Got the Munchies
Amy Parker
Amy Parker

Got the Munchies?

by Amy Parker, RD

Don’t feel guilty about snacking between meals; it is actually a proven strategy for successful weight loss. The time between meals can become too long and a mini-meal is just what you need to tide you over till the next time you eat. If it is longer than 6 hours till your next meal a balanced snack is required. Most people have a hard time choosing a healthy snack; too often the choices are high in fat, sugar or sodium. Remember this is a snack not a meal; make appropriate choices with portion sizes.

Healthy Snack Ideas

  • Baked tortilla chips with lots of salsa
  • Raw veggies with hummus or tzatiki
  • Hard boiled egg and a glass of vegetable juice
  • Make kabobs by alternating cherry tomatoes, feta and cucumbers
  • Apple and a cheese string
  • High fibre bar with a skim milk latte
  • A bowl of whole grain cereal with milk
  • Yogurt parfait with low-fat yogurt and frozen fruit
  • Cottage cheese and canned pineapple
  • Peanut butter and banana wrap in a whole wheat tortilla
  • Smoothie made with milk, ice and any fruit you like
  • Half a whole grain bagel topped with low-fat cheese
  • Fresh fruit with vanilla yogurt dip
  • Trail mix with nuts, dried fruit and cereal
  • Homemade muffin with a glass of milk
  • Top ½ an English muffin with tomato sauce, mushrooms, green pepper and cheese; broil
  • Stuff celery with peanut butter and raisins
  • Wrap a slice of ham around a part-skim cheese string. Serve with a couple olives
  • Small baked potato with broccoli and cheese
  • Slice of leftover pizza
  • Waffle topped with applesauce
  • Melba toast with peanut or nut butter

Build a Smart Snack

  • Choose 2 out of 4 food groups
  • Aim for 100-200 calories per snack
  • Choosing a fibre rich snack will help you feel full
  • Add lean protein and the snack will take longer to digest
  • Watch the portion size
  • Read the labels of prepackaged foods

Convenience Foods

  • High fibre bars- look for at least 4 g of fibre and less than 10 g sugar
  • 100% juice drinking boxes
  • Individual portions of part-skim cheese
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Fruit cups packed in 100% juice
  • Yogurt tubes or drinks
  • Fruit bars
  • Single serving unsalted nuts

Snacking Strategies at …

Home

  • Fill your fridge with vegetables and fruit. When you get home from the grocery store take some time to wash and chop the produce. Often less healthy choices are made because they are more convenient.
  • Stock the pantry with quick and easy snacks; whole grain crackers, air-popped popcorn, fig bars, baked tortilla chips, oatmeal, cereal and plain nuts.
  • Keep the healthy snacks within sight. If you must have some less nutritious snacks around the house keep them at the back of the cupboard.

Work

  • Keep a snacking survival kit in your desk or in your vehicle. Stock it with canned fruit, juice boxes, dried fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers and healthy cereal bars.
  • Use the fridge to keep healthy options on hand. Fill it up with cut up vegetables, fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt and part-skim cheese portions.
  • Serve whole grain muffins, low-fat yogurt and fruit or veggie platters. Instead of providing pop, think about healthier options such as milk or 100% fruit or vegetable juice.

On the run

  • Keep snacks in your purse or briefcase to save time and money. Try 100% fruit bars, pudding cups, low-salt pretzels or homemade trail mix.
  • When eating out stick to whole grain bagels, grilled chicken, salads with small amounts of dressing, chili, baked potatoes and fruit smoothies.
  • Look for healthier choices in vending machines, most are emphasized now. And look for milk or water to quench your thirst instead of pop.
About the Author:

Amy Parker is a Registered Dietitian who regularly writes food and nutrition articles. She graduated from the University of Alberta and completed a one year internship in the Calgary Health Region. She currently specializes in prenatal nutrition and is passionate about helping her clients have the healthiest babies possible. Her other areas of interest include weight loss, childhood obesity and healthy food that tastes good too!

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