Eating Well As You Get Older

Frequently Asked Questions

23. Is it okay to have snacks?

You may have heard that eating between meals isn’t good for you, but snacks are okay as long as they are smart food choices. Choose snacks that are nutrient-dense -- ones with lot of nutrients but relatively few calories. Limit foods that have empty calories like cookies, candy, sodas, and alcohol. If you eat snacks, remember to include them in your daily calorie count.

Here are some suggestions for healthy snacks.

  • Keep a bowl of cleaned, raw, cut-up vegetables in a see-through container in the refrigerator. Carrot and celery sticks are traditional, but consider red or green pepper strips, broccoli florets, or cucumber slices.
  • Cut-up fruit makes a great snack. Either cut up the fruit yourself, or if your budget allows, buy pre-cut packages of fruit pieces like pineapples or melons.
  • Try whole fresh berries or grapes.
  • Top plain, fat-free or low-fat yogurt with berries or slices of kiwi fruit.
  • Spread peanut butter on apple slices or celery sticks.
  • If chewing is not a problem for you, consider dried fruits like raisins or dried apricots. They are easy to carry and store well. Because they are dried, ¼ cup is equivalent to ½ cup of other fruits.
  • Frozen juice bars (100% juice) make healthy alternatives to high-fat snacks.
  • Spread peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese on whole wheat toast.
  • Popcorn, a whole grain, can be a healthy snack if made with little or no added salt and butter.
  • Have an ounce of reduced or low-fat cheese with some 100% whole-grain crackers.
  • If you want some nuts or chips, don’t eat from the bag. Count out a serving, and put the bag away.
  • When you’re out and need a snack, don’t be tempted by a candy bar. Instead, take along some fruit or raw vegetables in a plastic bag when you go out.