Back again, with more in our “Age Friendly” series. Last time, we poked around the “other” food group and beverages in our daily diet. This time, we’re going to discuss snacking.

Many (most?) of us enjoy snacking throughout the day. And, believe it or not, that can be a good thing… if you make the right choice.

And that starts with planning ahead, the key to healthy snacking.

a smiling woman holds up a shiny-red apple by the stem. [credit:, public domain pictures]
[credit:, public domain pictures]

Planning ahead includes knowing the best snack options. And there are plenty of options… good and bad. We are bombarded throughout the day on television, radio and even the checkout at the local grocery store to purchase unhealthy snacks, like chips, candy and chocolate bars. On the other side, an array of healthy choices, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and more. Before you succumb to temptation, think about whether the snack you’re considering provides any nutritional benefit or just empty calories.

If you know you will be out for the day, take along a piece of fruit or a serving of nuts and seeds. At home, try putting some peanut butter on a slice of whole-wheat toast or enjoy an ounce of cheese with some whole-grain crackers. A container of low-fat yogurt is also a good choice.

At all costs, try to stay away from what I call “bag grazing.” That’s just what it sounds like: putting your hand into an entire bag of salty pretzels or chips or even candy and eating them unmindfully, perhaps while watching your favorite TV show. Next thing you know, the bag is finished or nearly finished, and all you are left with is thirst and (maybe) some pangs of guilt.

Better to limit your portion sizes. If you choose to snack on something from a bag, get a bowl and drop in a serving-sized portion. And, don’t get up from your comfortable couch or chair for another serving. If you still need something to feel satisfied afterward, try a healthy beverage.

The key to healthy snacking is planning ahead: have healthier snacks in your home and pantry, take healthier snacks along when you are out for the day, and keep in mind your serving size.

In our next post, we’ll talk about sodium and how much is too much.

by Maria Portelos-Rometo

Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.

Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert





to top