University of Massachusetts Amherst

It's MORE Than A Meal

Choose Healthful Snacks

Download a pdf of this fact sheet in English. pdf icon

Translations of Fact Sheet

Snacks can be a healthful part of the diet at any age. They can help satisfy hunger, and provide fuel and nutrients. The most healthful snacks are high in nutrients, and low in fats and added sugars.

tips for choosing a healthful snack

Use food labels to choose healthful snacks.

Check the Nutrition Facts panel for the serving size and number of servings in the package. Look for the amount of calories and nutrients in each serving. Limit snacks that are high in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, total fat, and sodium.

Check the ingredient list. Choose fewer snacks that list any added sugars as the first ingredient. Added sugars include brown sugar, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, and sucrose.

Look for products with the nutrient claims fat-free, low-fat, reduced-fat, no trans fats, light, low-sodium, reduced-sodium, lightly salted or reduced-calorie on the front of the package.

Choose snacks that are low in fat and added sugars.

Instead of ……………………………… Try….

Ice cream……………………………… Flavored low-fat yogurt
Milkshake……………………………… Fruit shake made with skim milk
High-fat crackers……………………… Reduced-fat crackers
Candy bar……………………………… Fresh fruit
Fruits canned in syrup………………… Fruits canned in their own juice

Enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables as a snack.

  • They are high in nutrients, and low in fat.
  • Try them with a low-fat dip or dressing.

Combine healthful foods in appealing ways.

  • Mix low-fat yogurt with pieces of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit.
  • Use low-fat milk with cereal. Top with fresh or frozen fruit.
  • Make a shake: Mix skim milk, fruit, and vanilla extract in a blender.
  • Melt low-fat cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla.
  • Make a dip with non-fat cottage cheese. To each cup of cottage cheese, add 2 tablespoons skim milk. Add chopped dill or chives. Serve with whole grain crackers, or with sliced soft raw vegetables.

Use snacks as a way to add extra fluids.

  • Drink 100% fruit juice, low-fat milk, decaffeinated or herbal teas, plain water, or water flavored with lemon.
  • Try frozen fruit bars made with 100% fruit juice.
  • Soups are also a good source of fluids.

If needed, choose snacks that are soft and easy to chew or swallow.

  • Eat soft fruits and vegetables with the peels removed.
  • Eat canned fruits packed in juice or water.
  • Eat yogurt and cottage cheese.

Back to Top

Developed for the Massachusetts Department of Education Child and Adult Care Food Program by the University of Massachusetts Extension Nutrition Education Program. Permission is hereby granted by the Massachusetts Department of Education to copy any or all parts of this document for non-commercial educational purposes. The Massachusetts Department of Education, an Affirmative Action employer, is committed to ensuring that all of its programs and facilities are accessible to all members of the public. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.

http://www.morethanameal.info