Make Healthy Choices When Snacking

Posted: June 18, 2012

Snacking is something most of us do...

According to Shirley Perryman, Colorado State University Extension specialist, 87 percent of us snack throughout the day and about a quarter of our calories come from sugary beverages and snack foods. If you snack, be sure to choose healthy foods that contribute nutritionally to your well-being. Below are some tips for healthy snacking from Dr. Perryman:

     Use snacks to fill in food groups you’re less likely to eat. Yogurt can substitute for milk. Fresh veggies may be more appealing as a snack than the cooked veggies at dinner to help fill half your plate with fresh produce. Whole grain crackers (read the label and look for “whole”) can help you meet the recommendation to make half your grains whole. 

     Aim for at least two out of the five food groups at snack time to help with overall balance of daily food intake. Make one food group at every eating occasion a fruit or vegetable.

     Plan ahead for healthy snacking. Know where you can purchase better-for-you choices when you’re away from home. Have healthy grab-and-go choices such as fruits, veggies, whole grain crackers and peanut butter on hand. Think outside the box for variety. Snacks like hummus and whole wheat pita bread or veggies with low fat dip are a nice change.

     On occasions when an unplanned attack of the munchies is overpowering in spite of your best efforts, have on hand air popped popcorn or make a quick and filling fruit smoothie by blending low fat milk and frozen fruit.

     Spend your daily calorie budget wisely. Be aware of recommended portion sizes. If portions are large, share it with someone else or save some for later. If you have difficulty controlling the size of portions you eat, don’t eat from packages that contain multiple servings. Choose a whole piece of fruit or a packaged snack pack to control portions.

     For more information on choosing healthy snacks and eating nutritiously, check out  This website has snack ideas as well as recipes, tools to track food intake, and many other great resources.

      Here’s a refreshing fresh fruit shake recipe to try this summer:

Fresh Fruit Shake

1 quart of orange juice made from concentrate
2 frozen bananas
2 cups frozen unsweetened strawberries
Put all ingredients in a blender.  Blend about 30 seconds or until well blended.  Pour into glasses and serve. Serves 4.