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Let’s Talk about Snacks

It’s no secret that we snack a lot, whether it’s because we feel hungry, need energy for an activity, are attempting to put on weight, feel bored, or are trying to relieve stress. Despite the many reasons we snack, about 47% of the time we snack out of boredom. About 34% of the time, we’re snacking to relieve stress! Snacking is a favorite American pastime, and most people snack every day, often multiple times a day.

Snacks can be great if you’re hungry and need a little bit of energy to make it to the next meal. If your appetite is poor, snacks can help you reach your calorie needs in smaller amounts throughout the day. Snacks are also very useful for athletes when they are training and have really high energy needs. However, snacking beyond what our body needs can lead to excess calorie intake and weight gain. In turn, this can increase the risk for diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

How do we snack for the right reasons and in a healthy way?

Ideally, snacks should only be eaten when you are hungry, not when you are bored, tired, or stressed. When you are having those other feelings, before you reach for a snack, take a moment to ask yourself if you are truly hungry. If the answer is no, try to find a distraction like going for a walk, calling a friend, or immersing yourself in an activity like a puzzle or a game. Oftentimes, when you break the cycle of immediately reaching for a snack, the urge will subside. Try drinking a glass of water before having a snack because it may be that you are thirsty and not actually hungry.

A healthy snack is:

  • 250 calories or less
  • About the size of your hand
  • Colorful thanks to fruits and/or vegetables
  • High in fiber from whole grains
  • A combination of protein and carbohydrates

Bonus Recipe: Almond Butter Apple Sandwiches

Adapted from


  • Medium apple
  • Almond butter
  • Raw almonds, optional
  • Chia seeds or flax seeds, optional


  1. Core apple and cut into thin slices
  2. Spread a thin layer of almond butter on half of the slices, then top with another thin slice of apple to make a sandwich.
  3. You can sprinkle with raw almonds to add more crunch or top with chia seeds or flax seeds to boost the omega-3 fat content.