Weighing In: Smart Snacking

Each week, our own fitness fanatics Sabrina Evans and Emily Keifline will explore the latest workout crazes, diet fads and dish out tips for healthy living. Managing your schoolwork is tough enough- let us take care of your health.


Fall semester has officially begun, and so has the endless studying and snacking. While chowing down on Wings Over every night is tempting, it’s important to eat healthy to keep yourself energized and your mind sharp. But fear not, this doesn’t mean you have to snack on lettuce 24/7. Making small substitutions can make a huge difference in your health.

Stacy Jones, registered dietician and community health educator here at Penn State recommends making healthier substitutions while cooking or baking. Some of her favorites swaps are greek yogurt instead of mayo when making things such as tuna salad and dips, and apple sauce for oil when making cakes and cookies. These easy subs will still taste great in recipes but will decrease the overall calories and increase the nutritional value of your meals.

Swapping ingredients in recipes is great, but what happens when you have those late night cravings? Put down the Ben and Jerry’s, we’ve got you covered.

Popcorn instead of chips

While a one ounce serving of potato chips packs 160 calories and 10 grams of fat, air-popped popcorn weighs in at just 30 calories per cup with less than one gram of fat, meaning that you can eat over five cups of popcorn for every serving of potato chips. Skip the butter and opt for calorie-free popcorn seasoning and you’ve got a salty, crunchy snack that is way more satisfying than a handful of chips.

Bananas instead of ice cream

Think it sounds too good to be true? Think again. Cut up a banana or two into coins and put them in the freezer for a few hours. Then, throw them in a blender with your choice of mix-ins: berries, peanut butter or anything your heart desires. Once blended, the texture is exactly like soft serve. With way less calories and more nutrients than ice cream, you can enjoy this cold treat completely guilt-free.

Sweet potatoes instead of French fries

While french fries are delicious, they are loaded with fat, oil and calories. For a more health-conscious alternative, try making your own sweet potato fries. Cut up a raw sweet potato, toss it in some olive oil, throw some salt or cinnamon on top and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 450 degrees. You can even make these sweet or salty to satisfy any craving!

Photo by Skylar

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