What Makes a Healthy Snack

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What Makes a Healthy Snack

We all know that we should be snacking healthier, but what does that actually mean? When you’re feeling sluggish in the afternoon you might just reach for whatever is nearby. But if you plan ahead (or if you’re lucky enough to have a Grow Healthy Vending machine at your office!), then you’ll have healthy snacks at the ready so you can make sure you’re not slipping!

To make sure that you’re choosing wisely, try and stick to these guidelines for your snacks:
Calories: a snack with high nutritional value should have between 150 and 300 calories.
Sugar: your daily cap for sugar is 25 grams so a healthy snack should not have more than about 5 grams of sugar.
Fat: Look for snacks that are low in total fat and saturated fat while having NO trans-fat. Fat should make up 20-30% of your daily calorie intake.
Sodium: Many Americans eat too much salt and most of that salt (about 75%) comes from eating packaged foods. Make sure to check your labels! The daily recommended amount of sodium is 2400 milligrams so a healthy snack should be less than 10% of your daily salt intake.

You want to make sure that you’re not eating a sugary snack (oranges, apples, etc) alone. Try and pair them with some nut butter or a string cheese. Eating protein with your fruit will not only keep you feeling full longer, but it will also slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, preventing an insulin spike. When your insulin spikes, you can crash and then you’ll just end up looking for another snack.

Your main goal in searching for a healthy snack should be to find something that has a high nutritional value. That means you’ll be looking for something high in protein, vitamins and minerals. The best way to achieve this is to pair different foods.

Everyone will have different snacking needs depending on their lifestyle. If you’re eating three meals a day, you may need to eat one or two snacks to keep yourself going. If you’re a person who eats dinner early – more than three hours before bed – then you may need a nighttime snack. Or if you’re heading to the gym for a strenuous workout (running, biking, etc) you will want to eat a snack about an hour before.

Make the right choice! What do you think will fill you up and keep you full? String cheese and peanut butter or Doritos and donuts?