by Kim Beavers, MS, RD, LD, CDE

We are a snacking nation. This can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. If you are a soda or snack-food company, it is good. If you are a parent, it can present nutritional challenges. When you hear the word “snack,” what do you think of? Do you think of chips, cookies and sweet drinks or do you think of apples, almonds and avocados? If you think of snacks as more of the junk type foods – you are not alone. Junk foods and candy bars (think Snickers) are marked as snacks and even come in “snack-size” packages. As parents, it is our job to market healthier foods as snacks. The purpose of snacks is to hold us over from one meal to another which is particularly useful for children with smaller stomachs or for teens with busy schedules. Snacks should also provide much needed nutrients. The simplest way to verify that you are presenting a nutrient rich snack is to make sure it includes two to three of the five food groups (grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein).

There are several multi-food prepackaged “snack packs” available in the grocery stores, making convenience and health easier than ever. However, it is still important to have a discerning eye as many of these “snack packs” and trays include high fat meat, cheese and chocolate.  The best of the bunch are those that feature fruits and veggies. Typically they are the snack trays found in the produce section of the grocery store such as Fresh Selections® “ fruit tray with carrots” or Taylor Farms® “healthy harvest.”

Additional healthy prepackaged snack options include:

• unsweetened applesauce

• squeeze yogurts (look for the lowest sugar—Chobani® and Siggi’s® are good options)

• trail mix (look for those without chocolate—you can add a bit of your own if needed)

• Kind® bars (they have low sugar varieties now),

• almond or other nut packs

• individual reduced fat cheese

• guacamole and salsa packs

• edamame (found in the freezer section)

• popcorn

• hummus

• good ole fruit and veggies are prefect for snacking as well

• smaller portions of meals also make great snacks (less portable of course but good snacks just the same).


Chicken Quesadillas with Apple

This is a yummy meal or a snack for just about any palate. Any apple will work, but tart apples (the green ones!) are my favorite in this recipe.  

Vegetable oil cooking spray

1 cup summer squash, diced

½ cup onion, chopped

4 whole wheat tortillas (8”)

1 cup low fat Cheddar cheese; divided, shredded

1 cup chicken breast, cooked and diced

1 medium apple; chopped, divided

1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

4 tablespoon reduced fat sour cream

Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and sauté squash and onion over medium heat until tender (3-4 minutes).  Once done, remove from pan and set aside. Re-coat the pan with cooking spray and add one tortilla (leave half of the tortilla up the side of the pan — once you layer ingredients you will fold over the top half). Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese on tortilla, then top with ¼ cup chicken, ¼ of the apple (about ¼ cup), ¼  teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ of the squash and onion mixture (about 1/3 cup).  Fold the top of the tortilla over the filling and flip over to brown the other side. Once the second side of the tortilla is golden brown remove it from the pan and keep warm in the oven.  Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients.  To serve: cut each tortilla in half and top with one tablespoon of sour cream.

Yield:  4 servings

Nutrient Breakdown:  Calories 280, Fat 9g (5g sat. fat), Cholesterol 60 mg, Sodium 440mg, Carbohydrate 37g, Fiber 4g, Protein 22g

Kim Beavers is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for University Health Care System. She lives in North Augusta with her husband and two children and she is the co-host of the culinary nutrition segment Eating Well with Kim, which airs at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday on WRDW. To be notified of new recipes join Kim’s facebook fan page at To search for specific recipes go to You can also watch the segments at


This article appears in the September 2017 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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