Beth Olson, UW-Extension Professor
Department of Nutritional Sciences
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Total time – 2:53
0:11 – Can snacks fit into a healthy diet
0:27 – What are good, healthy snacks
1:20 – Foods we don’t think of as snacks
2:13 – What’s important when choosing a snack
2:43 – Lead out
Lorre Kolb: Snacks that are good for you. We’re visiting today with Beth Olson, Associate Professor and Extension specialist at UW-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Lorre Kolb. Beth, can snacks really fit into a healthy diet?
Beth Olson: Yes. A lot of people think of snacks as treats and they can be treats, but those treats can also be healthy treats. They can help in our diet by helping us get some foods or some nutrients that we’re lacking.
Lorre Kolb: What types of food make good, healthy snacks?
Beth Olson: Well an excellent choice is always fruits and vegetables. Hardly anybody gets enough fruits and vegetables in their diet, so that’s generally a very healthy, often tasty and convenient way to get foods in that we’re missing, as well as nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are high in some nutrients that we’re often lacking in our diets, like dietary fiber and sometimes people don’t get enough vitamin A or vitamin C and they can get that from fruits and vegetables. Some good examples of fruits and vegetables that would be handy are things that you can hold in your hand and snack on. Things like apples or peaches or grapes, or one can do a little bit of preparation and take your snack along with you say to work or to school and have things like baby carrots or red pepper slices or snap peas or other tasty fruits and vegetables.
Lorre Kolb: So what are some types of foods that people generally wouldn’t think of as snacks, but can make a nutritious snack?
Beth Olson: I think there are some protein containing foods that people sometimes don’t think about. Things like hummus or bean dip, you can combine those with something like a vegetable or baby carrots or snap peas to use the hummus or bean dip as a dip. Sometimes people don’t think of yogurt as a snack, they think of it as a breakfast food. But one can take yogurt in a container just about anywhere. You can add a little fruit on top of the yogurt or some nuts which are high in protein and have another nice snack. Another food sometimes people don’t think of as a snack is popcorn and it is National Popcorn Month. So as long as you don’t load the popcorn up with too much butter and salt, one can consider other little spices to sprinkle over the top or just a little bit of grated parmesan cheese, or just have it plain it’s a wonderful whole grain snack high in fiber.
Lorre Kolb: What’s important to consider when choosing a snack?
Beth Olson: It’s important to consider where you’re going to be consuming that snack. If you’re going to be taking it to work or to school and it needs refrigeration, you need to think about that. If you’re going to be say in the car, you might want to think about something you could put in a cooler in your back seat or something that doesn’t need refrigeration. One also wants to make careful your snack isn’t too big. If you’re eating your three good meals a day, you don’t want to add another meal as a snack. You want it to be a smaller amount of calories and a smaller amount of food for your snack.
Lorre Kolb: We’ve been visiting today with Beth Olson, Associate Professor and Extension specialist at UW-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Lorre Kolb.