Choosing healthy snacks between meals can help keep energy levels up, manage hunger, and help with portion control. Just like meals, healthy snacks should have more than one food group (healthy fat, lean protein, grain or fruit/vegetable). Two food groups help keep you full of stable energy. The snack ideas below pair a serving of protein with a serving of carbohydrate. Keep in mind that the serving size may be different depending on the product you choose and your energy needs. Be creative. Pair different fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Snacks that Include Nuts, Seeds and Nut Butters
2 rice cakes (4-inch wide) + 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter, almond butter, or SunButter®
½ peanut butter sandwich (1 slice whole wheat bread + 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter, almond butter, or SunButter®) + ½ cup fat-free or low-fat milk
1 small banana with 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter, almond butter, or SunButter®
Celery sticks with dip made from 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of raisins
Trail mix: 15 almonds or walnuts, 1 tablespoon dried cranberries, ¼ cup high fiber cereal
3 cups air popped or light popcorn + 1 oz almonds or walnuts or 1 oz sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter, almond butter, or SunButter® + 5 whole grain crackers
1/3 cup unsalted soy nuts + 2 tablespoons raisins
Snacks that Include Milk, Yogurt, Cheese and Cottage Cheese
6 oz low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt + ¾ cup berries
6 oz container fruit flavored Greek low-fat or fat-free yogurt (Chobani®, Dannon®, Oikos®, Siggi’s® non-fat, Fage Total 0%®)
1 whole wheat toaster waffle topped with ¼ cup blueberries and 2 tablespoons of low-fat or fat-free yogurt
Smoothie made from 1 cup light soy milk (or fat-free or low-fat milk) and 1 cup sliced strawberries
¾ cup whole grain cereal + ½ cup fat-free or low-fat milk (Fairlife® milk is lower in sugar and higher in protein than regular milk)
5 whole-grain crackers topped with low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese and salsa
100% whole wheat bagel thin (Thomas® products) topped with spread made by mixing ¼ cup low-fat or fat-free ricotta cheese, 1/8 tsp vanilla, dash of cinnamon and ½ packet of sweetener, if desired
1 light string cheese + 1 medium apple
1 oz low-fat cheese + 5 whole-grain crackers (Lifetime® Cheese is low in saturated fat and high in protein, it can be purchased online)
5 whole-grain crackers, 1 light string cheese, + 4 oz low sodium tomato juice
2 Laughing Cow® Light Cheese Wedge + 5 whole wheat Melba Toast®
½ cup low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese + ½ cup diced fresh fruit
Light multi-grain English muffin (Thomas® products) with thin layer of low sodium tomato/pizza sauce, 1 oz. low-fat mozzarella cheese, and then baked
Snacks that Include Seafood, Meat, Poultry and Eggs
½ turkey sandwich (1 slice whole wheat bread + 2 oz turkey + mustard)
Tuna or salmon salad (1/4 cup tuna or salmon mixed with mayo made with canola or olive oil) + 6 whole- grain crackers
Tuna or salmon salad + 1 cup raw veggies
1 hardboiled egg + 2 Wasa® Fiber Crispbread or 2 Ry-Krisp® crackers (Tip: Limit intake of egg yolks to 4 per week)
1 hardboiled egg + 1 medium pear
Snacks that Include Beans and Peas
Raw veggies (baby carrot, red pepper, broccoli, cucumber, celery, cauliflower or a combination of these) + 2-3 tablespoons of hummus or bean dip
1 tortilla (such as La Tortilla Factory Smart®, Flatout Flatbread Mini®, La Banderita Low Carb/Low Fat Tortilla®, or Tumaro’s Gourmet Tortilla®) and ¼ cup black beans and 2 tablespoons fresh salsa
1 small whole grain tortilla + 1/3 cup hummus + sliced raw veggies (red/yellow/orange peppers, onion, cucumber, spinach, etc.)
Protein Bars and Shakes
Protein Bars(Each brand offers a bar with less than 3 grams of saturated fat, less than 10 grams of sugar, and at least 2 grams of fiber): LUNA Bar®, LUNA 5g Sugar®, KIND®, KIND Healthy Grains®, KIND Breakfast®, KIND Minis®, KIND Sweet & Spicy, LARABAR Nut & Seed®, Kashi Go Lean®, Kashi Chewy Granola Bar®, Clif Nut Butter Filled®, Clif Whey Protein Bar®, Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch Bar®, Nature Valley Fruit & Nut Bar®
Protein Drinks: Slim Fast High Advanced Nutrition Shake®, Glucerna Snack Shake®, Glucerna Hunger Smart Shake®, Boost Calorie Smart®, Boost Glucose Control®, Kellogg’s Special K Protein Shake®, Carnation Instant Breakfast No Sugar Added®, Ensure Clear®
Food Label Guide
When you compare the Nutrition Facts on food labels, choose snacks with (per serving):
Less than 200 calories
15-30 grams of total carbohydrate
10 grams of sugar or less
2.5 grams of fiber or more
140 milligrams sodium or less
7 grams of protein or more
3 grams fat or less
2 grams saturated fat or less
20 milligrams of cholesterol or less
0 grams trans fat
*Please note that for the examples on this handout, not all products may be available. These are examples to help you to make healthier choices.
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If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions, please call UW Health at one of the phone numbers below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition.
Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at (608) 890-5500.
Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at (608) 287-2770.