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Publication #FCS8698

Healthy Eating: Smart Snacking1

Jennifer Hillan and Linda B. Bobroff2

Snacking can be good for you! Healthy snacks provide vitamins and minerals that may be lacking from your main meals. Keep these smart snacking tips in mind the next time you have a "snack attack."

Follow MyPlate

Choose a variety of nutrient-rich snacks from all five MyPlate food groups. Here are a few examples:

  • Fruits: apple slices, banana, blueberries

  • Vegetables: grape tomatoes, carrots, celery sticks

  • Protein Foods: hard-cooked egg, black bean salsa, nuts, leftover chicken, hummus

  • Dairy: low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, low-fat string cheese

  • Grains: whole-wheat crackers, oatmeal, leftover rice or pasta

Figure 1. 

Plan a snack that uses food from two or three MyPlate groups to provide lasting energy.


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Keep it Convenient

Have healthy snacks available and ready to eat. Keep fruit washed and vegetables cleaned and sliced in the refrigerator for easy snacking!

Plan for Snacking

Eat snacks two to three hours before mealtime so that you do not ruin your appetite for the next main meal. Snacks are meant to settle your hunger until your next meal, not make you feel full.

Figure 2. 

Bite-sized fruits such as blueberries are a convenient and nutritious snack.



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When to snack?

Snack only when you are hungry. Avoid snacking when you are just bored or stressed. In those cases, find something else to do like read a magazine or walk around the block.

Go Easy on High-Fat or Sugary Snacks

Snacks like chips and candy are okay once in a while, but choose most of your snacks from the five MyPlate food groups.



This document is FCS8698 (la versión en español de este documento es Alimentación Saludable: Meriendas saludables (FCS8698-Span)), one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date February 2005. Revised March 2010, August 2011, May 2012, and June 2017. Visit the EDIS website at


Jennifer Hillan, MSH, RD, LD/N, former ENAFS nutrition educator/trainer; and Linda B. Bobroff, RDN, professor; Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.