National Nutrition Month – Eat Right, Bite by Bite

“People often view snacks as an energy boost, a hunger-satisfier, a recreational activity, or a treat," says Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND, nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research. A more healthful view is that a snack is another opportunity to consume nutrients and boost health, she says.   15 Tips for Snacking Smart

  • Focus on an eating pattern that promotes a healthy body weight, meets nutrient needs, and lessens the risk for chronic disease
  • Pick snack foods that are low in added fat, sugar and sodium, and high in protein, fiber and vitamins/minerals
    • Protein with carbohydrates will help you feel the fullest longest
  • Pair foods from different food groups to consume a wider variety of nutrients
  • If snacks are consumed, balance these choices with meal choices (think about your entire day)
  • Consider eating frequency in addition to portion sizes, and be mindful of hunger cues
    • Avoid snacking at “off” times, such as too close to mealtimes or late at night
  • Plan ahead: pre-portion snacks to promote convenience and avoid overconsumption
  • Avoid break room freebies (you might not even realize how often you reach for these items)
  • Keep a list of favorite snack foods and/or brands to refer to for ideas
  • Don’t forget about liquid calories, including those from sweetened coffees and teas, soda, fruit drinks, and energy drinks
  • Be cautious with snacks that appear healthy
    • Example: trail mix - oftentimes, these can contain yogurt covered raisins, deep-fried banana chips, chocolate chips or candy pieces, and salted nuts
  • Create a list of your favorite snacks to refer to
  • Practice reading food labels
    • Look at the portion size, fat, sugar, sodium, protein, fiber and the ingredient list
  • Use containers that are reusable, or materials that are recyclable to reduce waste
  • Organic does not necessarily mean healthy, and these foods can still be processed with a good amount of added fat, sugar and sodium
  • Limit intake of added sugars to less than 6 teaspoons (100 calories) for women and 9 teaspoons (150 calories) for men, limit intake of sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day, and limited intake of saturated fat to less than 10% of total calories


Instead of This Eat This
Cookies, candy, processed baked goods Fresh or dried fruit, energy balls, dark chocolate, whole-grain baked goods, whole grain dry cereal
Pretzels Popcorn, whole grain crackers, dehydrated vegetables/chickpeas/wasabi peas
Fruit snacks, fruit leather Fresh, frozen or canned fruit without added sugars, dried fruit
Potato chips (including fried veggie chips) Dehydrated vegetable chips, plain baked chips, mixed nuts, whole grain crackers, roasted chickpeas, raw vegetables with dip (hummus, guacamole), seaweed
Prepared trail mix Homemade trail mix
Protein bars or granola bars with added sugars Protein bars or granola bars that limited added sugars or that contain natural sugars (fruit)
Soda pop Flavored water
Flavored yogurt Plain yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit, string cheese
Certain nut butters (those that are low fat, hydrogenated, or with added sugars) Natural nut butter
Full fat ice cream Homemade popsicles, banana “nice” cream, slow-churned ice cream, sorbet, high protein ice cream

    Information provided by Jill Peters, MPH, RDN, LD. Online Resources: Center for Science in the Public Interest – Healthy School Snacks Choose My Plate (USDA) – 10 Tips: MyPlate Snack Tips for Parents Today’s Dietitian (search: snacks)