It's 3 p.m., and you need a snack. Sure, grabbing a bag of chips or a candy bar at the office vending machine might seem more enticing than, say, biting into an apple. But there are ways to make healthy snacks enjoyable.

By Lisa M. Dierks

Snacking is not a bad thing as long as you are making nutritious choices and taking your daily caloric needs into consideration. Here are some tips to make healthy snacks enjoyable.

Before reaching for a snack, HALT and ask yourself: Am I Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? Are you eating because of emotions? Are you eating out of habit? If you're snacking for a reason other than hunger, try a different activity first. Consider a short walk, deep breathing for three minutes or a brief social visit with a work colleague.

If you really are hungry, keep your snacks simple by using this list:

  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Nuts or nut butter
  • Whole-grain crackers or cereal
  • Vegetable sticks
  • Hummus or cheese
  • Plain Greek yogurt

Change up your snack staples with these ideas:

  • Sliced apple with cashew butter and raisins
  • Whole-grain crackers with peanut butter and sliced banana
  • Fruit or veggie toothpick kebabs — such as cherry tomatoes with feta cheese, strawberries and grapes, or a mix of your favorite melons
  • Trail mix — nuts, dried fruit and whole-grain cereal

Remember, in a typical meal plan snacks usually account for 100 to 300 calories for the day (depending on your specific caloric needs). Be sure to keep portion sizes appropriate and not overindulge with mindless munching.

Set yourself up for success by stocking up on the healthy items you enjoy. Then prep them for the week — cut celery or carrots into sticks, take the tops off strawberries, slice up fresh pineapple, pre-portion nuts into small containers. If everything is cleaned, prepped and portioned out, it can be grabbed quickly and eaten before you're even tempted by unhealthy fare. Consider dedicating one shelf in your fridge to these grab-and-go snacks.

Dec. 09, 2016