For most of us, snacks often act as an extra source of calories. Portion control is the key to a healthy snack. Right-size your snacks by dividing a big bag into smaller bags or containers, buying single servings packs with 100 calories or less, and avoiding eating straight from the bag.

Healthy options for snacks for both you and your kids are fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat cheese or yogurts, low-fat microwave popcorn, or a small serving of pretzels. Smart snacks when your family is on-the-go are cut-up fruits, a small box of raisins, whole-grain cereal and crackers, low-fat granola bars, baked chips, and rice cakes.

But before you pick up a snack, ask yourself if you are really hungry - if you aren't, skip it. When you do need to eat a snack, make a smart choice.

Smart Snack Tips

  • Read nutrition labels: choose snacks with low amounts of calories, sugar, and fat
  • Avoid snacks with a lot of sugar, salt, and fat - limit cakes, cookies, ice cream, chips, french fries, and candy
  • Eat snacks at least 2 hours before meals so you still have an appetite
  • Choose fruits and vegetables that are fresh, frozen, canned, or 100% fruit juice
  • Make sure dairy products are low-fat or fat-free
  • Serve nuts in small portions, paired with another healthy snack such as fruit
  • Carry your favorite healthy snacks with you when you leave home for the day - that way you won't be tempted to buy less healthy snacks when you're out and about.

Smart Snack Tips for Kids

  • Do taste tests with your kids for trying new vegetables and fruits
  • For children 6 years old and over, serve snacks at least 2 hours before meals so they still have an appetite
  • For children between 2 and 5 years old, serve 2-3 snacks a day (about 1-2 hours before meal times)
  • Don't use food as a reward for your kids - instead, do a fun activity!

This information is provided by the Department of Public Health.