Using MyPlate as a Guide for Healthy Snacks

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Even on the best days we can come up short in fruits, veggies, whole grains, fiber and even calories. Fill in those nutrition gaps with snacks inspired by MyPlate. Here’s how!

Choose myplate for kids

Protein:

Make more protein than what is needed the next time you are prepping for dinner. Something as simple as chunks of chicken, meatballs and fish pieces, speared with a toothpick can be a great afternoon snack. It will boost nutrients like potassium, niacin and riboflavin on days you haven’t gotten enough.

Dietitian tip: Did you know that protein is a thermic food? This simply means it has the potential to boost your daily calorie burn. How’s that for the perfect snack? (for my full list of protein foods, check out this post)

Grains:

Whether it’s a small bowl of oats or a homemade oatmeal-raisin cookie, having small portions of grains as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up will keep mom or dad running through the rest of the day and the kids fueled for their after school sporting event.

Adding in some grains as a snack will also ensure you’re getting ample fiber, B-vitamins and minerals, such as iron and magnesium. So be sure to add grains for a snack if you are looking for nutrient dense calories. (printable list of whole grains)

Fruits:

We aren’t talking juices here, so let’s stick to whole fruits like a banana, apple or berries. Fruits are always the perfect “fast food” to take with you on the go. Fruits are a great snack to also keep up your hydration level.

Did you know that watermelon is 92% water and even a strawberry is 91%? Yes! So fill those nutrition gaps with fruit and fuel up with more than just nutrition bonuses. Speaking of nutrition, by grabbing fruits as a snack you are filling up with nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate. (Printable fruit list here!)

Vegetables:

It’s not just a salad that fits this portion of MyPlate. We can also fill it with Brussel sprout and kale chips (homemade of course!), colorful bell pepper slices, asparagus tips and cucumber spears. These fun ways of serving up veggies will fuel your little ones with fiber and lots of vitamin A. Vitamin A is a fat soluble nutrient needed for immune function and healthy eyes. Not something a child (or anyone!) should miss out on.

Keep easy to grab and prepared veggies on hand for snacking throughout the day. (list of veggies here)

Dairy:

Yes, dairy is indeed part of MyPlate and it’s an essential part of a healthy diet for everyone. Adding in dairy as a snack will boost your intake of calcium, protein and vitamin D. These nutrients are also found in dairy alternatives like almond milk and soy yogurt. Looking at labels will let you know which of these nutrients are in a product you are choosing so be sure to grab a variety for the week ahead.

In our current fast-paced world, it isn’t always easy to get proper nutrients needed on a daily basis. By using the MyPlate method in choosing the best snacks, you will fill those nutritional gaps and easily form healthy habits for yourself and your family. 

using myplate for healthy snacking square

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