Snacking is a daily occurrence for American adults. As reported in the Food Surveys Research Group Dietary Data Brief No. 4, the average number of snacks consumed each day by American adults nearly doubled over the last 30 years. Not only are we physically eating more, but these snacks are also more calorie dense. Sugar sweetened beverages account for 14% of snack calories for both men and women, alcoholic beverages account for 16% of snack calories for men, and savory snacks, such as chips, account for 12% of snack calories for women.
Daily snacking isn't a bad thing, but we need to become smarter snackers. Think of snacks as a way to catch up on the nutrients you may have missed at mealtime. For instance, if your lunch wasn't heavy on vegetables, utilize your afternoon snack time to munch on raw carrots and snow peas plunged in the South of the Border Dip recipe below. Did breakfast fall short on protein? Pack a string cheese stick or peanut butter on whole grain crackers. It's also important to keep portion control in check. With a little planning ahead of time, you can pack single serving packages of nuts or crackers, rather than eating it straight out of the container.
Unless you're an active athlete who needs to refuel after a hard workout, your snack should generally be between 100 to 200 calories. A full-size candy bar generally has more than 200 calories and certainly isn't a healthy snack. But that doesn't mean a healthy snack is automatically small. A fruit smoothie with one cup of fat-free milk, ½ cup frozen strawberries and a half of a banana is less than 200 calories. One tablespoon of peanut butter on slices of a medium apple or 3 cups of air-popped popcorn sprinkled with three tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese are also less than 200 calories. Smarter snackers can lead to healthier bodies!
South of the Border Dip Printable PDF
1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1 cup light sour cream
1 cup salsa
In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients. Serve with your favorite fresh vegetables, tortilla chips or crackers. Store dip in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Yield: 3 cups or 12 (¼ cup) servings
Nutritional analysis per serving: 45 Calories, 2 grams fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 180 milligrams sodium, 4 grams total carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 2 grams protein