Published on July 06, 2017

The surprising truth about snacking

Sometimes, the idea of a little snack can sound oh-so-tempting.

But you’ve heard that nibbling between meals isn’t good for you.

healthy snack plateThen here’s a fact that may surprise you: It’s OK—and even a plus—to snack. And that’s especially true for older adults, when certain nutrients, like calcium and vitamin D, become really important for good health.

“A nutrient-rich snack can round out your diet,” says Andrea Byrd, Mercy LIFE Dietary Manager. It can also provide energy in the middle of the day. And it can take the edge off your appetite, which can help keep you from overeating at meal time.

“That’s why we take care to serve participants at our Mercy LIFE centers not just healthy meals, but healthy snacks as well,” Andrea explains.

To snack smart, keep these tips in mind:

  • Pick foods that are low in added fat and sugar and high in fiber and water. For instance, choose an apple rather than some chips. 
  • Be fussy about drinks. Stay away from ones that list sugar or corn syrup as one of the first ingredients. And be aware that fresh fruit is always a healthier choice than a fruit-flavored drink.
  • Keep good-for-you nibbles handy. Put fruit instead of candy in the bowl on your coffee table. Stock your fridge with cleaned, raw veggies and some hummus to dip them in. 
  • Treat yourself to low-fat or fat-free dairy products. That might be a cup of yogurt or some string cheese. 
  • Never eat straight from a bag. For instance, nuts are a healthy snack, but it’s easy to eat too many calories if you snack from the bag. So portion out a small amount, and put the bag away.