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Healthy Snacking 101: Smart Choices for Between Meals

Wednesday, February 28, 2024


Sometime between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner, or even dinner and bedtime, your stomach may start to grumble. You don’t need a full meal, but eating a little something could hold off hunger. Snacking is the simple answer to this everyday dilemma. But as beneficial as snacking can be, it calls for a mindful approach.

Here’s everything you need to know about making health-conscious choices between meals.

The Principles of Healthy Snacking

But to avoid surpassing your daily calorie needs, you’ll want to make sure the snack is light enough to truly be considered a snack: think 250 calories or fewer. And since the goal is to leave you feeling full enough that you’re not reaching for more before your next meal, it should also have nutrients that help control hunger: fiber and protein.

Finally, it never hurts to check in with yourself before snacking. Are you truly hungry, or could boredom have brought you to the kitchen? If you’re snacking often without being driven by actual hunger, it may be time to explore mindfulness practices to better understand feelings like stress, tiredness, or boredom, all of which can drive overeating.

Healthy Snacks Between Meals: Five Options to Try

If you are truly hungry, take a moment to identify your craving. Meeting that need in a healthy way will stop you from going back to the fridge or pantry for excess indulgence! Here are a few options for healthy snacks, from salty to sweet and crunchy to creamy.

1. DYI Trail Mix

Trail mix can be a satisfying snack, with protein-packed nuts and fiber-rich dried fruit. While store-bought varieties work in a pinch, consider making your own to cut down on added salt and sugar. Raw nuts have less sodium than roasted and can be bought in bulk to stretch your dollar.

2. Cheese & Fruit

It’s not just for charcuterie: cheese and fruit are a healthy snack pairing, too. Again, the protein-and-fiber duo packs an appetite-curbing punch. To keep it light, stick to a small cheese serving. String cheese is a sensibly portioned snack for people of all ages. Enjoy it alongside a handful of grapes or sliced apple.

3. Yogurt & Berries

A cup of yogurt will keep you full until your next meal and is the perfect choice when you’re craving something creamy. Cut the sugar by choosing plain Greek yogurt and adding in a small drop of honey for natural sweetness. Toss in some blueberries or raspberries for extra fiber and nutrients.

4. Nut Butter & Grains

Need an on-the-go snack that won’t spoil? Pack a pita! Bonus points for a whole grain variety, which will cause a smaller sugar spike than white varieties. Pair it with a small serving of your favorite nut butter.

5. Veggies & Hummus

If savory is the flavor you’re after, choose some hummus and veggies. Carrots, celery, and peppers will deliver a satisfying crunch with just a few calories.

Schedule a Dietetic Counseling Appointment Today

Smart snacking is an important component of your overall nutrition, but eating well consistently can feel daunting. Our dietetic counseling services aim to simplify healthy eating with meal plans tailored to your specific needs and preferences. Schedule counseling with one of our dieticians by requesting an appointment online or by calling 912.691.3600.

Whether you are looking for a primary care doctor or a pediatrician, or another medical specialist, SouthCoast Health has you covered with its wide range of world-class healthcare services, available throughout the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. SouthCoast Health has 120 physicians and medical professionals in 18 locations in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Pooler, Rincon, Baxley, Hilton Head, Hinesville, and Statesboro. SouthCoast Health offers comprehensive medical services including: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Allergy and Asthma, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Eye Care, Imaging, Infectious Diseases, Nephrology, Neurology, Physical Therapy, Podiatry, Sleep Medicine, Surgery, Clinical Trial Research Studies, Diabetic Self-Management Training Sessions, Dietetic Counseling, Laboratory Services, Massage Therapy, Optical Shop, Pharmacy, and Urgent Care.

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