Snacking on Treats

Treats and snacks are the same thing, right? A bag of chips, a cookie, or chocolate cake are all snacks, right? Actually, there’s a BIG difference between snacks and treats. The foods mentioned above are all treats.

A treat is something you can have once and a while, as a treat. They’re usually high in calories and fat, and won’t keep you feeling full. Treats are most often found in vending machines, at checkout stands, and at most coffee shops.

A snack is a healthy food choice that you can have throughout the day whenever you feel hungry.  Snacks are part of a balanced diet. Think of them as mini-meals. And since they’re mini-meals, keep portion size mini!

Steps to Healthy Snacking

  • Limit your snacks to no more than three a day. 200 calories or less per snack is ideal.
  • Keep a variety of healthy, ready-to-eat snacks at hand.
  • Watch your portion size. Buy small packages of food, or portion small amounts from larger packages. Don’t snack directly from a large container, bag, or box. Take the appropriate amount from the container and then place the container back in the cupboard, out of sight.
  • Drink water often. Water quenches your thirst, has no calories, and helps you feel full.
  • Recognize your hunger. Don’t misinterpret boredom or stress as cues to snack.
  • Avoid snacking while watching TV, working or playing on the computer, reading, or driving. You’ll usually end up eating way more than necessary.

Some simple and delicious snack ideas:

Under 100 calories:

  • 1 medium fresh fruit
  • ½ cup low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup cut up veggies with 2 Tbsp hummus (a great source of fiber)
  • 2 cups popcorn (with minimal or no butter)
  • 1 low-fat string cheese
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted nuts eg. peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews

 Under 200 calories:

    • 1 cup celery or apple slices with 1 Tbsp peanut butter
    • 1 small bran muffin
    • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
    • 1 cup fresh fruit low-fat yogurt parfait. Layer vanilla yogurt with fresh or frozen berries. Sprinkle with granola.

    If you want a treat, pair it with something healthy. This will help keep you feeling full longer, and it’s a more nutritious option. Try your favorite chocolate chip cookie with a glass of low fat milk. Or if you want ice cream, top it with slices of fresh fruit. If you’re having a bag of chips, keep portion size in mind. Have either water, low-fat milk, or 100% natural fruit juice with it instead of soda.

Do you have a favorite snack that’s not listed above? Let us know what it is!

Happy snacking!

*Snack tips are from here*

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