Is Snacking Good or Bad?

Get tips on how to snack without sabotaging your diet or nutrition.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
4-minute read
Episode #141

Feeling Hungry is Not a Medical Emergency

I’d also like to point out that (assuming you are getting sufficient calories and nutrients over the course of the day) feeling hungry does not necessarily constitute a medical or nutritional emergency.  It does not mean that your body is starving or digesting itself; it does not mean that you are suffering from nutrient deficiencies; it doesn’t even mean that your blood sugar is dangerously low.  It simply means that you haven’t eaten in a couple of hours.  Life can go on.

Tip #3: Snack on Real Food, not Snack Food

The other big mistake I see people making is reaching for so-called “snack foods” like chips, crackers, bars, cookies, and other highly-processed and largely nutrient-free items.  Aside from the built-in portion control of those little 100-calorie packages (for which you pay a hefty premium), I can’t see any advantage to these non-foods.

See also: Junk Food In Disguise

What Are Healthy Snacks?

If you choose to snack, use that as an opportunity to work another serving of vegetables into your day by munching on some raw carrots, snow peas, or red pepper strips.  Add a little hummus, guacamole, or peanut butter.  Or, snack on some nuts and dried fruit.  Create your own portion-controlled snack packs by doling them out ahead of time into snack-sized plastic bags.  Snack on cheese and fruit. Eat the other half of your sandwich. The bottom line is that your snacks should be oriented around the same nutritious foods that you build meals around.

Related Content:  Energy Bars

More Tips for Building a Healthy Meal Plan

Snacking has become such a big part of our eating culture (and is such a nutritional pitfall for people) that I devoted an entire chapter of my new book, Secrets for a Healthy Diet, to the topic of snacking well. In it, I have more specific suggestions for healthy snack foods and portion sizes and how snacks fit into a healthy meal plan.  In fact, you can download and read the chapter on snacks for free.   The complete book is available wherever you buy or download books. 

Have a great week and remember to eat something good for me!


Food Timeline  (History of Eating Patterns)

A Chink in the Small Frequent Meal Theory (Nutrition Over Easy Blog)

Snacking image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.