Surprise, surprise: snacks and desserts can be good for you!
They can provide needed nutrients, and they definitely make life more pleasurable. In between meals, snacks satisfy growling stomachs and help keep our sugar level steady. They’re even good for bonding moments with family and friends. The key, as always, is making smart choices.
First of all, moderation, variety, and balance are just as important for snacks and desserts as for main dishes. Incorporate items from different food groups (vitamin- and mineral-laden vegetables and fruits; protein-rich meats and dairy; carbohydrate-rich sweets, grains, and starchy foods such as pasta) and consider snacks and desserts part of your overall nutrition plan.
If it seems too agonizing to ban your favorite high-fat, high-sugar, or high-sodium foods, cut down on them and alternate with healthier items.
For example, merienda need not be soft drinks and chips all the time.
Try these instead:
- Milk or juice and oatmeal cookies
- Fruit, or veggie sticks with a low-fat dip for more minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
- Another good option is yogurt—cool, creamy, and a source of calcium and probiotics, which help maintain healthy bones and an efficient digestive system. NESTLÉ Fruit Selection Yogurt has six fruit-based variants, thereby also supplying nutrients from fruits.
By mixing options, snack time will also become an exciting adventure in tastes and textures.
Duyff, Roberta Larson. 2002. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 2nd ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.
Williams, Melvin H. 2005. Nutrition for Health, Fitness, and Sport. 7th ed. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.