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June 9, 2020 | | Nutrition

Strategic Snacking for the Win

I have partnered with the National Dairy Council to help promote Dairy. I have been compensated for my time commitment. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Snacks are often viewed in a negative light. I frequently hear clients proudly proclaim that they avoid snacking as much as possible.  Having a snack and snacking are two different actions. Having a snack is to have an intentional mini-meal to provide fuel until the next meal. Snacking has a connotation of mindlessly eating an uncertain amount of food. Having a snack is rather advantageous, whether it be fueling for a run, working on portion control, or for weight management.  Snacks provide the nourishment to stay satisfied and energized for the day ahead.

Coming up with creative and delicious snacks while stuck at home can be a challenge. Likewise, finding nutritious and satisfying snacks is an even bigger challenge. You may think that a nutritious snack has to be just fruit or vegetables. While those are great options, they often leave you feeling hungry and looking for more. When forming the perfect snack it is important to include two components: protein and fiber. Both protein and fiber promote satiety, helping you stay fueled until your next meal.

Dairy foods contain a powerful nutrient package including protein, calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus. Whether sweet or savory, dairy will provide you with the fuel you need. See below for ideas on how to incorporate dairy into your snacks! Dairy is also a great post workout snack if you don’t have a meal planned because its quality protein is great for muscle recovery.

  • Quesadilla: 2 corn tortillas, ¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 2 tbsp salsa (on top)
  • Cheese and crackers: 1 oz brie, 6 whole grain crackers, and about 30 grapes
  • Savory cottage cheese bowl: ½ cup cottage cheese, 2 tbsp salsa and ¼ cup black beans
  • Cottage cheese fruit bowl: ½ cup cottage cheese, 1 cup fruit, 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Parfait: 1 cup Greek yogurt, ½ cup fruit and ¼ cup granola or whole grain cereal
  • Apples with peanut butter dip: ½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt, 2 tbsp peanut butter (mixed together) and 1 apple, sliced, for dipping
  • Caprese salad: 1 oz (approximately 8) mozzarella pearls, 8 sliced grape tomatoes, fresh basil,  1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  • Cheese and popcorn: 1 oz aged white cheddar cheese and 3 cups popcorn
  • Fig and ricotta toast: 2 slices whole grain bread (toasted), 1 oz ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon fig preserves, fresh or dried thyme (to garnish)