Shifting the view on snacking – 5 healthy ideas to refuel

Food blogger and business owner Trish Ryan is constantly looking for healthy options to feed herself and her family. She is the founder of Time for Dinner, a meal planning service designed to help you enjoy healthy meals with your familyIn this post, Trish offers new ideas for healthy snacking.

Michael Pollan, famed author and food activist, coined the poignant statement, “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” For our health, this statement can become a beneficial motto not only for meals but also for snacks we choose within the day.

In our culture, the idea of snacking is frequently used interchangeably with “snack foods”, like potato chips, pretzels, Oreos, etc. As such, snacking becomes an excuse to eat something outside of already established healthy eating plans. Unfortunately, the opportunities to do so are everywhere, making this become easy.

From pharmacies to gas stations to movie theaters, highly processed foods tout hard-to-ignore, brightly colored packaging, screaming for our attention and leading our society to a grab-and-go culture of unhealthy eating. Cookies are marketed in “100 calorie” bags, “fruit” snacks sell themselves on the fruit they often don’t contain, and sugar-laden granola bars use marketing to pretend they’re far from candy bars. Because of these tactics, we give ourselves the green light to snack, and snack, and snack. These poor snack choices can easily derail an otherwise healthy eating plan, which is why it’s important to snack mindfully.

Instead, snacking should be seen as an opportunity to incorporate great nutrition into your day. The first step to this is planning. A solid foundation is second, and the best is drawn from fruits and vegetables.

Each week, choose a day to carve out 10 minutes to wash and chop veggies. Having these readily available will make them an easy choice. A serving of fruits or vegetables is often enough to hold you till the next meal, but if you know you’ll need to power it up, simply add a small amount (typically no more than ¼ cup) of nuts or seeds.


Since every person needs a different amount of calories, there is no magic number for snacks. Generally speaking, snacks between 100-200 calories are sufficient. If you are tired of the typical healthy apple with almond butter or carrots and hummus, here are some other creative ideas that might re-energize your snack plans:

  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Sliced fennel and oranges with a drizzle (1 tsp.) of olive oil
  • Air popped popcorn with 2 Tbsp. each of unsweetened goji berries and almonds
  • Cubed watermelon with an ounce of feta cheese
  • Steamed and lightly salted edamame

What’s your favorite healthy snack?

Time for Dinner members are provided recipes for five simple, healthy meals including side dishes each week. Meal plans are created to be efficient and eliminate waste. Ingredients are maximized to create balanced dinners that play off each other. Members are also provided with an organized shopping list, cost estimates to help keep you on budget, a list of pantry items you will need, and guides to meal preparation. Time for Dinner is a great tool to help you avoid pitfalls and stay on track with healthy eating.

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