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:
- 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!
*Snack tips are from here*