Americans snack more than ever, and based on a 2014 Nielsen report, chips, chocolate and cheese are our snacking favorites. For the frequent snackers among us, these may not be the best choices to support and promote good health. Because between-meal snacking has become so prevalent (and snacks frequently replace meals), they can either make or break the quality of our diet. So, make the most of your snack choices to boost fiber, nutrient density, health-promoting capacity, and performance.
With the average American consuming just 16 grams of fiber per day, there is much room for improvement. Snacks provide a worthwhile opportunity to make progress toward the recommended 25 – 30 grams each day. Snacks, in and of themselves, can easily contribute upwards of 20 grams of fiber in a day.
The best snacks for fiber
Mid-morning and mid-day snacks are an excellent way to give yourself a fiber boost. Chips, chocolate, and cheese won’t cut it. The less processed the better. Fruits and vegetables are an excellent place to start. If something sweet is your snack craving, a serving or piece of fruit will get you an easy 3 – 5 grams of fiber. Pair that with a handful of nuts and you get about four more grams. A snack of this fiber proportion will easily keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal. There are many more choices too. Try some of these fiber-boosting snack combinations.
Fiber Boosting Snacks
- Whole grain crackers and cheese – 3 – 4 grams
- Fresh apple and ¼ cup almonds – 6 grams
- Granola bar and medium pear – 7 grams of fiber
- One cup roasted garbanzo beans – 8 grams of fiber
- Baked tortilla chips with ½ cup black beans and salsa – 9 grams
- NuGo Fiber D’Lish bar – 12 grams of fiber
It’s true that busy lifestyles can create challenges to getting the fiber we need. At the same time, on-the-go snacks with fiber can provide delicious and inexpensive ways to boost daily fiber intake – fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers, popcorn are all easy ways around this.
Snacks have the potential to make or break diet quality. They can boost fiber, nutrient density, health-promoting capacity and performance, or boost fat, sodium and sugar. What kind of snacks do you choose?
Anne Marie Kuchera, MS, MA, RD, LPC is a registered dietitian, and both a licensed nutritionist and licensed professional counselor. She manages community-based obesity prevention and preventive health and wellness initiatives through Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.