portions of part-skim cheese
Fruit cups packed in 100% juice
Yogurt tubes or drinks
Single serving unsalted nuts
Snacking Strategies at …
Fill your fridge with vegetables and fruit. When you get home from the grocery store take some time to wash and chop the produce. Often less healthy choices are made because they are more convenient.
Stock the pantry with quick and easy snacks; whole grain crackers, air-popped popcorn, fig bars, baked tortilla chips, oatmeal, cereal and plain nuts.
Keep the healthy snacks within sight. If you must have some less nutritious snacks around the house keep them at the back of the cupboard.
Keep a snacking survival kit in your desk or in your vehicle. Stock it with canned fruit, juice boxes, dried fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers and healthy cereal bars.
Use the fridge to keep healthy options on hand. Fill it up with cut up vegetables, fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt and part-skim cheese portions.
Serve whole grain muffins, low-fat yogurt and fruit or veggie platters. Instead of providing pop, think about healthier options such as milk or 100% fruit or vegetable juice.
On the run
Keep snacks in your purse or briefcase to save time and money. Try 100% fruit bars, pudding cups, low-salt pretzels or homemade trail mix.
When eating out stick to whole grain bagels, grilled chicken, salads with small amounts of dressing, chili, baked potatoes and fruit smoothies.
Look for healthier choices in vending machines, most are emphasized now. And look for milk or water to quench your thirst instead of pop.
About the Author
Amy Parker, RD is a Registered Dietitian who regularly writes food and nutrition articles.
She graduated from the University of Alberta and completed a one year internship in the Calgary Health Region.
She currently specializes in prenatal nutrition and is passionate about helping her clients have the healthiest babies possible.
Her other areas of interest include weight loss, childhood obesity and healthy food that tastes good too!