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Smart Snacking: Bridging Nutritional Gaps in Intake

From the desk of Dr Nancy Collins,PhD, RDN, LD, NWCC, FAND

When you are evaluating your patient’s nutritional intake, remember to not only ask about meals but snacks as well. Encouraging snacks throughout the day is a good way to sneak in extra calories and protein particularly for people who may have lost their appetite or feel fatigued. Patients with wounds often have increased caloric and protein needs and may have difficulty in meeting those needs without incorporating snacks into their daily routine.

Essentially snacks are just small meals; patients should aim for snacks that are between 150 – 300 calories and provide additional calories and protein. The key to snacking is having items ready without much preparation or effort. This is where medical nutrition supplements can play a role. These products are available in a variety of forms including liquids, gelatins, and powders. They also come in a wide array of flavors to meet individual preferences.

Medtrition offers something to meet everyone’s special needs. For wound healing, Expedite provides targeted ingredients including the collagen peptides Prolyl-Hydroxyproline (PO) and Hydroxyprolyl Glycine (OG) in either a 2-oz liquid or a 2-oz gelled cup. Gelatein protein supplements are 4-oz gelled cups and are easily served between meals as a tasty dessert. ProSource liquid protein supplements are another option to help patients meet protein needs in a small 1-oz serving especially good for patients with small appetites or volume concerns.
Alternating medical nutritional supplements with food snacks can help patients stick with their plan. For example, a patient may enjoy an Expedite Cup served between breakfast and lunch and then a food snack in the late afternoon. Some easy food snack ideas that provide calories and protein are listed below.

• 1 hard-boiled egg and five whole-grain crackers
• 1 Tbsp hummus and one small pita pocket with vegetables
• 1 slice of turkey, one slice of cheese, and one slice of bread with one-piece fresh fruit
• ½ cup (C) low-fat cottage cheese, ½ C pineapple, and 1 Tbsp almonds
• One half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and one-piece fresh fruit
• 6 oz Greek-style yogurt with ¼ C granola
• 2 cups green salad with ¼ C beans and 1 Tbsp salad dressing
• 2 graham crackers with 1 Tbsp hazelnut spread and one small banana
• ¾ C high-fiber cereal, with 6 oz skim milk and berries
• 12-oz yogurt and fruit smoothie
• 20 almonds and one piece of fresh fruit
• 1 slice whole-grain bread, one slice cheese, tomato, and mustard

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