Is it a snack or a treat?

September 19, 2022

Snacks are an important part of our daily diet. According to the USDA, the average American eats about 25% of their daily calories between meals. Unfortunately, many people are too often consuming foods and beverages that should be considered treats, not snacks.

Snacks should be foods that you eat between meals to keep energy levels up, and still follow healthy eating guidelines. Snacks can help you meet your daily totals of protein, fiber, and vitamins.

Treats should be reserved for occasional, special moments, not everyday occurrences. Treats are items such as: cookies, chips, soda, and candy. Treats typically have lots of calories, sugar, or salt and little nutritional value.

The typical person has two or three snacks per day. When it’s time to choose that snack, ask yourself, is this really a “snack” or a “treat”?

Food manufacturers work hard to convince you that the foods they sell are good for you. Many food packages contain words like “healthy” or “natural,” however these foods may really just be filled with empty calories.

If you want to choose nutritious snacks for yourself here are a few ideas for you:

  • Crunchy – raw vegetable sticks, nuts, seeds, whole grain crackers, apple
  • Creamy – cottage cheese, yogurt, hummus, avocado
  • Sweet – chopped fruit, dark chocolate
  • Savory/Salty – cube or sliced cheese, roasted chickpeas, a handful of nuts, nut butter

Your best snack option is to choose real foods, and skip the processed stuff. Read nutrition labels when items are claimed to be healthy or natural to get a better idea of exactly what is in the product and exactly how “healthy” it is.