Julie Whittington, RD

Healthy tips from a Registered Dietitian

Afternoon snacks – A way to satisfy hunger between meals

The time between school and dinner or between work and dinner can be a difficult time for many of us.  Hunger has set in and dinner may not be ready for a couple hours.  What to do?  There is the choice to have a satisfying snack, go hungry and distracted until dinner in a few hours or graze on whatever you may find in the pantry or fridge.  Of those three options, you can guess which one is the healthiest.


Having a well-balanced and satisfying snack around 3-4pm will help satisfy you until dinner and prevent overeating at or after dinner, too.  For most of us, we’d like a simple, easy to prepare snack on most days. 


Here are some tips to help you plan and prepare your kids’ snacks or yours.  The blend of carbohydrate, protein and fat at meals and snacks affects how well your hunger will be met.  Portion size depends on your own personal meal plan.  If you are unsure of yours or your child’s portion size needs for healthy weight management, make an appointment with a registered dietitian.  Encourage yourself or your family to have a planned snack, rather than grazing through the kitchen and never getting fully satisfied.  High sugar items such as candies and sodas are not as nutritious as whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and milk products.  And, those high sugar items are usually just empty calories that will not manage hunger well.  Instead, consider some of the following:


Kraft Easy Mac individual microwave packets

Kraft Easy Mac cups

Microwave bowl of soup (i.e. Campbell’s Soup at Hand or Progresso)

Pack of cheese crackers

Pack of peanut butter crackers

An apple, pear or orange (possibly with a small handful of nuts)

A yogurt cup

A juice box and whole wheat crackers such as Triscuits

A box of raisins and a handful of peanuts

A small bowl of cereal with milk

A whole grain granola bar

An applesauce cup and graham crackers or teddy grahams

A mini bagel with cream cheese

A piece of string cheese and some baby carrots

Baby carrots and 1-2 tbsp hummus or other dip

A cup of milk and goldfish crackers

1-2 handfuls of trail mix or granola

Oatmeal made with milk or water

A small can of tuna with some crackers


Or, here is a quick recipe the whole family may enjoy, from Kraft Foods.  Serve with raw veggies or whole grain crackers:

Creamy Mediterranean Dip (mix all ingredients until well blended)

1-1/2 cups BREAKSTONE’S or KNUDSEN Cottage Cheese

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained

1/3 cup KRAFT Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing





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