Snack: diet hero or villain? 

Learn how to prepare quick and healthy snacks to eat well on a daily basis

Talking about snacks, Brazilians soon rejoice. Who doesn't like a bun on the plate? a cake in the late afternoon or that well-stuffed sandwich to regain energy?

It is for these and other reasons that “snack” has a firm place on our daily menu — and in our hearts. More than just a meal, it is a moment of satisfaction or rest, or even a meeting, to chat over a cup of coffee. And, for those who have a busy routine, it can even be a meal.

In Brazil, the most loved snacks are hamburgers, sandwiches and snacks, such as coxinha and cheese bread. The burger, in fact, was the top orderer on iFood in 2022, with 123 million units sold across the country (five per second!). 

Soon after came the sandwiches, with 50 million units sold in 2022. The fillings were varied: grilled chicken, cheese with bacon and even kebab.

Speaking of snacks, the good thing is that there are options for all tastes. So let's explore this universe a little and some creative options to inspire you in your everyday life.

The pros and cons of an afternoon snack

OK, is eating a cupcake every day good for your health? It depends. According to the Harvard University School of Public Health, in the United States the most common snack options are fruit, cookies, chips, ice cream, candy, popcorn, soft drinks, cookies, cakes, milk, nuts and seeds, tea and yogurt. 

Varied, right? Therefore, according to the institution, snacks can contribute to both gaining and maintaining weight — which also depends on what we eat for the main meals.

Putting all of this into the balance, the Harvard School of Public Health blog list the pros and cons from “snack”:

Benefits of the snack

  • Provides energy between meals;
  • Helps reduce appetite to avoid overeating at the next meal;
  • Provides extra nutrients when choosing fresh fruits or nuts;


  • Weight gain if portions or frequency of snacks are excessive;
  • Reduce hunger at mealtime or make the person skip it (and lose important nutrients);
  • Regularly eating snacks that are high in salt, sugar and added fats and low in nutrients or high in calories can increase preference for these types of foods, leading to a change in eating behaviors and diet quality.

How to have a healthy snack?

The decisive factor in maintaining your weight and health is your habit: what you eat, with what intention and frequency and how the snack fits into your meal plan for the day. The ideal, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, is to limit foods that are low in nutrients and high in saturated fat, sugar and sodium.

Therefore, the United States dietary guidelines include recommendations for nutrient-dense snacks that include raw vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts and plain yogurt.

For those who want to eat a healthy snack between meals, the British Heart Foundation's recommendation is to think about something that has around 100 calories (it could be a little more if you're having an active day).

How to do this? Here they go some combinations proposed by the organization:

  • Blueberries (40g) + low-fat yogurt (125g) = 96 calories
  • Apple + peanut butter (half a tablespoon) = 86 calories
  • Toast + banana = 150 calories
  • Almonds (8 units) + apricots (3 units) = 106 calories
  • Rice crackers + cherry tomatoes (6 units) + cottage cheese (50 g) = 103 calories

British Columbia's health service brings some more ideas:

  • Fresh fruit with Greek yogurt
  • Date and chestnut-based energy bars
  • Fiber-rich cereal with chopped fruit and milk or soy drink 
  • Vegetables with hummus or yogurt-based sauce
  • Green salad with sliced strawberries and toasted almonds
  • Celery sticks or cucumber slices with tuna salad
  • Carrot sticks, whole grain crackers and cheese
  • Mini spinach and egg omelet

Quick snack tips

For those who are hungrier, a tip is to prepare your own sandwich using a variety of breads — such as pita bread, Chinese bao and wrap — with protein in the filling (such as hummus, cheese, tuna and smoked salmon).

Quiches, pastry, blender pie: all of these recipes are versatile, as they can be made with different flours and fillings and in vegetarian and vegan versions. 

Smoothies, smoothies and fruit bowls with seeds and nuts (or oat porridge when it's cold) are some super nutritious and very easy fit snacks to make at home. 

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