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The National Institutes of Health offers guidelines on making wise snack choices. Read your nutrition label if the snack is store-bought. If calories from fat make up at least half the total calories, avoid it. Also avoid foods that list sugar as one of their first few ingredients. Some other simple tips include keeping snacks at around 100 calories and choosing high-fiber, high-water snacks over high-fat or high-sugar snacks. Using these tips as a guideline, you can find find a variety of foods beginning with "D" that make excellent snack options.
Whip Up Some Dip
Dips do not have to be unhealthy, although traditionally dips were often high-fat fare such as ranch, French onion or cheese-based creations, accompanied by potato chips and bread. But dips can make a surprisingly healthy snack. For the dipping component, exchange your bread and chips for fresh vegetables or whole-grain crackers. Use low-fat salad dressings or other store-bought dips that are labeled light or low-fat. You may also choose dips that have a slightly higher calorie count but offer additional health benefits of vitamins and minerals. These include bean dips, guacamole, hummus and even peanut (or other nut) butter. The all-around winner in the dip category is salsa, as it is packed with nutrition and is low in calories.
- Dips do not have to be unhealthy, although traditionally dips were often high-fat fare such as ranch, French onion or cheese-based creations, accompanied by potato chips and bread.
Remember the Dates
Healthy Snacks vs. Unhealthy Snacks
If you haven't tried dates, you may be in for a treat. Dates are a healthy snack choice as they are a good source of protein and fiber. They also have some B-complex vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium and zinc, while containing zero fats and sodium. Dates are a high-calorie food, however, with one small date containing 20 calories. As with any snack, the key to dates remaining a healthy snack is to eat them in moderation.
- If you haven't tried dates, you may be in for a treat.
- Dates are a high-calorie food, however, with one small date containing 20 calories.
Another healthy snack is dried fruit. Raisins, apricots, cranberries and apples are examples of dried fruits that can easily be found in stores. If you choose, you could also dry your own fruit. The key to this snack, which is high in vitamins but also high in sugar, is to only consume dried fruit that has little to no sugar added. As always, consume in moderation, meaning a serving size of approximately 100 calories.
- Another healthy snack is dried fruit.
- The key to this snack, which is high in vitamins but also high in sugar, is to only consume dried fruit that has little to no sugar added.
Low Cholesterol Cookies & Snacks
Dry cereal can actually be a great snack. It can be consumed alone or with low-fat milk. The key to making this a healthy snack is to choose whole-grain cereals that are high in fiber. Because many cereals have added sugar, the Center for Science in the Public Interest suggests purchasing cereals that have 35 percent or less added sugar, which is approximately 8 grams or less of sugar per serving 1.
- Dry cereal can actually be a great snack.
- The key to making this a healthy snack is to choose whole-grain cereals that are high in fiber.
Some dairy foods have a bad name due to their high fat content. But dairy is an excellent source of calcium and other minerals. To benefit from dairy products and enjoy them as healthy snacks, choose products that are low-fat or fat-free. If you snack on sugared dairy products such as flavored yogurt, buy brands that contain 30 grams or less of sugar per 6-ounce serving. Some dairy snack options include yogurt with fruit, low-fat cheese with whole-grain crackers or nonfat milk with dry cereal.
- Some dairy foods have a bad name due to their high fat content.
- If you snack on sugared dairy products such as flavored yogurt, buy brands that contain 30 grams or less of sugar per 6-ounce serving.
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- Center for Science in the Public Interest: Healthy School Snacks
- Medline Plus: Snacks for Adults
- Photographic Dictionary: List of Foods that Start with "D"
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Dates, Deglet Noor
- Leidy HJ. Increased dietary protein as a dietary strategy to prevent and/or treat obesity. Mo Med. 2014;111(1):54-58.
- Josse AR, Atkinson SA, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Increased consumption of dairy foods and protein during diet- and exercise-induced weight loss promotes fat mass loss and lean mass gain in overweight and obese premenopausal women. J Nutr. 2011;141(9):1626-34. doi:10.3945/jn.111.141028
- Egg, yolk, raw, fresh. USDA FoodData Central . Updated 4/1/2020
- Healthy snacking. American Heart Association
- Andrea R. Josse, Stephanie A. Atkinson, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, Stuart M. Phillips. " Increased Consumption of Dairy Foods and Protein during Diet- and Exercise-Induced Weight Loss Promotes Fat Mass Loss and Lean Mass Gain in Overweight and Obese Premenopausal Women." The Journal of Nutrition July 20, 2011.
- George A. Bray, MD; Steven R. Smith, MD; Lilian de Jonge, Ph.D.; Hui Xie, Ph.D.; Jennifer Rood, Ph.D.; Corby K. Martin, Ph.D.; Marlene Most, Ph.D.; Courtney Brock, MS, RD; Susan Mancuso, BSN, RN; Leanne M. Redman, Ph.D. " Effect of Dietary Protein Content on Weight Gain, Energy Expenditure, and Body Composition During Overeating." Journal of the American Medical Association 2012;307(1):47-55.
- Lisa A Te Morenga, Megan T Levers, Sheila M Williams, Rachel C Brown and Jim Mann. " Comparison of High Protein and High Fiber Weight-loss Diets in Women with Risk Factors for the Metabolic Syndrome: a Randomized Trial." Nutrition Journal April 2011.
- Phillips SM, Zemel MB. " Effect of Protein, Dairy Components and Energy Balance in Optimizing Body Composition." PubMed.gov 2011;69:97-108.
- Russell J de Souza, George A Bray,Vincent J Carey, Kevin D Hall, Meryl S LeBoff, Catherine M Loria, Nancy M Laranjo, Frank M Sacks, Steven R Smith " Effects of 4 Weight-loss Diets Differing in Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrate on Fat Mass, Lean Mass, Visceral Adipose Tissue, and Hepatic Fat: Results From the POUNDS LOST Trial." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition January 18, 2012.
Ellen Topness has been a counselor in the mental health field for more than 25 years. She has a Master of Arts in counseling. Throughout her career, Topness has enjoyed writing articles, poems and vignettes for pleasure. She also released a new ebook, "A Natural Disaster: Learning to Survive Myself."