Healthy Snacksfor Dieters
10 can't-go-wrong munchies that willsatisfy your craving and help you lose pounds
Want to stickto your diet? Start snacking. It helps control hunger and rein in portion sizesat meals. And don't worry, it's supposed to feel indulgent. If a snack isn'tsatisfying, you'll go in search of something that is.
For helpchoosing smart snack options at the grocery store, we turned to Tara Gidus,R.D., of the American Dietetic Association. "A snack should fill you up,be reasonably nutritious, and be in the 100- to 200-calorie range," Gidussays
Kashi ChewyGranola Bars
These are thechewiest bars going (don't confuse them with other types of Kashi bars — lookfor "chewy" on the label). They have 130 to 140 calories each, 4grams of fiber, 5 g of protein, and they're made with real nuts and wholegrains. And they actually taste good.
"You've got chewy, you've got sweet, and you've got a bar," Gidussays. "That's got a real snacky feel to it. The calorie range is right,and the fiber is high."
Frozen Peas And Corn
Ditching the celerysticks doesn't mean abandoning the whole food group. Frozen vegetables oftentaste better because they're not turning into starch, like their produce-aislecounterparts. Freezing vegetables seals in their naturally sweet flavor.
Half of a cup of peas has 55 calories and 3 g of fiber; the same amount of corncontains 72 calories with 2 g of fiber. The high-fiber and low-calorie-densitycombination means they're filling and satisfying, and the frozen part makesthem interesting. They're firm, but not rock hard, and they melt in your mouth.
"You can use the same trick with fruit," Gidus says. "Freezegrapes or cherries, and it's a whole different experience."
Skip the usualfruit-on-the-bottom suspects — high in sugar, ho-hum in texture. Try Fage TotalGreek Yogurt instead. This imported greek yogurt is strained, which makes itfluffy. It'll fool you into thinking it's fat-filled, but the "0%" onits label tells you how much fat it really contains.
The 80 calories per serving give you room to maneuver, so sweeten the pot withchopped apricots or dates. "There's evidence that dairy calcium helps youlose weight, and this also adds protein and fiber," Gidus says.
A 2003Brazilian study found that three apples a day can keep weight gain at bay — andcan even help you lose. "There's no magic compound," according to RuiHai Liu, Ph.D., an apple researcher at Cornell University.
"The best way to lose weight is to increase consumption of fruits andvegetables. That increases volume and decreases calorie density." Ifyou've got 5 minutes and a knife, cut your apple up and mix it with somechopped walnuts and a teaspoon or two of maple syrup. Or eat it with atablespoon of peanut butter to add about 100 calories' worth of the satiatingpower of nuts.
If you thinkthe microwave's only contribution to snack time is popcorn, you have to tryQuaker Express. Office-friendly, it's packaged in an individual cup. Just addwater and microwave for about a minute, and you're set to snack.
"Studies have found that oatmeal is more filling than dry cereal with thesame calories and fiber content," Gidus says. The Baked Apple flavor has aslight fiber edge (1 g) over the other flavors. Best of all, it won't stink upthe office.
If edamame hada tryst with orange-dusted nachos, the result would look a lot like soy chips —a high-fiber, low-fat snack that's a significant source of soy protein. And soyprotein, according to a recent study in the International Journal of Obesity,not only helps facilitate weight loss, but also helps ensure that the weight lostis fat rather than muscle. The isoflavones in soy act like estrogen and inhibitthe enzyme that facilitates fat deposits, according to Paul Cooke, Ph.D., a soyresearcher at the University of Illinois.
A pack of soy chips racks up as many as 7 g of soy protein in about 100calories, which leaves room for a 1/4 cup of Guiltless Gourmet bean dip. Thedip adds 60 calories and another 4 g each of fiber and protein
Unwrap a frozenjuice bar and you can practically hear the ice cream truck rounding the cornerof your cul-de-sac. "They're sweet and tangy, and anything frozen takeslonger to eat," Gidus says. "They're just a few calories, and they'veeven got some vitamins."
Our favorite: Edy's Tangerine, with flavor as bright as its color — and a mere80 calories.
You know fiberpromotes weight loss; you know that high-fiber cereal is an easy way to it; andyou know that cereal isn't just for breakfast. But you'd be happier eating thismagazine than a bowl of All-Bran.
Enter Barbara, with her Cinnamon Puffins. They're crunchy, puffy, and very,very cinnamony. A 3/4-cup serving has 100 calories and 6 g of fiber. "Itlooks like a lot," Gidus says, "so your eyes see a substantial snack.It's a lot more impressive than 10 little walnuts." Add low-fat milk ifyou want, but Puffins can stand alone.
We're not donechewing yet. Licorice, which has an active ingredient called glycyrrhetinicacid, has been shown to help reduce body fat mass. (The good news is you don'thave to be able to pronounce the acid to reap its benefits.)
Decio Armanini, M.D., who did the research at Italy's University of Padua,explains that there are two ways licorice works. The first is complicated andinvolves blocking an enzyme that plays a role in fat accumulation. The secondis simpler. "Licorice can reduce appetite," he says. "The effectis probably related to the agreeable taste of licorice, and for that reasonpeople do not need to eat more."
We're not talking Twizzlers here; go for the real thing, preferably withlicorice extract high on its ingredient list. (Look for it in grocery stores,not convenience stores.) A handful is about 150 calories and will keep you busychewing something sweet, flavorful, and satisfying for twice the time it takesto down a bag of M&Ms.
Before youreach for a snack — even one on this list — ask yourself if you're reallyhungry. If you're not or you're not sure, reach for a stick of gum.
James Levine, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic has measured the energy burned bychewing and found that just moving your jaw up and down can burn some 11 extracalories per hour, which is a boost of about 19 percent over yourjust-sitting-there level. Now, 11 calories may not sound like much, but that'sabout a pound a year for every hour per day that you chew. And that doesn'tcount the calorie savings from the snacks you're not eating.