America's Energy Doctor
I tell my patients to eat six meals a day. Well, it’s not quite six meals. I explain that there are plenty of good reasons to have a healthy snack between each meal. That’s one between breakfast and lunch, one between lunch and dinner, and one between dinner and bed.
There are a few key benefits. It’s good for keeping your blood sugar on an even keel through the day and having a steady release of nutrients for energy. Having a satisfying snack between meals also prevents you from being so hungry come mealtime that you overeat. And holding hunger at bay also helps you stay focused and motivated throughout the day.
Healthy Snack Ideas
My general recommendation is that most of your snacks consist of a fruit or vegetable and a whole grain or nuts/seeds. This combination supplies vitamins, minerals, fiber, and good carbs for energy, and it’s satisfying; nuts and seeds are also great for healthy fats and protein. Also, choose organic foods as much as possible.
Here are just a few recommended healthy foods and snack ideas for between meals to supply you with essential nutrients and to keep you fueled throughout the day:
- A handful of nuts (especially almonds and walnuts) or seeds
- Berries (especially blueberries, one of the most antioxidant-rich superfoods)
- Other fruit like avocado, apple, pear, peaches, plums, grapes, cantaloupe, etc. (try apple slices dipped in a little peanut butter or nut butter)
- Raw carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli, or other veggies (with some hummus or low-fat cottage cheese for dipping)
- Shelled edamame
- Soy or low-fat Greek yogurt (mix in berries, dried fruit, or nuts)
- Whole grain crackers with a little peanut/nut butter, dried fruit, or reduced-fat cheese
- Plain air-popped popcorn (it’s a whole grain—but buy kernels, not packaged products)
- A small amount of plain granola, oatmeal, or other whole grain cereal (toss in some berries)
- A few thin deli slices of low-sodium poultry
- A little piece of dark chocolate (it has antioxidants and health benefits—but not milk chocolate/candy—the higher the cocoa percentage the better; shoot for at least 80%)