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Smart and Healthy Snack Ideas

Smart and Healthy Snack Ideas

Some go through the entire day without a mere thought of food. Others need meals and snacks around the clock to avoid making spontaneous calorie-laden blunders and to keep energy up. No matter what your eating style, it’s important to snack sensibly.
One trick is to consider snacking an opportunity to fill nutritional voids. Many women neglect their own basic nutrient requirements, such as getting enough calcium or fiber. So when it's time to snack, think about what your diet is lacking: If you haven’t had enough calcium that day, grab a cup of yogurt for a 300 mg dose of calcium.

Another step to healthy snacking is keeping track of your daily schedule and eating accordingly. Hunger often leads to overeating or ordering unhealthy food, so plan in advance. If you expect a late dinner, eat a healthy snack before leaving the office. Or, if you feel low on energy every day at 3 p.m., plan to eat a high-protein snack at 2:30 p.m. Doing so will give you a quick boost and keep blood sugar levels stable.

Try these suggestions for what to grab and when:

Busy Morning
If there's no time for breakfast, choose a snack that will jump-start your metabolism:

  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter with half a banana on whole-wheat bread
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese and fresh fruit
  • Fruit smoothie with soy or whey protein, plain yogurt, flaxseed oil

On-the-go Lunch Hour
When there’s no time for a proper lunch, try a healthy, well-rounded snack to meet nutritional needs:

  • 1 cup vegetable soup with whole-wheat crackers
  • 1 hard-boiled egg with 1 cup of spinach greens
  • Sports bar (such as Odwalla Super Protein) and fresh fruit
  • 2-3 ounces of smoked salmon on a slice of whole-wheat bread and 1 tablespoon light cream cheese

Hectic Afternoon
Drops in sugar levels are to blame for most afternoon slumps, so a good pick-me-up snack is a necessity:

  • 1/2 cup trail mix with nuts, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit
  • 1 cup yogurt with nuts
  • 1 string cheese with 1/4 cup dried mango or papaya
  • 8 ounces vegetable juice
  • 1 cup mixed fresh fruit
  • 1 cup edamame with dash of salt

Late-night Catch-up on Bills

When you just have to get work done in the evening, try a snack that keeps you going but will not prevent you from sleeping when bedtime arrives:

  • Decaffeinated green tea with touch of lemon and honey
  • 1 small apple, sliced, sprinkled with cinnamon and a touch of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots with 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries with 1 tablespoon whipped cream
  • 1/2 cup frozen grapes
  • 1/2 grapefruit with 1 tablespoon natural maple syrup


About The Author

M.S., MPH, is a registered dietitian and a nutritionist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.

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