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By choosing to complete this mail lesson, you have taken the first step in learning more about the importance of nutrition and its relationship to good health. Snacking can be an important part of a healthy diet. This lesson will discuss how be a healthy snacker.
To complete this lesson:
- Carefully read this lesson. It should take about 15-20 minutes to complete.
- Answer the questions at the end of the lesson.
- When you are finished, place the questions in the prepaid envelope and place the envelope in the mail.
It’s Snack Time!
Snacks are a very important part of a healthy diet. Have you ever heard someone say “No snacking between meals?” The truth is, healthy snacks are an important part of our diet. Snacks help to refuel our bodies between meals. In fact, snacks are a great way for people of all ages to get all the food and nutrients needed each day.
This mail lesson will discuss:
- What is a snack?
- Why is healthy snacking important?
- When snacks should be eaten?
- Snacking and portion size
- What makes a good snack?
- Healthy snacking tips
- Healthy snack ideas
What is a snack?
Snacks are foods or drinks you eat between meals. Eating between meals can be a part of a healthy lifestyle if you choose healthy snacks.
Why is healthy snacking important?
- Children benefit from healthy snacks. They have small stomachs and are often hungry between meals. Healthy snacks can help children eat and drink enough during the day to get all the nutrients they need.
- Many people who are trying to lose weight are more successful when they plan to have small healthy snacks. Snacks help to prevent overeating at mealtime.
- Snacks can be good for everyone if the right amounts of healthy foods are chosen.
When should snacks be eaten?
- Children should be offered a snack in the middle of the morning, in the middle of the afternoon, and before bed.
- For adults, healthy snacks should be eaten between meals to satisfy hunger. Try not to eat a snack just because you are bored or stressed.
- Plan snacks 1½ to 2 hours before the next meal.
Snacking and portion size
For children, keep the snacks small. If your child is still hungry, he or she can ask for more.
For adults, plan snacks as part of the day’s food plan. Keep snacks small and only snack when you are hungry.
What makes a good snack?
A good snack is high in vitamins and minerals. Snacks are a great way to get all of the recommended amounts of food from each of the MyPyramid food groups.
Mix and match foods at snack time by choosing snacks that feature foods from at least two different food groups from MyPyramid.
Healthy Snacking Tips
Snacks can be good for us if we make good choices. Make snacks count by choosing foods that will help you get the recommended amounts from MyPyramid! The following tips will help you choose healthy snacks.
- Keep healthy ready-to-eat snacks in the refrigerator, like a small baggie of pre-washed grapes or carrot sticks or keep snacks, like raisins, in the cupboard.
- Choose fruits and vegetables as snacks. Keep them in the refrigerator at eye level.
- Do you want your kids to reach for a healthy snack? If so, make sure fruits and veggies are stored within their reach.
- When your kids come home hungry from school, have fruits and veggies ready to eat.
- Create your own snack and put in baggies so you can grab it on the go.
- Plan snacks ahead of time. Know what, how much, and when you will snack. Bring snacks with you instead of buying them from the vending machine.
- Choose fruits and veggie snacks more often than sugary snacks such as pop, candy, cakes and cookies.
- Keep snack portions small. Portion out snacks before you start eating. Serve snacks in a dish instead of eating from a package. This will help you control how much you eat.
- Avoid snacking just to snack. Only eat a snack when you are hungry. If you are eating because you are bored, tired, or stressed, try taking a walk, calling a friend, or playing with your kids.
- Eat your snack at the table, not in front of the TV or computer. This prevents mindless eating.
- Keep your children in mind. Remember children’s tummies are small. Snacks help children get the vitamins and minerals they need. Help them make good snack choices by setting a good example. Watch out for choking hazards such as large chunks of any fruit or vegetable, whole grapes, and small round foods (such as marshmallows, peanuts, etc.) Cut food into pieces no larger than ½ inch.
Healthy snack ideas
Snacks can help you get the right amount of foods from the different food groups. Here are some healthy snack ideas from each food group for you to try!
- hot cereal with raisins
- popcorn sprinkled with taco seasoning
- whole grain crackers topped with flavored cream cheese
- soft pretzels with melted low-fat cheese
- whole grain cereal topped with skim milk and fruit
- whole wheat tortilla filled with vegetables, salsa, and low-fat cheese
- bagels with low-fat flavored cream cheese
- low-fat quick breads and muffins such as pumpkin, zucchini, banana, or bran
- snack mixes made with popcorn
- ½ sandwich on whole-wheat bread
- garden salad
- celery sticks with low-fat or fat-free cheese or peanut butter
- baby carrots dipped in plain yogurt
- baked potato topped with low-fat cheese and salsa
- vegetables, such as celery, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green pepper, green beans, cucumbers, mushrooms, or zucchini served with low-fat ranch dressing
- celery topped with peanut butter and raisins
- broccoli with low-fat cheese
- canned, dried, or fresh fruit
- unsweetened 100% fruit juice
- frozen bananas and peanut butter
- apple slices with caramel or peanut butter
- frozen grapes
- toast with peanut butter and apple or banana slices
- strawberries and bananas dipped in vanilla yogurt
- fruit and yogurt smoothies
- string cheese
- yogurt dip for fruits and vegetables
- cheese and crackers
- cottage cheese with fruit
Meat and Beans Group
- peanut butter on crackers, celery, or apples
- trail mix (cereal, nuts, and dried fruit)
- ½ sliced turkey or ham sandwich
- scrambled eggs with low-fat or fat-free cheese and vegetables
Two Quick Snacks
- Mini Pizzas: Spoon pizza sauce onto half a bagel or English muffin. Top with low-fat mozzarella cheese and your favorite veggies. Bake at 250°F until the cheese is melted and the bagel/English muffin is crispy.
- Ants on a Log: Fill celery sticks with peanut butter and top with raisins.
Snacking is an important part of a healthy diet. The key to healthy snacking is to plan and choose snacks that improve your nutrient intake, instead of snacks that are full of extra calories, sugar and fat.