Students Snacking

April 30, 2014
Tangerines cut in half

With this 80 degree weather I think most of us are thinking about the beach and catching some rays.  If you are trying to lose weight or maybe thinking about picnic options we always want to encourage healthy eating.  To do this let’s review some more healthy snack options. I decided it would be more interesting to get a student’s perspective, so I asked one of my Environmental Interns what she normally eats for a snack.

Asami Osato shared with me. Asami said that she has been eating a lot of nuts, tangerines, sugar snap peas, and crackers. She also said that she usually has some type of ice cream in the freezer. But that she tries to keep the snacks she has on hand healthy so when she craves a cookie or something other than ice cream she has to go out to get it. She says this way she isn’t constantly snacking on junk.

Asami is doing a great job with her snacking options. She is choosing options that are satisfying her hunger but also providing her body with energy and important nutrients. Eating a healthy snack like of a piece of fruit (tangerine) or some raw veggies (sugar snaps peas) can tame your hunger without ruining your appetite for your next meal. Let’s look a little deeper at the options she has provided.

Fruits and Vegetables. Eating fruits and vegetables as described above can provide you with a feeling of fullness with only a few calories. Options are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and more.

Whole Grains. Asami mentioned that one of her snack options is crackers. I am going to assume they are a whole grain option and if not I encourage her to choose a whole grain option. Whole grain crackers or pretzels are rich in fiber.

Nuts. Asami mentioned she eats a lot of nuts. Nuts but also seeds can provide you with protein, leaving you to feel fuller longer. Nuts are also rich in fat, but mostly healthy fat like monounsaturated. Nuts are higher in calories so just a handful will do.

Low Fat Dairy. Asami didn’t mention that she ate cheese or yogurt for a snack, but this is another great option to consider. Dairy products are rich in calcium and protein plus other vitamins and minerals. When selecting a yogurt option, opt for the light version, or just go for the plain.

Ice Cream. Ice cream fits into discretionary calories. You have a daily energy need — the amount of calories your body needs to function. And depending on the foods you choose throughout your day and how much physical activity you do, you may have calories left over for “extras” that can be used on treats like ice cream. This amount of extras depends on your calorie needs and physical activity. So I did the math and I get about 500-800 extra calories or 64-90 grams. To keep it in perspective, 1 cup of vanilla ice cream 280 calories. So all in all I think you did a great job Asami! Well done.


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