To snack or not to snack? Maybe you’re struggling to get your protein and vegetables in, or maybe you only get two meals in each day…either way, snacking may be good for you! Some experts are saying that snacking can be an effective way for older adults to meet their daily caloric and nutrient requirements. In a recent study, snackers ate about 250 more calories than non-snackers on a daily basis.1
Health problems, medications, and loss of taste sensation can cause us to eat less on a daily basis as we age. In addition, we cannot eat as much at one sitting as we could when we were younger. Nutritious snacks in between meals can boost nutrient intake.
When it comes to smart snacking, incorporating healthy snacks is easier said than done, right? It is easy to be tempted by cookies or chips. What if we incorporate the same general qualities that attract us to those nutritionally “empty” snack foods such as sweetness, saltiness, and crunchiness, into healthier alternatives? Snacking also gives us the opportunity to make up for areas in our diet in which we are lacking. For example, if you aren’t getting enough protein and fiber in your diet, a good snack could be dried fruits and nuts.
It is crucial that we make healthy snacking easy to do, which means having healthy snacks ready on-hand, or those that would be quick to make. These include snacks such as celery and peanut butter, whole grain crackers and cheese, or fruit and yogurt. If you like to bake, consider making carrot-zucchini muffins, or oatmeal raisin cookies, which are healthy alternatives to cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies. Finally, resist buying items such as soda, cookies and chips at the store so that they won’t be there to tempt you later.
In conclusion, older adults who incorporate snacking into their daily eating habits are more likely to be meeting their daily caloric requirements, so snack away! But remember to snack smartly – healthy snacks give the biggest benefits!
Helpful Handout: Handout_Healthy Snacking for A Healthy Lifestyle
Guest Blogger: Gentry Lasater
1. Zizza CA, Tayie FA, Lino M. Benefits of snacking in older Americans. J Am Diet Assoc. 2007;107:800–806
2.”Snacking Can Benefit Older Adults” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070502074232.htm