Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Snacks for adults

Description

For almost anyone trying to watch their weight, choosing healthy snacks can be a challenge.

Even though snacking has developed a "bad image," snacks can be an important part of your diet.

They can provide energy in the middle of the day or when you exercise. A healthy snack between meals can also decrease your hunger and keep you from overeating at meal time.

There are many snacks to choose from, and certainly not all snacks are healthy or help you manage your weight. Try not to bring unhealthy snacks into the house. If they are not available you will not be able to snack mindlessly.

Alternative Names

Weight-loss - snacks; Healthy diet - snacks

What Makes a Healthy Snack?

If you are not sure if a snack is healthy, read the Nutrition Facts label.

Pay attention to the portion size given on the label. It is easy to eat more than this amount. Never eat straight from the bag, always portion out an appropriate serving and put the container away before you start snacking. Avoid snacks that list sugar as one the first few ingredients. Nuts are a healthy snack, but the portion size should be small and if you snack straight from the bag, it is very easy to eat too many calories.

Other factors to think about:

  • The size of the snack should be the right size, a good balance between enough calories to satisfy you, but still not too many.
  • Pick foods that are low in added fat and sugar and high in fiber and water. This means an apple is better than a bag of chips.
  • Aim for fruits, vegetables, whole-grain snacks, and low-fat dairy.
  • Naturally sweetened is better than foods and drinks that contain added sugar.
  • Fresh fruit is a healthier choice than a fruit-flavored drink. Foods and drinks that list sugar or corn syrup as one of the first ingredients are not healthy snack choices.
  • Pairing protein and carbohydrate will help the snack to keep you fullest for the longest. Examples include having apple and string cheese, whole wheat crackers with peanut butter, carrots and hummus, or plain yogurt and fresh fruit.

Healthy Snacks

Fruits and vegetables are good choices for healthy snacks. They are full of vitamins and low in calories and fat. Some crackers and cheeses also make good snacks.

Some examples of healthy snack components are:

  • Apples (dried or cut into wedges), 1 medium or ¼ cup (35 grams)
  • Bananas, 1 medium
  • Raisins, ¼ cup (35 grams)
  • Fruit leather (dried fruit puree) without added sugar
  • Carrots (regular carrots cut into strips, or baby carrots ), 1 cup (130 grams)
  • Snap peas (the pods are edible), 1.5 cups (350 grams)
  • Nuts (but not too many,) 1 oz. (28 grams) (about 23 almonds)
  • Whole-grain dry cereal (if sugar is not listed as one of the first 2 ingredients), ¾ cup (70 grams)
  • Pretzels, 1 oz. (28 grams)
  • String cheese, 1.5 oz.(42 grams)
  • Low-fat or nonfat yogurt, 8 oz.(224 grams)
  • Toasted whole-what English muffin with jelly
  • Air popped popcorn, 3 cups (33 grams)
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes, ½ cup (120 grams)
  • Hummus, ½ cups (120 grams)
  • Pumpkin seeds in shell, ½ cup (18 grams)

Other Tips to Keep in Mind

Put snacks in small plastic containers or bags so they are easy to carry in a pocket or backpack. Putting snacks in containers helps you eat the right size portion. Plan ahead and bring your own snacks to work.

Avoid junk-food snacks like chips, candy, cake, cookies, and ice cream. The best way to keep from eating junk food or other unhealthy snacks is to not have these foods in your house.

It is OK to have an unhealthy snack once in a while. Never allowing any unhealthy snacks or sweets may result in sneaking these foods. The key is balance and moderation.

Other tips:

  • Replace the candy dish with a fruit bowl.
  • Store foods like cookies, chips, or ice cream where they are hard to see or reach. Put ice cream at the back of the freezer and chips on a high shelf. Move the healthier foods to the front, at eye level.
  • If your family snacks while watching TV, put a portion of the food in a bowl or on a plate for each person. It is easy to overeat straight from the package.

If you are having a hard time finding healthy snacks that you want to eat, talk to a nutritionist or your family's health care provider for ideas that will work for your family.

References

American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Smart snacking for adults and teens. 2014. www.eatright.org/~/media/eatright%20files/nationalnutritionmonth/handoutsandtipsheets/nutritiontipsheets/smartsnackingforadultsandteens.ashx Accessed November 1, 2016.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 - 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf. Accessed November 1, 2016.

Review Date:8/14/2016
Reviewed By:Emily Wax, RD, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No