Don’t get me wrong- eating snacks can be a very healthy and important aspect of eating. But when 20% of Canadians are saying that several times a day, between meal snacks prevents them from eating meals more regularly (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner), this shows us that snacks don’t necessarily always work for us. (1)
I often suggest snacks to kids and adults alike. I don’t know about you, but having a snack in between my meals can help me make it through without that awful crash from low blood sugar. If I don’t give my kids a snack after school there is no way we would get through until dinner.
One of the key aspects to snacking is to make sure you are choosing a balanced snack. The whole idea is that it is going to help you get through until the next time you eat (your next meal). When you choose a snack, be sure to include 2 of the 4 food groups. Including a fruit and vegetable with another food group is the perfect way to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables that you eat. The idea of a snack is that it doesn’t have to be a large amount of food.
With some of my pregnant or breastfeeding clients I find that snacking is the prefect way to fill in the gap and meet their nutrition needs during these high nutritionally demanding times.
Keeping mindful eating in mind, its very important that you listen to your bodies’ hunger and fullness cues when you are eating. Be sure you are eating because you need some fuel, not because you are bored, stressed, angry, tired, etc. Make sure that, even when you are eating a snack, you give the proper attention to your food. You want to make sure that you are not distracted while you are eating by TV, your phone, etc.
Another struggle that can happen around snacks is getting the word snack confused with treat. What is the difference? A snack is something that is eaten between meals and used to help you meet your nutritional needs. It often looks like a mini-meal. A treat is something that you eat once in a while and that are not making a big impact on your diet nutritionally (but they do taste delicious!)
Some snack ideas:
- Homous or other bean/lentil dips and veggies
- Fruit and nut/seed butter
- Energy bites: recipe and recipe
- Apple donuts: recipe
- Yogurt and fruit or vegetables.
- Crackers and cheese
- Crackers and smoked tofu
By planning snacks throughout the day (you won’t need more than 3), it can be a great way to use the potential of food to stay energized throughout the day.
Looking for more snack ideas for you and your family? Contact Jill, Nurture The Future’s Registered Dietitian at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Charlebois, Sylvain et al. PowerPoint Presentation – May 2017. Disintegration of Food Habits
Adapted from the Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.NutritionMonth2018.