Member-owners and members of the public gathered at the EA Co-op Mini-Market on Tuesday, March 18th for a discussion of the science behind snacking and nutritious snack ideas.  Participants also made and enjoyed a couple of healthy snacks. You can find recipes at the end of this article. 

Americans are snacking more now than in the recent past and that munching is adding to our overall calorie, unhealthy fat, sodium and added sugars intake.  However, snacking on healthy foods can add important fiber, vitamins and minerals to our diet.  If you like snacking, try to fit the calories into your daily meal plan and make sure that they mainly come from foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts/seeds.  Keep these main points in mind when you snack:  portion size, mindfulness, make it easy and nutritional content.  

Portion size:  Use Nutrition Facts labels to become aware of portion size and the nutrition that comes along with that (calories, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fiber, fat, etc.).  
Mindfulness:  Decide first if you are truly hungry or is that a mask for other feelings of boredom, stress, or thirst.  Slow down and savor the food to enjoy all its flavors and aromas as well as allow your body to absorb the food to signal to your brain you are satisfied.  Try not to eat while distracted (TV watching, talking on phone, using computer devices).
Make it easy:  Create a “snack choice” list that has calorie content on it and post it in an obvious place, this will make choosing healthy snacks easier when your hunger level is high.  Don’t tempt yourself by keeping unhealthy snacks like chips and cookies in the house.  Eat those while out of the house on special occasions.  Use portion controlled food (ex. yogurt cup) or make your own to save on money and wasteful packaging.
Nutritional content:  Try to include a source of protein in your snacks to help increase satiety (good sources of protein include nuts, beans, seeds, and animal products like meat, egg, milk, yogurt and cheese).  Aim for snacks that include food from more than 1 food group (ex. cereal and milk, apple and peanut butter, cheese and vegetables) to increase the variety of nutrients obtained.
The “Healthy Snacking” class was presented by member-owner/volunteers Theresa Bindig, MS, RD, CDN. and Betsey Dechert-Boss, MS, RN, CFNP, CDE. 

Recipe Suggestions From the Class


julia-child-white-bean-spread-2a-1-of-1White Bean Dip
2 – 14 oz. cans white beans, rinsed, drained
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves


Directions: Blend or process beans, garlic, lemon juice and oil until almost smooth.  Sprinkle dip with basil.

Nutritional Information (Nutritional information is based on 1 tablespoon)
Calories 33
Total fat 3.1 g
Sat fat 0.4 g
Chol. 0
Sodium 0
Total Carb 0.6 g
Fiber 0.9 g
Sugar 0
Protein 0.5 g


popcornPower” Popcorn
2T olive oil
2T nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp of cumin
pinch cayenne
1 tsp kosher salt

Coat 2 quarts popcorn with the olive oil. Combine spices and sprinkle on popcorn. Approx. 60 calories/cup


Chili” Popcorn
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup chili seasoning

Coat 2 quarts popcorn with the olive oil and sprinkle chili seasoning. Approx. 70 calories/cup


Cool Ranch” Popcorn
2 T olive oil
2 T powdered buttermilk
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp dill
1 tsp kosher salt

Coat 2 quarts popcorn with the olive oil. Combine spices and sprinkle on popcorn.Approx. 60 calories/cup