To snack or not to snack?

You can imagine what going to a fast food drive thru for a snack can do for the waistline, and studies show that 23 percent of our snacking comes from restaurants.

There are many benefits to snacking. Providing you don’t overeat, snacks can help to give you energy, stabilize your blood sugar, lower your bad cholesterol and help you to eat less at meal times.

Going too long between meals often encourages overeating. Eating in moderation means that you should get a bit hungry in between meals. If you find that you never get hungry in between meals, then it is very possible that you are overeating at meal times. 

When I think of snacks, I think of foods that one might not normally get in a meal, such as fruit, yogurt and nuts. Snacks should round out your diet to get in nutrients that you might be missing.

Ideally, snacks should not consist of high calorie/low nutrition foods. Also, snacks should not be foods you would normally eat at a meal, such as sandwiches, cereal, burritos, etc. Those examples are meal foods – not snack foods.

We should also beware of prepackaged snacks that play themselves off as being healthy. Many granola bars, for example, are nothing more than candy bars in disguise. Candy, ice cream and other treats are fine on occasion, but should not become a regular snack.


Healthy snack ideas should include more whole foods and less processed foods if possible. For sustained energy, aim for snacks that contain a bit of protein or fiber. Here are some examples:

Greek fat free yogurt
  (often higher in protein)

Light yogurt and a small handful  
  of nuts

Whole grain crackers and cheese

Raw vegetables with hummus

Apple or banana with natural
  peanut butter

Fruit and cottage cheese

Low fat popcorn

Dried fruit and nuts

Skim milk and fruit