Advice from a Registered Dietitian: How to Build a Balanced Snack that Will Actually Keep You Full

By: Sarah Casciato, RD, MHSc., and Alicia Lang, MHSc(c)


So you need a snack… now what? Having snacks in between meals is a great way to reduce extreme hunger and overeating at meal times. Building a balanced, filling snack using high quality, nutritious foods can help maintain energy levels throughout the day.

How often should I have a snack?

While it is always important to listen to your body’s hunger cues, aim to have a meal or a snack every 3-4 hours to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Waiting too long in between eating can lead to extreme hunger, affecting your ability to make healthy choices and making it more difficult to stop when you are full. Eating snacks can also improve focus, provide energy, reduce brain fog, support good health, provide important nutrients, and help you feel more in-control around food. 

To get the most out of your snack, make sure it is well balanced, following the healthy snack framework. 

How do I build a balanced snack?

The basic framework for a well-balanced snack is to include a source of fibre to fill you, and a source of protein to help you power through. Both fibre and protein provide long-lasting energy to keep you satisfied until your next meal. 

Below is a list of high fibre foods. Choose 1 serving of 1-2 fibre foods to start your snack:

  • Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc.)
  • Other fruits (banana, apples, oranges, peaches, melon, etc.)
  • Non-starchy vegetables (bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, etc.)
  • Wholegrain crackers 
  • Low sugar granola bars or granola/cereal 
  • Plain popcorn

Below is a list of high protein foods. Choose 1 serving of 1-2 protein foods to pair with the fibre food you chose:

  • Low fat greek yogurt 
  • Cheese 
  • Hard boiled eggs 
  • Edamame or other beans/legumes
  • Hummus 
  • Milk 
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts and seeds 

A few ideas for well-balanced snack combinations include:

  • Low fat greek yogurt with berries and nuts
  • Sliced apple and cheese
  • Whole grain crackers, bell peppers, and hummus
  • Cucumber and hard-boiled eggs.

Bottom Line: Choosing well-balanced snacks throughout the day can help reduce extreme hunger at meal times, and help you feel more in-control around food. Aim to eat every 3-4 hours, and when building a snack, choose fibre to fill you + protein to power through.

Looking for extra support? A Registered Dietitian can help you plan well balanced meals and snacks to improve your health.

Click Here to book an appointment with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist today!


  1. Government of Canada. (2021, March 1). Canada’s Food Guide - Healthy Snacks. Retrieved from 
  2. Unlock Food. (2017, May 5). Quick and Easy Snack Ideas. Retrieved from