Can Snacking Be Good For You?

by Emily Rider, RDN, LD

Last Updated: October 16, 2020

It’s a common misconception that snacking is “bad” for you, but you may be happy to hear there are several ways balanced snacking can help you stick to your health goals. Let’s look at some benefits that come from including snacks in your daily meal plan, tips to help you create balanced snacks, and some of our favorite snack ideas.

Benefits of snacking:
  • Hunger management.
    Going too long between meals can leave you feeling so hungry that you eat whatever you can get your hands on, even if it’s not the healthiest option. If your meals are spaced greater than five hours apart, try incorporating a balanced snack in between meals to better manage your hunger.
  • Portion control.
    By staying on top of your hunger, you can better manage your portions. If you go a long time without eating, you may be more likely to eat a large amount of food and end up uncomfortably full. Adding a nutritious snack between meals can help prevent overeating.
  • Increased food variety.
    Incorporating snacks throughout the day is a great way to increase your food variety. This gives you an opportunity to mix in more food groups, especially fruits and veggies, and even try foods that are new to you.

Snacking tips:
  • Pair protein or fat with fiber.
    To help you feel fuller for longer, be sure to pair a source of protein or heart-healthy fat (eggs, nuts, seeds, avocado, low-fat cheese, tuna, etc.) with fiber (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains). Eating a combination of nutrients at one time helps with satiety, the feeling of fullness. For example, eating whole grain crackers with a low-fat cheese stick will fill you up more so than just eating crackers.
  • Eat enough.
    We want our snacks to keep us full for about 3-5 hours. If you eat a 50-calorie snack, you may be hungry an hour later and end up eating more. Generally, try to aim for 150-200 calories for snacks in between meals.
  • Ask yourself if you’re truly hungry.
    When reaching for a snack, be sure that you are truly hungry and not simply killing time. It is very easy to mindlessly munch on snacks when you’re bored or distracted, like when you’re watching TV, which can quickly lead to overeating. Also, be sure to check your levels of thirst. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger. Try drinking a glass of water before picking a snack.
  • Plan ahead.
    This can be especially helpful for days when you will be on-the-go or may not be able to stick to your normal eating schedule. Packing snacks or preparing snacks ahead of time can keep you on track for these busy days.

Snack ideas:
  • Celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins.
    This classic “ants-on-a-log” is a great combination of protein, fiber, and fat that provide long-lasting energy. Try having your kids help make this snack for added fun.
  • No bake quinoa, almond, cranberry, and coconut energy balls.
    This is a great make-ahead recipe so you can have a quick option for those on-the-go days.
  • Pineapple avocado toast.
    Who says avocado toast is breakfast-only? This snack idea is a tasty combination of heart-healthy fat and whole grains.
  • Some of our simpler options include: tuna + whole-grain crackers, fruit + nut butter, air-popped popcorn + low-fat cheese, fruit + yogurt, or hummus + vegetable sticks.

Remember, snacking won’t look the same for everyone. No matter what snacking looks like for you, be sure to pick options that nourish your body and your soul. Interested in learning more snacking tips and tricks? Schedule a Telenutrition appointment with a Dietitian at Kroger Health.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Emily Rider, RDN, LD

Emily Rider, RDN, LD

Emily strongly believes in a balanced diet- choosing foods that are good for your body AND good for your soul. With this philosophy, she can help you meet your health goals without having to give up your favorite foods. In addition to a passion for nutrition, Emily loves spending time outside with her two rescue dogs.