New York Dietitian Gives Tips on Healthy Snacking

Posted on: February 26, 2014

National Snack Food Month

by Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital

89792455compr-nutrition monthYes, you read this title correctly. There is a National Snack Food Month, and it’s in February. Snack foods tend to get a bad rep with stereotypical offerings like chips, cookies and soda on frequent advertisements. The good news is that snacking can fit into a healthy diet and lifestyle – just be sure to keep these few tips in mind:

  1. Calorie Control – you don’t want to overdo it and have your snack turn into a meal. Portion your snacks out and keep them between 150-225 calories.
  2. Snack Wisely – Choose nutritious food choices (see our examples below) and don’t snack mindlessly. When your mind is preoccupied, you eat more; so sit down and focus on your meal and hunger/fullness feelings.
  3. Hydrate – often you can mistake thirst for hunger, which means you may be dehydrated and don’t actually need a snack. Remember to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.

Snack on These:

Many of us are always on the go, whether it’s running around doing errands or on a weekend family trip. It’s easy to grab a packaged snack item when you’re running out the door. Below are a few suggestions of healthy, on-the-go snacks for adults and kids:

#1 Trail Mix

Combine popcorn, unsalted nuts like almonds or walnuts and some dark chocolate for a high protein and fiber energy boost! Stick to one handful for your portion size – I know it can be hard!

#2 Yogurt Parfait or Smoothie

Plan ahead for this one and mix low-fat granola and fresh or frozen berries into Greek or low-fat plain yogurt for a creamy, crunchy snack. You can also throw in a blender and in a matter of seconds you’ve got a smoothie.

#3 Raw Veggies & Dip

Cut up some raw veggies like carrots, peppers, cucumbers and pair with low-fat Greek yogurt, low-sodium cottage cheese or homemade bean dip like hummus for a complete snack.

#4 Homemade Granola Bars

Granola bars tend to be high in sugar and lack the essential nutrient fiber, important for hunger control. Make your own to control calories and boost up the fiber with nuts, oats, chia or flax seeds and fruit.

#5 Peanut Butter & Fruit Sandwich

Have half of a sandwich using 1 slice of whole wheat bread and 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter. Sub the jelly for ½ cup fresh fruit like strawberries, apples, bananas or one of your favorite fruits.