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Healthy Eating Jump-Start Day 17: Eat an afternoon snack

Robert Gubbins/iStockphoto

Have you made a resolution to eat better and lose weight? Follow our month-long program of daily nutrition tips, created by dietitian Leslie Beck to change your lifestyle for January - and beyond. And to get your fitness on track, try our personal trainer-designed Boot Camp 2012 program .

DAY 17: Eat an afternoon snack

If you arrive home from work, hungry and ready to eat everything in sight, this tip will help prevent overeating at the end of the day. But that's not all.

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Eating every three to four hours also helps keep your blood glucose (energy) level stable and fuels mid day workouts. Snacks also provide an opportunity to boost your intake of important nutrients such as protein, fibre and calcium.

Snacks should include carbohydrate to fuel your muscles and your brain, along with protein and a little fat to slow digestion and keep you feeling energized longer.

Healthy snack ideas include:

  • fruit and nuts (a small handful)
  • yogurt and a medium-sized fruit or berries
  • a homemade fruit smoothie made with milk or soy milk
  • one cup of bean or lentil soup
  • half of a small pita with tuna, raw vegetables and hummus
  • whole-grain crackers and part skim cheese
  • half a cup of bran cereal with yogurt.

If you like the convenience of energy bars, choose a bars made with whole food ingredients such as fruit and nuts.

And if the lag time between breakfast and lunch is long, include a midmorning snack too.

Want more information related to today's tip? Read on:

Considering a mid-morning snack? Read this first

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Midafternoon slump? Sugar isn't the answer

Got a snacking problem? Try protein

Missed earlier days? It's easy to get caught up.

DAY 16: Track your calories

DAY 15: Ban sugary drinks

DAY 14: Eat an orange vegetable

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DAY 13: Add ground flaxseed to your diet

DAY 12: Eat one vegetarian meal

DAY 11: Pass on the salt

DAY 10: Plan next week's meals in advance

DAY 9: Eat a leafy green vegetable

DAY 8: Drink a cup of green tea

DAY 7: Snack on fruit

DAY 6: Use a smaller plate

DAY 5: Eat more veggies

DAY 4: Practise eating slowly

DAY 3: Boost fibre at breakfast

DAY 2: Drink a large glass of water before each meal

DAY 1: Keep a food diary for the next seven days

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