A big part of healthy eating is including more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milk products in your diet. Healthy snacks are a great way to make sure that you get plenty of nutritious foods every day. Consider the tips below to help you get started:
- Be prepared. Have healthy snacks ready for when you get hungry. Keep them with you at work or school, in your car, and at home. If you have a healthy snack easily available, you’ll be less likely to pick up a candy bar or a bag of chips.
- Find healthier substitutes for high-fat snacks. If your favorite high-fat snack is potato chips and dip, try baked tortilla chips with bean dip or hummus instead.
- Make snacks interesting. If the idea of a plain piece of fruit doesn’t appeal to you, try dipping fruit slices in low-fat yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon or nutmeg.
- Take advantage of seasonal offerings. Fresh fruits can help you survive and thrive during these long summer days. Eating fresh fruits is one of the easiest ways to stay hydrated in the summer heat.
- Combine honey and peanut butter or almond butter for a protein-rich dip for raw apples, carrots, celery, and pretzel sticks.
- Mix fresh or frozen berries with low-fat yogurt and top with sliced almonds or granola to make a fruit parfait.
- Top whole-grain crackers with low-fat cottage cheese or ricotta cheese and sliced tomatoes or red pepper strips.
- Make your own healthy trail mix with high-fiber cereal, dried fruit (such as cranberries, blueberries, and dates), and almonds.
- Dip colorful sliced vegetables in low-fat salad dressing or hummus. Try broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, and red, yellow, or orange bell peppers.
- Cut up some watermelon, fresh mangoes, and strawberries to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Tools to Help You Make Healthier Food Choices
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed the MyPlate Plan to help you make healthier food choices. The website includes informational fact sheets, videos, and fun activities for families with children to help parents instill healthy eating habits. It also includes resources for older adults that address special nutrition concerns for this age group.
The MyPlate tool can help you develop a personalized food plan based on your age, gender, height, weight, and physical activity level. This tool, which is now available as a mobile app, allows you to set goals and earn badges for meeting those goals.