Snacking on the right foods can help keep your body and brain well-fuelled during a busy day. You can prevent a mid-day energy crisis or a loss of concentration during that late-night study session by including a power-providing snack to keep you focused. Sugary or starchy foods, like cookies, crackers or candies will give you an immediate energy boost but can leave you feeling drowsy and sluggish after an hour or two.
Instead, choose fibre-rich grains, fruits, and vegetables for longer-lasting fuel. Combining these foods with a small amount of protein, which is found in lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, milk, yogurt, or cheese, will help to give you that energized feeling that comes with more stable blood sugar levels.
Serving sizes of many convenience foods are out of line with what we really need. For example, a large, bakery-style muffin may contain as many as 400 or 500 calories. Share it, save half for later or pack your own snack. Consider packing your snacks from home to resist the temptation to splurge on something unhealthy. Here are some ideas for snacks you can bring from home:
- Fresh fruit
- Veggies and low-fat dip
- Light popcorn
- Frozen or canned fruit
- Peanut butter and whole grain crackers
- Low sugar cereals
- Trail mix with an orange
- Baby carrot and hummus
- Sliced apple with almond butter
- Cottage cheese with fresh fruit
- Instant oatmeal with milk and raisins
- Yogurt with berries and granola
- Whole grain crackers and tuna
- Banana and peanut butter in whole wheat tortilla
- Tortilla chips, salsa, and low fat shredded cheese
- Whole grain cereal bar and a cheese stick
If you’re up late studying and feel tired and hungry, a nutritious energy-containing snack can be just what you need to perk you up. Be careful, though, late nights are a tempting time to indulge in cravings for salty, sugar or high fat treats that contain few nutrients. Better choices provide lasting brain fuel, like an apple with whole wheat toast and peanut butter or carrot sticks and whole grain crackers with hummus.
Smart snacks contribute to good health by increasing variety and essential nutrients that can be hard for on-the-go students to get in just three meals. Choosing most of your snacks from Canada’s Food Guide can help you look good, feel great and stay healthy. Save less nutritious choices that are high in calories, sugar and/or fat, like chips, pastries, and chocolate bars, for occasional treats.
For more information about snacking and nutrition, see our Nutrition Services section.