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10 Tips for Smart Snacking

Whether you are a child or an adult, most of us enjoy snacks. Well-chosen snacks can boost your nutrition and keep you energetic at home, work or school.
10 Tips for Smart Snacking

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Many nutrition experts recommend three meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and two small snacks during the day. Visit for more tips.

  1. Save time by slicing veggies. Store sliced vegetables in the refrigerator and serve with dips such as hummus or low-calorie dressing. Top half of a whole-wheat English muffin with spaghetti sauce, chopped vegetables and low-fat shredded mozzarella, and melt in the microwave.
  2. Mix it up. For older school-age kids, mix dried fruit, unsalted nuts and popcorn in a snack-sized bag for a quick trial mix. Blend plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt with 100 percent fruit juice and frozen peaches for a tasty smoothie.
  3. Grab a glass of milk. A cup of low-fat or fat-free milk or milk alternative (soy milk) is an easy way to drink a healthy snack. 
  4. Go for great whole grains. Enjoy whole-wheat breads, popcorn and whole grain cereals that are high in fiber and low in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium. Limit refined-grain products such as snack-bars, cakes and sweetened cereals. 
  5. Nibble on lean protein. Choose lean protein foods such as low-sodium deli meats or unsalted nuts. Wrap sliced, low-sodium deli turkey around an apple wedge. Store hard-cooked (boiled) eggs in the refrigerator for kids to enjoy any time. 
  6. Keep an eye on size.  Snacks shouldn't replace a meal, so look for ways to help your kids understand how much is enough. Store snack-sized bags in the cupboard and use them to control serving sizes. 
  7. Grab and go with whole fruit. Fresh, frozen dried, or canned fruits are options that need little preparation. Offer whole fruit and limit the amount of 100 percent juice (because it is higher in calories).
  8. Consider convenience. A single-serving container of low-fat or fat-free yogurt or individually wrapped string cheese can be just enough for a quick snack. 
  9. Swap out the sugar. Keep healthier foods handy. Avoid cookies, pastries or candies between meals. Have cut-up fruits and veggies ready to grab from the refrigerator. 
  10. Prepare homemade goodies. For homemade sweets, add dried fruits such as apricots or raisins and reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. Adjust recipes that include fats such as butter or shortening by using unsweetened applesauce or prune puree for half the amount of fat.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Featured in Food Wise August 2016 newsletter (PDF)

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