Quick, Healthy Snacks on the Go

A recent report showed that Americans snack more than ever before. But smart snacking is good news (the key word here is “smart”) – the report showed that the people with the healthiest diets snacks twice as much as those with less healthy diets.

Snacks can boost your energy between meals and keep you from getting overly hungry, which can lead to overeating at your next meal. If you choose wisely, they can also be a source of essential vitamins and nutrients that are part of a healthy diet.Quick Healthy Snacks by eMeals Quick-Healthy-Snacks-on-the-go-by-eMeals

Build a healthy snack by selecting one item from each of the three following categories:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Protein
  • Whole Grains

Fruits and Vegetables

Most kids and adults don’t get the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we fill half of our plates with fruits and vegetables. A recent study showed only 11-22% of kids are meeting the guidelines, and adults aren’t faring much better. Including fresh fruits and vegetables in a snack is a great way to increase daily intake of these nutrient-rich foods.

Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and nutrients needed for good health, and diets high in fruits and vegetables have been associated with a reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. Vegetables are low in calories and fat and high in fiber to help you feel full longer while eating less total calories.

Protein

Protein contributes staying power to your snack to help fill you up and is essential for building and maintaining muscles and bone. This category includes meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and we’re also including dairy, which is a great source of protein and calcium. Low fat dairy is especially important for building healthy bones in children and maintaining bone mass during adulthood. Choose low fat meats and low fat dairy to limit the amount of saturated fat in your diet.

Whole Grains

The Dietary Guidelines recommend that we make half our grains whole grains. Whole grains are an important source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Diets rich in whole grains have been linked to reduced risk of heart disease and constipation, and eating whole grains may help you control your weight.

Build a Healthy Snack Printable

Download this printable guide to building a healthy snack.

What are your favorite healthy snack ideas? Leave a comment below or tweet them @emeals

Need more help planning healthy meals and snacks? Don’t let your snacks be  where your healthy eating stops though! Check out the eMeals Healthy Breakfast Meal Plan and Healthy Lunch Meal Plan for ideas to keep your family eating healthy all day.

Related Links:

Clean Eating Snacks for the Car

Top 5 Low Fat Protein-Packed Snacks

Quick Guide to Portion Control Sizes

Paleo Snack: Zucchini Hummus

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