Smart Snacking – Paying Attention to What’s Inside

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

When my brothers and I were growing up, it felt like we were always on the go. Even though we were homeschooled, we were involved in so many activities, including competitive speech and debate, livestock shows, music lessons, and youth group at church. Since we were in the car so much, having those pre-packaged snacks was a must because they were easy for each of us to just grab on our way out the door and store in our backpacks. It turns out, we weren’t the only family that purchased a lot of pre-packaged snacks.

CNN Business reports that snack sales have been skyrocketing in recent times. This increase is being attributed to people being out and about more and that as a whole, society is beginning to enjoy snacking through the day more than eating three meals a day. But, while their convenience is undeniable, many of these pre-packaged snacks aren’t always the healthiest, as many of them have large amounts of added sugar, sodium, empty carbs, and few nutrients.

However, that’s not to say that all pre-packaged snacks are unhealthy. So, what are some things to look out for when choosing these pre-packaged snacks? Choosing snacks that aren’t overly sugary, salty, or full of empty carbs is a good place to start. Registered dietician Jessica Bihuniak says that those who choose snacks such as whole fruits and veggies, and lean dairy products or meats are much better off in terms of meeting their dietary needs.

Growing up, my mom wouldn’t just buy any kind of snack for us, she would always choose the ones that were the healthiest and had the most nutritional value, such as protein bars, bags of nuts or dried fruit, beef jerky, or she would prepare Ziplock bags of cut carrots or celery. Not only did it reduce the amount of junk food that we ate, but btu it also gave us much better nutrition to get us through whatever activity we were doing.

Next time you’re getting snack foods, make sure you look into what’s all inside those convenient little packages. That way you can ensure that you’re not only getting a snack but also getting adequate nutrition from it as well.

Fill Your Plate has lots of other articles about snacks! Go check them out!

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