Late-night snacking can lead to weight gain, but it’s not due to the time on the clock. The trouble is, after-dinner snacking can lead you to eat more calories than your body needs in a day, especially if you’re having high-calorie snack foods and sweetened beverages.8,9 If you usually get hungry for an evening snack, try eating dinner a little later. Still hungry? Sip on water with a squeeze of lemon, or go for small portions of healthy choices like whole grain cereal with milk, a piece of fruit, or plain air-popped popcorn.
Healthy snack ideas for adults
Healthy snacks are an important part of balanced eating. Snacks are foods that are eaten between meals. They have a very important job: they keep energy levels up and provide nutrients that our bodies need. A healthy snack can also help help control your appetite and make you feel less hungry between meals.
Not all snacks are created equal
For many people, the word “snack” makes them think of chips or chocolate. However, these are not the type of healthy snacks that give us important nutrients that the body needs.
The key to healthy snacking is to follow Canada’s Food Guide and include foods from at least two of the four food groups in each snack. Ideas include fruit, whole grain crackers, cheese, hummus and vegetables.
Watch your portions
A healthy snack should have between 85 and 250 calories. One way to control portion size is to serve yourself a single portion on a plate instead of eating from a box or bag. This is especially true if you are distracted while eating – for example, if you are in front of a computer or television.
Healthy snack ideas
Keep snacking simple by stocking your fridge, pantry and desk drawer with healthy options. If healthy snacks are easy to access, you’ll be less tempted to choose foods that are high in calories, fat, sugar and salt. If you don’t keep chips, chocolate and candy in your kitchen or workspace, you’ll be less likely to choose them when you get hungry!
The snacks listed below are part of Canada’s Food Guide and have less than 250 calories each.
Snacks to keep at your desk:
- 1 slice whole grain bread with 15 mL (1 tbsp) peanut butter
- 1 medium fresh fruit such as a banana, pear, apple or orange
- 750 mL (3 cups) air-popped popcorn
- Single-serve unsweetened applesauce sprinkled with 15 mL (1 tbsp) slivered almonds
- Trail mix: 30 g (1 oz) whole grain cereal with 15 mL (1 tbsp) each raisins and unsalted nuts
Snacks to keep in your bag:
- 125 mL (1/2 cup) canned fruit in light syrup
- 60 mL (1/4 cup) dried fruit like apricots, dates, figs, raisins or cranberries
- 125 mL (1/2 cup) carrot and celery sticks or cherry tomatoes
- 125 mL (1/2 cup) 100% fruit juice or low sodium vegetable juice
- Homemade mini muffins or squares.
Snacks to store in the workplace fridge:
- 15 baby carrots with 30 mL (2 tbsp) hummus
- 175 mL (¾ cup) edamame (green soybeans in the pod) and 25 mL (2 tbsp) tzatziki dip
- 250 mL (1 cup) yogurt parfait (layer low-fat yogurt with fruit and whole grain cereal)
- 1 medium sliced apple with 15 mL (1 tbsp) almond butter
- 3 rye crackers with 50 g (1.5 oz.) low-fat cheese
Snacks to make in your kitchen:
- 250 mL (1 cup) smoothie made with low-fat yogurt, fortified soy beverage or skim milk and your favourite fruit
- 2 celery stalks with 60 mL (¼ cup) cottage cheese
- 30 g high-fibre cereal and 125 mL (½ cup) skim milk
- 1 slice whole grain bread with 40 g (¼ can) tuna and 5 mL (1 tsp) light mayonnaise
- 250 mL (1 cup) sliced sweet peppers with 60 mL (¼ cup) guacamole dip