3 Ways to Snack Smarter

Trish Brimhall, RDN, ED, CLE/Nutritionist stopped by with the following suggestions for healthier snacking:

"When a snack attack takes us by surprise, we rarely take the time an effort to search out a healthful, balanced option, so the first key to smart snacking is to plan ahead. Portability, produce, and low-prep time are just some of the things to keep in mind when choosing snacks for yourself and your family. Here are few other tips to consider that meet those three criteria.

1. Location, location, location. Think through your day and decide where to stock some handy snacks to help you avoid the same path to the drive-thru or vending machine. Some dried fruit, nuts, jerky or dry cereal in your desk at work, in your car`s glove box, or in a pocket of your backpack should contain at least a few non perishable snack items.

2. Know your audience. Whether you have grade schoolers or teenagers bursting through the door around 3:00, chances are they will be famished. And while cheese sticks, almonds and grapes sound like a picture perfect snack, your kids may have other ideas. And regardless of how ideal the nutrition content of a snack may be, if it doesn`t go in their mouth, it is a moot point. So look at the foods they currently eat, choose, or buy for themselves and find ways to up the nutrition. One example is cup noodle - a common teen snack go-to now has a new veggie with a full serving of vegetables per container/serving. They recently adjusted the recipe of their original product - it now has sodium below the 50% daily value, with no artificial flavors and no added MSG and they have a vegetarian soy flavor with veggies including edamame, carrots and bok choy. When my kids started driving and bringing home their own snacks, this is the kind of food they gravitate towards, so encouraging a snack with more veggies is a step in the right direction.

3. Prep ahead. Something as simple as popping some microwave popcorn while you brush your teeth and bagging it up, and grabbing a clementine or banana on your way out the door will help you hit the spot later in the day as you wait during carpool duty. Involving your kids in creating their own trail mix, then pre-portioning it out makes a portable snack with very low prep time, and with the addition of dried fruits also hits the produce requirement. Smart snacking rarely happens spontaneously, but with just a few minutes of planning and preparation, it takes you a lot closer to meeting your nutritional goals in a realistic way for the whole family."

Find out more at www.nutritiousintent.com.