by Carrie Sowiak, NASM certified personal trainer

How many times a day do you snack on something healthy? If you’re a snacker, are you doing it wisely? Do you take time to think about what you should snack on? And some of you might not snack, but rather eat small meals. Here is a list of some good options for smart snacking and small healthy meals:

  • Avocado – have with lettuce, portioned out tortilla chips, or just with a dash of salt, it’s delicious and healthy with its good fats!
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Turkey (leftovers or deli meat, actually from the deli, not pre-packaged)
  • An easy salad – this does not have to be a big production! It could be just three things in a bowl, whatever you might have in the kitchen for fruits and vegetables to eat up (if you buy produce, it forces you to eat it!)
  • Cottage cheese with low-fat whole grain crackers (Trader Joe’s has great choices for crackers) Add pepper, fruit or chives, dill or fresh basil, whatever you might have, fresh or dried. Grow a container herb garden!
  • Tuna – play around with your tuna salad recipe, adding capers, lemon, scallions, pickle relish, or using your favorite low calorie salad dressing
  • Small bowl of whole grain, low sugar, high fiber cereal with fresh berries or bananas. Look beyond the major cereal brands and try the brands at Sprouts and Natural Grocers. Read the labels!
  • Bowl of homemade vegetable soup, or low sodium if not homemade
  • A V8! low salt of course
  • Blue Diamond Nut Thins
  • Trader Joe’s multigrain pita bite crackers (great w/hummus, Trader Joe’s has fun varieties of that too)
  • Popcorn, minimal butter if any, and if you don’t like it dry, pop it in olive or peanut  oil
  • Cut up fresh fruit (mangoes, melon, pineapple, berries)
  • Bread and butter pickles (Famous Dave’s makes a good pickle)
  • Black bean dip with a small bowl of tortilla chips, or use fresh veggies to dip (If you buy baby carrots, they’re ready to eat, also tasty with peanut butter)
  • Delicious varieties of interesting cheeses, enjoy in small quantities
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes (lots of varieties to choose from)

And here are some of my favorite tips for healthier eating:

  • Keep your food interesting and change it up frequently!
  • Ask yourself if whatever you’re eating or drinking is worth the calories rather than just eating it because it’s there, or out of boredom. If the bread or tortilla chips at the restaurant aren’t warm, don’t indulge. If the wine doesn’t taste great, give it away or order a different one. Really savor what you’re consuming!
  • When snacking, position food so you have to get up from your chair to get to it! And always serve yourself up a small bowl or plate rather than eating out of the bag or box; that way, you know when you’re finished! (And you look more civilized too!)