Snack Time: A Trial and Error Experiment

We recently received a reader comment here on the blog asking for a helpful diagram to better illustrate the suggested size and makeup of a snack. In the post, we discussed how an ideal snack should be comprised of multiple food groups and should include some combination of a healthy fat, a lean protein, or a high-fiber carbohydrate. 

What can sometimes be tricky about snacking is figuring out: “how much is enough?” It is hard to recommend an exact portion size since snack size is dependent on many factors including your age, your level of activity, the kinds of nutrients that you have already had in a given day, and how many hours until your next meal. Unfortunately, there is no one-stop “cheat sheet” that can tell you exactly which snacks are right for your body and nutrition needs. Finding the perfect snacking balance is often a experiment in trial and error. Eat too big of a snack and you’ve ruined your appetite for dinner. Not eating enough of a snack and your stomach is grumbling a mere hour later. 

However, we know that it is easier to plan your own snacks when you’re armed with a ton of great possible ideas. You can always half or double a snack idea or swap out certain ingredients based on your preferences or what you have on hand. We’ve found a few of our favorite lists of snack suggestions that illustrate the balance of multiple food groups and nutrients that we hope make it easy for you to better understand and start experimenting with snack size.

Real Simple magazine has a great interactive snack guide that suggests ideas for snacks based on where you’re snacking and what you’re craving. This list of 10 energy boosting after-school snacks from Kitchen Daily is great not only for kids, but also for a mid-afternoon boost at the office.

{Photo from “Keep Your Diet Real” found here}

A gorgeous visual board of 20 Quick and Healthy Snack Ideas with accompanying recipes will surely get your appetite going for building a better snack. If late-night dinners are always on the agenda due to your busy schedule, try one of these 9 Healthy Predinner Snacks to tide you over until mealtime.

We hope these balanced snack suggestions help to better illustrate food combinations and serving suggestions for snack options until you figure out the size and timing that works best for you. Of course, feel free to share your favorite healthy snack in the comments below to help inspire your fellow snackers!