Tips for Healthy Summer Snacking
June 01, 2021
Thankfully, winter is in the rearview window and warm sunny days are ahead. Summer is a good time to take inventory of your snacking habits. Yes, snacking when done the right way, can be beneficial and provide many health perks. It can boost your energy level between meals and help prevent a drop in blood sugar. It can also boost daily nutrient intake and fiber.
When reviewing one’s snacking habits, planning ahead is key. Look at your schedule each week and see where you may need to plan a snack after a workout or when you will be out of the house. Keep healthy snacks accessible without much preparation. Also, think food groups or nutrient balance. Try to pick snacks that offer carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Apple with peanut butter or string cheese, carrots and hummus, fruit and yogurt, nuts and fruits or veggies are good examples.
Portion control when snacking is very important. A snack should provide 100-200 calories depending on your daily caloric intake. If a snack is much over 200 calories, it is more like a meal. Choosing foods low in caloric density allows you to increase volume and nutrition with fewer calories. For example, Popcorn versus potato chips is a much better choice if you want something crunchy and low-cal but filling. Nuts are a great snack and high in nutrition but they are also high in fat so calorically dense. If you are keeping an eye on calorie intake, limit the portion size of nuts. The calories can add up fast!
Healthy Snacking Tips
Follow these tips to create healthy snacking habits:
- Plan ahead! Shop for a variety of snack options to include foods balanced in carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Most people don’t get enough fruits and vegetables so make sure they are included daily.
- Snack mindfully: avoid grabbing a bag or box of food and digging in without thinking.
- Practice portion control: snacks should be 100-200 calories and fit into your individual calorie plan.
- Avoid snacking all day long so you don’t lose track of calorie intake.
- Make snacking convenient. Sometimes snacking is easier if you use already cut-up fruits and vegetables and snack packs in individual portion sizes. Try some of the new snacking options like crunchy dried beans and other veggies.
- Think seasonal when choosing snacks. Melon, berries, sugar snap peas, cucumber, and grape tomatoes are some of the seasonal summer favorites to include. Pair those with a healthy bean dip, yogurt dip, or hummus.
- When purchasing a packaged snack, make sure you always read the label for nutritional content, portion size, and calories. While some snack foods can look healthy at first, they are actually calorically dense and high in fat and sodium.
Remember to make your snacks count and enhance your daily nutrient intake!
Diet and Nutrients , Meal and Menu Planning, Weight Management , Blog