Snacking has the reputation of being late-night vice but it is actually an important part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, since snacking usually consists of mindlessly munching something we grabbed from the vending machine or pantry, it gets a bad rap. But it's actually a healthy habit if done right. Let’s look into some common misconceptions: 1: Snacking hinders dieting efforts Properly planned snacking can actually help with weight management efforts.Having a snack will help keep you satisfied between meals so that you don’t overeat at lunch or dinner. 2: Snack foods aren’t healthy foods While there are many grab-and-go munchie foods that aren’t so good for you, snacks can actually help fill in nutrient gaps and lead to a healthier overall eating plan. Think protein plus produce! And know that snacks don’t have to be typical ‘snack’ foods. 3: Snacking ruins your appetite Going overboard on snack-time calories isn’t a good thing. But there is a just-right amount! Typically snacks that provide 150 to 250 calories are recommended, aiming for the higher range if you have a higher activity level or greater energy needs. Snacking on healthful choices that provide a mix of good carbs, healthy fats and protein can help keep your body and mind energized and digestive system working smoothly. This can lead to being more productive. Formula for a perfect snack: Calorie Range = 150 to 250 calories (varies based on activity level) Mix of good carbs, healthy fats and protein Easiest approach: protein + produce Protein + fiber = satiety (at least 5g protein & 3g fiber) Low in added sugars (ideally 5g or less) No artificial ingredients Easy to assemble Since we know the perfect formula let’s continue with the perfect time to snack. Keep in mind the snacking ‘golden rule: Don’t go more than 5 waking hours without something to eat and try to mix things up on occasion. But what’s more important is that you’re filling in nutrient gaps at snack-time with something that’s both healthful and enjoyable, even if it’s not always that creative!