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Are You Snack Smart?

Reprinted with permission from, a program of the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation.

Quick quiz!

True or false: Snacking can be good for you.

That's absolutely true when you're smart about the way you snack.

When is snacking not so smart? Well, when you're not really hungry, but you eat lots of snacks just because it's a habit, like when you're watching TV. Or, if you always snack on the same things, like cookies, chips, candy and soft drinks. These are OK sometimes, but there's a ton of different snacks you can try.

You're "snack smart" if you...

  • Pick snacks that taste great and help you look and feel good. Check out our Super Snack Finder below for some ideas. Then, ask Mom and Dad to stock up on the stuff you like best. Don’t be boring! Try some new snacks, too.
  • Have a snack when there’s tons of time between meals. So, if you eat lunch at noon and dinner’s at 6:00, a snack right after school–say at about 3:00–is just right. You’ll get some fuel to do homework or to get outside and play.
  • Eat enough, but not too much. When you’re fueling up between meals, don’t eat so much that you’re stuffed when it’s time for dinner. But, if you’re doing something active like playing a sport, taking a dance class, biking or running around with your friends, it’s OK to fuel up with a bigger snack.
  • Pack a great snack in your backpack. When you can’t get home for a snack because of your busy schedule, take it with you. Pack sturdy stuff that won’t get squished– bags of nuts or pretzels or a box of juice.
Super Snack Finder
  • Low-fat yogurt – try freezing those squeezable tubes
  • Cheese sticks
  • A fistful of peanuts or trail mix
  • Frozen fruit bars
  • Any fresh fruit like grapes, an apple, banana or orange–you pick!
  • Any dried fruit like raisins or apricots
  • Any veggie, especially easy-to-eat ones like cherry tomatoes, baby carrots and cut-up green peppers
  • Graham crackers (don’t forget the milk!)
  • Fig bars
  • Low-fat chocolate milk
  • Orange juice
  • A toasted bagel half topped with a cheese slice
  • Pudding made with low-fat or fat-free milk
  • Applesauce
  • Whole-wheat crackers or a whole-grain English muffin with peanut butter
  • Pretzels
  • Salsa and baked tortilla chips
  • Hummus (chick pea dip) and pita bread
  • A cup of soup and a couple of crackers
  • Bowl of cereal – hot or cold
  • A nuked potato topped with catsup
  • Cold cooked chicken
  • A slice of pizza – hot or cold
Last updated November 7, 2008