Snacking Smarter On the Go

Blues Perspectives

| 4 min read

On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by Shanthi Appelö, registered dietitian for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Together, they discuss ways to snack smarter on the go, including:
  • What to consider when choosing snacks
  • Common mistakes when snacking and how to avoid them
  • Tips for navigating portion sizes
  • Effective strategies for navigating smarter snacking habits
According to the CDC, 37% of adults consume fast food on a given day. Fast food snacking and other fast food can impact blood sugar, blood pressure, our overall health, at least in the short term. And additionally, diets rich in fast food can lead to many long-term issues for the body, including digestion, inflammation, heart health, and more.

Reasons people snack

According to Appelö, many times people snack because they:
  • are bored
  • want something that tastes good
  • are distracted
  • are sitting at a desk, typing, or working
  • are using food as a distraction
  • are hungry
  • have food insecurity or don’t know where the next meal will come from

Reasons snacking can be good

A good reason to snack is to fill out your fuel for the next meal, according to Appelö. Snacks can be used to give us more energy throughout the day, or as something to hold you over. It can also be something that prevents you from overeating during your meal. If you wait too long between eating, you run the risk of overeating or eating so fast that you're not really recognizing how much. 
You can also use snacks to supplement your meals.“I think it's a great way to fit in all the nutrients that you kind of didn't get into your meals,” Appelö said.

Finding healthy snacks can be challenging

Finding healthy snacks and portions while on the go can be challenging, so it’s important to think ahead and plan for nutritious snacks on the go. So many of the fast food and snack options available and marketed to us are not healthy choices, even if they may seem or be portrayed as healthy.
“It's hard to find a granola bar, a protein bar, anything like it that doesn't have a candy's worth of sugar,” Appelö said.“I think, too, it's important to note that our country spends about $14 billion a year on advertising for food, and 80% of those are going to promote the fast food, the sugary drinks, the candy and the snacks that we're talking about that aren't so healthy.” 

Easy healthy snacks for on the go

Appelö gave some examples of healthy snack favorites that are great for on the go and are kept to around 150 to 250 calories.

Open-faced sandwiches

Open-faced sandwiches I love because you can make them so versatile,” Shanthi said. “You can have one wholewheat piece of toast - they range from 70 to a hundred calories - where you're packing in a lot of fiber. And then so many opportunities for protein on top.” Examples of proteins include hummus, sliced egg, and many different options for vegetables.


Leftovers don’t have to be lunch. Leftovers are great when you just need something to hold you over until the next meal, or to give you some energy. This can be a great way to include tasty veggies or proteins in a snack between meals.

Apple slices with nut butter

There are so many different nut butters available now. Many people prefer peanut butter, but in the almond and cashew butters you can find some with added flax seeds to add a little bit more fiber, and there are flavor options like vanilla that do not have added sugars.


Kefir is a drink that is rich in probiotics and has some protein. Oftentimes kefir has fruit blended into it which can make it tastier and more refreshing.


“Another thing I love to bring up is popcorn,” Appelö said. “Of course, light popped. You want to stick to popcorns that have about 35 calories per cup, so you can have a few cups if you like for a healthy snack."
On, there are some great fun recipes of some DIY popcorn flavor mixes.

Related Links:

Listen to the podcast, How to Snack Smarter On the Go, to hear the entire conversation. A Healthier Michigan Podcast is brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
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MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association