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Boost Your Energy with Healthy Snacks

Although the word snack conjures up images of chips and candy bars, snacking can be a great opportunity to get healthy nutrients instead of relying on supplements. Here are some wise choices.

Snacking is one of Americans’ favorite pastimes. Over the past 30 years, the percentage of adults snacking on any given day rose from 59 to 90 percent, according to USDA.

“Small nutrient-rich snacks eaten throughout the day are a wonderful way to get enough vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, calcium and potassium as well as dietary fiber,” says Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN and Clinical Associate Professor at Boston University.

Foods over Supplements

“The key is to turn to whole foods – and not supplements – as your primary source of nutrients,” says Blake. Why? AICR’s expert report found that the phytochemicals and nutrients in foods work together to protect your health, while in supplements they are isolated.

“For snacks, foods that supply protein, fiber and a little fat are the best,” Blake points out. “If you get up early, you may benefit from amid-morning snack. If you eat dinner early, you may need a snack before bed to help you sleep through the night.”

Seven Super Snacks

Here are seven tasty, satisfying snacks. Each provides 250 calories or fewer – less than a small bag of chips or a 1.5-ounce candy bar. These healthy snacks will keep your hunger at bay and provide long-lasting energy.

  1. Dip your fruit: Create a yummy dip for fresh melon, peach, apple and mango chunks using 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese, a tablespoon of peanut butter, a teaspoon of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  2. Veggie good bean dip: 2 Tbsp. chickpea spread (“hummus”) from the deli section with carrot and celery sticks and strips of bell pepper, plus 1 6-inch whole-wheat pita bread toasted and cut into wedges.
  3. An egg-stra pick-me-up: 1 hard-boiled egg with a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes and 1 slice whole-wheat bread.
  4. Say (low-fat ) “cheese:” Pair a 1-ounce slice of low-fat Swiss cheese with a slice of whole-wheat toast and a sliced apple or pear.
  5. Soup it up: 1 cup of low-sodium broth-based soup with 1/2 cup frozen mixed veggies and 1/4 cup cooked chicken breast. Heat through and serve with a slice of whole-grain bread.
  6. Sweet potato dunk: Half a steamed or boiled sweet potato that’s been chilled and cut into wedges, dipped in a mixture of 1 tsp. brown mustard, 1 tsp. honey and 2 Tbsp. of low-fat yogurt.
  7. Bake an apple: Core an apple and slice it. Place on a microwave-safe dish. Top with 1 tsp. raisins, a dash of cinnamon and 1 tsp. of orange juice, cover with damp paper towel and microwave 5 minutes; or bake on a pan, uncovered, at 350 degrees in conventional oven for 25-30 minutes. Top with low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt and enjoy.

AICR Newsletter 118 - Winter 2013

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