A Guide to Snacking Smarter

Written by a Georgia State University Dietetic Intern

Snack your way to healthier decisions.

Many of us have heard differing opinions about snacking. Some say that it will lead to weight gain, while others may say it ruins your appetite or that snack foods aren’t healthy foods. However, we don’t need to be afraid to enjoy in snacks from time to time. These misconceptions can be avoided with a better understanding of how to build a nutritionally balanced snack. We can make snacking align with our health goals and work to our advantage with the following tips.

Tips for Snacking Smart

  • Use foods from different food groups.
  • A combination of carbohydrates and protein can provide energy while making you feel fuller.
  • Go for lean proteins and carbohydrates higher in fiber such as whole grains, fruits, or vegetables.
  • Pay attention to portions.
  • Measure out the appropriate serving instead of eating straight from the package.
  • Use small containers or plastic baggies to portion out snacks.
  • Buy prepared, single serve packages such as baby carrots, nuts, or apples.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts Label
  • Becoming familiar with labels allows you to understand daily value percentages, get enough of beneficial nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and help you limit certain nutrients.
  • Be mindful when snacking.
  • Try not to eat while watching tv, working at your desk, or reading. By stopping activity to focus on your snack for a few minutes, you will reduce overeating and enhance enjoyment of the food.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Stay stocked with ingredients to make your own snacks such as Greek yogurt, fruits, vegetables, hummus, whole grain crackers and cereals.
  • Carry a small bag to bring snacks from home so that when hunger strikes, you don’t have to turn towards vending machines or fast food.

In addition, healthy snacking can be very beneficial.

  • Having a snack after exercising will help improve recovery and enhance performance.
  • It allows for more opportunities to increase intake of fruits and vegetables along with essential micronutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, folate, and calcium.
  • Instead of skipping a meal, small meals or snacks can help maintain steady blood sugar levels throughout the day.
  • Making healthier decisions regarding food doesn’t have to be a chore. As a matter of fact, we can liven it up and make it more exciting. For example, you could check the monthly National Food Holidays to draw inspiration. For the month of April, I’d like for you to join the challenge of taking a food holiday and making a healthier version to share with family or friends.

April Food Holidays & Recipes

  • April 2nd, National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day
    • Peanut Butter Jelly Bars
  • April 3rd, National Chocolate Mousse Day
    • Dark Chocolate Mousse
  • April 4th, International Carrot Day
    • Baked Carrot Fries with Greek Yogurt Dip
  • April 14th, National Pecan Day
    • Garlic Herb Roasted Mixed Nuts
  • April 30th, National Oatmeal Cookie Day
    • Oatmeal Cookies

Links & References

  • Peanut Butter Jelly Bars
  • Dark Chocolate Mousse
  • Baked Carrot Fries with Greek Yogurt Dip
  • Garlic Herb Roasted Mixed Nuts
  • Oatmeal Cookies

1. Bellisle F. Meals and snacking, diet quality and energy balance. Physiol Behav. 2014;134:38-43. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.03.010

2. Published 2021. Accessed January 14, 2021.

3. Publishing H. 7 ways to snack smarter - Harvard Health. Harvard Health. Published 2021. Accessed January 15, 2021.

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