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Choosing healthier options during a time of increased snacking

We all love to eat a snack throughout the day, whether you're a kid or an adult. But there are...
We all love to eat a snack throughout the day, whether you're a kid or an adult. But there are some healthy options out there. (KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: May. 24, 2020 at 1:08 PM CDT
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We all love to eat a snack throughout the day, whether you're a kid or an adult. But there are some healthy options out there, and Fareway Dietitian Whitney Hemmer has some ideas for us.

"Snack" basics

• A "snack" typically refers to an ultra-processed, high calorie and/or high sugar item

• "snacking" really means eating between meals OR eating every few hours regardless of the food's health benefits

o Could refer to 6 small meals, 3 meals +1 or 2 smaller snacks, etc.

• People typically snack due to

o Hunger

o Temptation

o Low energy

• Snacks can contribute ¼ of your daily calorie intake – think of that as a 4th meal

• Does everyone need to snack? It depends!

Why snack between meals?

• Control hunger between meals (important for kids)

• Consistent energy levels (3 PM crash)

• Meet nutritional needs – fruit, vegetable, fiber, calcium, etc.

What should I look for nutritionally in a snack?

• Any snack, no matter if it's a meal or smaller snack, should contain a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat

o Give you energy and keep you full

o This balance helps you eat less at your next meal

o Think of a snack as a mini-meal with at least 2 food groups

• If it's a smaller snack, aim for around 200 calories

• Good time to also assess your water intake for the day

What kinds of foods work well?

• Carbohydrate options

o Fruits

o Vegetables

o Yogurt

o Grains

o Granola bars

• Protein options

o Peanut/nut butter

o Cheese

o Yogurt

o Nuts and seeds

o Cottage cheese

o Hummus

o Hard-boiled eggs

o Beef jerky

o Deli meat

How to plan for snacks

• Kid-friendly options

• Batch prep options, such as homemade granola bars or protein balls

• Leftovers/mini-meals

Email Whitney with questions

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