- Healthy snacks help maintain your energy levels.
- Eat snacks from the grains, fruits and vegetables, protein, and dairy groups.
- Limit candy, chips, and treats made from refined grains and sugar.
- Healthy snacks that you can carry in your backpack are usually more nutritious than foods in vending machines or at fast food places.
Snacks can give you energy to do the things you need and like to do. Eating small, well-balanced snacks between meals can also keep you from getting too hungry, which may lead to being tired, irritable, and/or eating too much at mealtime.
What snacks should I choose?
Foods from the grain, fruit, vegetable, protein, and dairy groups can make great snacks if you choose healthy options. When you are having grains at a snack, try to pick whole grain, high fiber, low sugar options as much as possible. Try to include a source of protein at most snacks because protein will help to keep you full. Foods such as chips, cookies, and candy are not as healthy because they are made up of unhealthy ingredients such as refined grains and sugars. It’s okay to eat these snacks once in a while, but they shouldn’t be the foods you usually have for snacks.
What are backpack snacks?
Backpack snacks can help fuel your body while you’re on the go. If you have plenty of healthy snacks packed in your lunch bag or backpack, you’ll have something nutritious to snack on when you get hungry. If you have snacks with you, then you won’t have to grab fast food or something from a vending machine that may not be as healthy for you. Backpack snacks are also called “portable foods” because they are very easy to take with you and most of the time they don’t need to be kept cold.
Easy snack ideas:
- String cheese
- Popcorn (air popped or a mini microwave bag
- High fiber cereals such as Kashi®, Puffins®, and Shredded Wheat® (look for more than 5 grams of fiber per serving)
- Whole wheat pita or carrots with hummus
- Fruit such as an apple, orange, banana, or grapes
- Energy Bars, such as Kind®, Luna®, Lara®, or Quest® bars
- Peanut, almond, or sunflower seed butter and celery, apple, or crackers
- Yogurt with granola, nuts, or fruit
- Yogurt smoothies
- Cottage cheese
- Cheese and high fiber crackers such as Kashi TLC®, Ak-Mak®, Triscuit®, or WASA® (look for at least 2 grams of fiber per serving)
- Fruit salad, light fruit cup, dried fruit
- Soy nuts
- Raw vegetables (such as baby carrots or pepper strips) with hummus or yogurt dip
- Celery with low-fat cream cheese
- Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- Whole wheat bread or English muffin with cheese
Remember, each food group serves a different purpose, so it is best to combine food groups when making a snack. Dairy and dairy substitutes such as yogurt, milk, and cheese build strong bones. Grains such as high-fiber cereal, whole-grain pretzels, and popcorn provide energy for muscles and your brain. Fats such as nuts, seeds, and peanut butter help keep you full. Fruit and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals for healthy skin, hair, nails, and immune system. Protein such as soy nuts and hummus helps build and repair muscles.
Some combination snacks which have foods from two or more food groups include light string cheese with whole grain crackers and grapes; trail mix made with nuts, high fiber cereal, pretzels, dried fruit, and dark chocolate chips; and baked pita chips, guacamole, and a cup of low-fat milk.