Nutritious Snacking Ideas

Last night I was teaching my “Nutrition Tools” class in Harvard Square.  And one question that all of the participants wanted to know about was healthy snacking options.  Here are some of the suggestions I provided.

1.) A snack should contribute to the nutritional profile of your day.  So, a snack should look like a balanced “mini-meal” that adds vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, etc.
2.) Aim for whole, minimally procesed foods most of the time.
3.) Try to include 2-3 food groups.
4.) Balance your snacks with complex carbohydrates (think whole grains, veggies, beans, fruits) with protein and/or fat.

Here are some of the snack suggestions we came up with during class:
* A few Ak-Mak crackers with a bit of hummus and turkey
* A few Ak-Mak crackers with a bit of peanut or almond butter
* A pear with an ounce of cheese
* An ounce of nuts and greek yogurt
* Low-fat cottage cheese with fruit
* Veggies, hummus, and a few whole grain crackers

Combining food groups and carbs/fats/proteins helps to increase satiety, decrease cravings, improve nutrition content of your diet, and stabilize your blood sugars and hormone levels.  If you’ve been snacking on fruit and wonder why you’re hungry 30 minutes later or if you grab a handful of crackers (then another, then another) it’s because you are eating solely carbohydrates.  They are great for quick fuel, but not so great for sustained energy and satiety.

Give this way of snacking a try and let me know what you think!

Hope this helps.  I’d love to hear your favorite snacking solutions.