Sensible Snacks Back »

Written by Misty Hildenbrand under the direction and review of Ann Schwader.

What is a Sensible Snack?

Snacks are a great way to add more healthy foods into each day. Most people fall short on eating enough fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains. Snack time is an opportunity to boost your intake of these food groups. A sensible snack should be low in added sugar and low in fat. Focus on snacks that provide both protein and fiber that will help you feel fuller for longer.

Sensible snacks for children also includes fruits, vegetables, dairy, and whole grains. Give your child some freedom in their snacks by offering a few healthy choices and allowing them to choose. If making a snack at home, have your child help in the kitchen to prepare the snack.

How Often to Snack?

Snacking is a great way to stay energized all day long. Most people tend to snack every 4 hours in order to keep energy levels stable. If the next meal is less than 2 hours away, try to choose a snack between 50-100 calories. If the next meal is more than 2 hours away, enjoy a few more calories, but not too many more.

Snack time may be especially important for growing kids to supply them with the extra calories and healthy foods they need. Kids do better when offered small frequent meals as opposed to only a few large meals. Offer children a mid-morning snack, between breakfast and lunch, and an afternoon snack, between lunch and dinner.

Easy Ways to Enjoy a Sensible Snack

  • Eat when you are hungry. Listen to your body, and snack when needed. Try to avoid snacking out of boredom, stress, or because it is a certain time of day.
  • Plan ahead by chopping fruits and vegetables before they are needed.
  • Portion snacks into grab-and-go containers for easy access. Use plastic bags or plastic containers to make snacking easy.
  • Control portion sizes. Choose single-serving snacks or use a small plate or bowl. Try to avoid eating directly from a large bag.
  • Keep healthy, ready-to-eat snacks on hand. Store healthy snacks in your desk, purse, or in a cooler in the car.
  • Focus on lower-calorie, unprocessed foods. Fruits and vegetables make great snacks.
  • Switch to whole grain products. Add more whole grains to your day by switching to whole grain crackers and bread.
  • Combine foods to feel fuller for longer. For example, carrot sticks with hummus or an apple with one tablespoon peanut butter.
  • Create your own snack. Build your own trail mix by combining your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
  • Focus on drinks low in sugar. Snack time is a great time to drink water and meet your fluid needs.

The following healthy snack recipes are easy to serve anytime.

Cranberry Granola Bars
Courtesy: North Dakota State University Extension


  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1-1/2 cups oatmeal oats, quick (uncooked)
  • 1-1/4 cups toasted rice cereal
  • 1-1/4 cups dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine honey, brown sugar and oil in a small saucepan.
  3. Heat over low heat until well mixed.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix oats, rice cereal and cranberries.

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 128, Fat: 1g, Carbohydrate: 27g, Sodium: 20mg. Serving Size: 2x2 inch square. Serves 16.

Peachy Pops
Courtesy: North Dakota State University Extension


  • 2 peaches
  • 2/3 cup yogurt, low-fat vanilla
  • 2 cup orange juice


  1. Peel the peaches and chop. Spoon the peaches into each of six paper cups.
  2. Place yogurt in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, slowly pour and stir the orange juice into the yogurt, mix well.
  4. Pour some of the juice and yogurt into each cup to cover the peaches.
  5. Place a spoon in the center of each cup.
  6. Cut six squares of aluminum foil big enough to cover the tops of cups.
  7. Stab a plastic spoon handle through each piece of foil.
  8. The foil will hold the spoon in the center of the cup.
  9. Place cups in the freezer for at least four hours.
  10. Just before serving, peel the paper cups away from the pops to eat.

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 90, Fat: 0g, Carbohydrate: 20g, Fiber: 1g. Serves 6.

More Ideas

For additional information about healthy snacks, check out Michigan State University Extension’s Healthy Snacks Grow Healthy Kids. Are you looking for quick, easy, and delicious snack recipes? See North Dakota State University Extension’s Snack recipes.


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