Woman eating salad

SNACKING SECRETS

By the ShopRite Health and Wellness team

Love to snack? You’re not alone. Statistics show that half of all consumers say they can’t make it through the day without a snack, and some Generation Z and Millennial shoppers admit to snacking up to six times a day.

But here’s the good news: Snacking isn’t necessary a bad thing – in fact, it can be good for you. Below, ShopRite dietitians Shelbi Thurau, RD, and Stephanie Perez, RD, present their best ideas and inspirations for enjoying healthy and delicious snacks all summer long in celebration of the kick-off of our newest Well Everyday campaign, “Real. Smart. Snacks.”

Is Snacking Good For You?

Yes, as long as you’re smart about your snacks. Snacks should be considered a way to diminish hunger between meals, not as meals themselves. Selecting options that help you enjoy the recommended amounts of nutrients is a great way to be smart about snacking. For example, you could have a serving of crackers with two tablespoons of peanut butter to use as a snack between breakfast and lunch. Selecting items that are better for you will give you the energy you need to power your day between meals.

Is it good to encourage snacking habits at any age?

There is nothing wrong with introducing the concept of snacking to children. That being said, there are a few things you can do to make sure they see snacking in the best way. One, do not use snacks as a reward for good behavior. Snacking should be something that is a normal part of a child’s life. When it starts to get associated with behavior, it can be confusing to how a child views food. Making snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables accessible at all times as a snack is a great way to encourage consumption of the foods that give people the most nutritional bang for their buck. When it is time to indulge, be mindful of portions. If your child gets used to what a serving size looks like early on, it will be a great habit they carry with them throughout their lives.

Is summer snacking different from winter snacking?

If you have a favorite snack that nourishes you and makes you feel good, then you should enjoy it year-round. That being said, purchasing foods seasonally is a great way to shop on a budget and enjoy foods at their peak of flavor.

What kinds of snacks are best for the summer?

The hot weather lends itself to craving foods that hydrate and keep you cool. This makes it a great time to enjoy fresh fruit. You can also enjoy frozen fruits and vegetables for an icy treat between the beach and barbecues. If you’re looking to incorporate your favorite summertime fruits and veggies all year long, consider buying frozen items, as they’re packed when they’re perfectly ripe and will stay full of nutrients until you decide to consume them.

What are some great snacks you recommend to customers?

Snacks that are high in protein, contain whole grains, or incorporate dairy, fruits, or vegetables are all a good way to start snacking. Consider grab-and-go options such as low-sodium jerky or a handful of unsalted nuts. Greek yogurt eaten by itself or sprinkled with cinnamon is perfect when used as a dip for fruits, plus it’s a great way to add extra calcium into your day. Mini peppers partnered with hummus or guacamole are great for kids that love to dip their foods. Just remember that whatever you decide to snack on, make sure you’re sticking to portions.

Is it ever too late to instill good snacking habits?

It’s never too late to start new habits, and that’s also true about incorporating smart snacks into your day. Learn how to determine portion sizes, how to read labels, and what snacks pair well with each other. If you aren’t sure, here at ShopRite we have a team of dietitians that can help you learn these skills and more.

For more tips on summer snacking, visit the office of your local dietitian. To find a dietitian near you, go to shoprite.com.