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Food Factor: Smart Snacking

Time and money are both precious resources, but you don’t have to sacrifice them to eat healthier foods. Next time you find yourself standing in front of the vending machine at work or dashing into a convenience store for a snack, have a plan!

Snacks can be mini-meals or single foods you eat between meals. Many fruits and vegetables make great snacks, especially those that come in their own wrappers, such as oranges and bananas. Unlike many processed foods, fruits and veggies provide important fiber, vitamins, and minerals without all the extra sugar, salt, and fat. You want a snack to fill you up and give you energy, not leave you feeling hungry and drained. Keeping a couple of pieces of fruit at home or at work can keep you on track with your goals for eating healthier.

Another go-to, shelf-stable snack is homemade trail mix. Choose your favorite unsalted nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, mix them up, and pre-measure snack-size portions to keep in your purse, car, desk, or child’s backpack. I love zip-top snack bags for making my munchies convenient, while keeping my portions in control.

For more ideas on healthy snacking, check out “Snacks for Healthy Kids” from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach!

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