Healthy snacks are an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Good snacks can:
- Provide nutrients that help protect you from heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases.
- Help you stay energized throughout the day, especially if you get hungry mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
- Fight off hunger and keep your metabolism going. This can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Just remember to keep portion sizes small. Snacks are supposed to tide you over, not replace a meal.
Two is better than one
Choose snacks that combine at least two different types of foods
- lower-fat, lower-sodium cheese and whole grain crackers
- celery and peanut butter
- pita with hummus
- vegetables and a lower-fat dip
- nuts with fresh fruit
Combining foods this way will boost your energy and leave you feeling satisfied longer.
Plan ahead for your snacks the same you do for meals. Include snacks on your shopping list. This will help you resist unhealthy snack choices that may be high in salt, fat and sugar.
Don’t drink your calories
Sugary drinks including energy drinks, fruit drinks, 100% fruit juice, soft drinks and flavored coffees have lots of sugar and little to no nutritional value.
Avoid fruit juice, even 100% fruit juice. Although fruit juice has some of the benefits of the fruit (vitamins, minerals), it is high in sugar and low in fibre.
Limit highly processed snacks
Potato chips, cookies, doughnuts and candy bars add lots of unnecessary calories, fat, sugar and salt to your diet. Unlike healthy snacks, these foods can actually make you feel less energetic.
Beware of healthy foods that aren’t healthy at all
Some granola, cereal bars and energy bars can be very high in calories, sugar and fats.
At home: Stock your pantry and fridge with quick, easy snacks: Fresh fruit, cut-up vegetables, plain popcorn, unsalted nuts, granola bars (make your own), and lower-fat yogurt and cottage cheese.
At work: Stock your desk drawer with portion-size containers of whole-grain crackers, peanut butter, unsweetened instant oatmeal, , nuts, seeds and cans of tuna. It’s a good idea to keep a knife, fork, spoon and napkins in your desk too.
On the go: Pack small baggies with crackers, nuts and seeds, cut up veggies in your purse, glove box or briefcase as you leave in the morning.
Here are more quick and healthy snack ideas that you can share with your family.