Snack Smart

If cookies, chips and chocolate are what come to mind when you think of snacks, it is time to change your perspective. According to Statistics Canada, 41% of the calories Canadians consume as snacks come from the other foods. Snacks can be part of a healthy eating pattern when they are high in fibre, and low in fat, sugar and salt.

Healthy snacks

  • keep you energized throughout the day
  • help you manage hunger
  • provide your body with nutrients

How to snack

Try some of the following tips for healthier snacking:

  • Plan and prepare healthy snacks in advance. Planning snacks helps you be more intentional about what and how much you eat. It also helps avoid situations where you grab any food that is available. Include healthy snack foods on your grocery list. At home, cut up veggies and fruit, or portion out snacks so they are ready to eat at snack time.
  • Limit snacks to three times per day. Grazing continuously between meals can easily result in losing track of what you have eaten and contribute to excess calories. Use a hunger scale to decide if you need a snack.
  • Avoid eating directly from boxes, bags or packages. Often you eat more when you eat directly from a package, so take out the amount you want, and put the rest out of sight. Or, portion out your snacks in advance.
  • Keep it interesting. Healthy snacks do not have to be boring. Try a variety of foods.
  • Avoid snacking while distracted. When you eat while watching TV, playing computer games or driving, you tend to lose track of the amount you have eaten. This also distracts you from your internal hunger cues. Focus on what you are eating when snacking.
  • Include a source of protein and fibre. These nutrients give your snack staying power. Pairing foods such as Greek yogurt and berries also provides a great opportunity to boost your intake of foods most Canadians do not get enough of – vegetables, fruit and milk products.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand at home, work and on the go. To ensure quick and healthy snacks are available
– designate a “snack corner” in your fridge or pantry at home, – stash snacks at your desk or in the fridge at work – keep healthy snacks in your purse, backpack and briefcase
  • Choose healthier options to satisfy cravings. If you are craving something sweet, try fruit instead of candy or ice cream. If you are craving something salty, try whole grain crackers or lower instead of chips. Many ideas for healthy substitutions are available.

Healthy snack ideas

  • Raw veggies and hummus
  • Cottage cheese topped with grapes and nuts
  • Pita wedges and salsa
  • Yogurt and fresh or frozen fruit
  • Apple with a slice of cheese
  • Fruit smoothie (frozen berries blended with one cup of milk)
  • Banana and almonds
  • Unsweetened latte and a small homemade muffin
  • Whole grain toast with peanut butter
  • Cheese and whole grain crackers
  • Fig cookies and milk
  • Hard boiled egg on whole wheat English muffin
  • Homemade trail mix (dry cereal, dried fruit, nuts and seeds)
  • Melba toast with tuna
  • Dry mixed cereal and a container of milk
  • Whole grain granola bar and a fruit cup in its own juice
  • Unsweetened applesauce topped with pecans

Revised December 2014

Jennifer Michaelchuk

Registered Dietitian

Jennifer (BSC, RD) is a registered dietitian from Edmonton. She enjoys inspiring others to achieve their healthy living goals and make healthy food choices.

Article posted on November 22, 2010

Active Tip
Take the stairs at work (if you work on the 35th floor, you may need to bring a change of clothes). During your work day, even walking up the stairs a few times will add up active time!