Best Snacks, Worst Snacks
Feel a snack attack coming on? Follow this list of dos and don'ts to indulge without blowing your healthy diet.
Noted nutritionist and author Elaine Magee, PhD, RD, says
there's no reason to deprive yourself of a snack. To make wise choices, print
this list and post it on your fridge.
If you microwave, buy microwave popcorn that's 98% fat free.
It's OK to drizzle on a teaspoon of butter if you crave the flavor. You're
still consuming less fat than you would if you popped a bag of regular
microwave popcorn, says Magee.
Fruit and Fruit Smoothies
"Awesome, awesome healthy snack choice," says Magee.
For a complete snack that will sustain you through the afternoon, make a fruit
smoothie in your blender. Use low-fat yogurt, fruit such as berries and banana,
ice and -- if you want -- a little 100% fruit juice, milk, or soy milk as your
Yogurt and Frozen Yogurt
Yogurt doesn't need sugar to taste good. Buy plain yogurt and
add something to it, like low-fat granola and fresh fruit, for a truly healthy
Frozen Fruit Bars
These are fine snacks. Look for 100% fruit-juice choices in
your supermarket freezer, says Magee.
You can't find a healthier snack. "I usually have a dip,
like light ranch dip, and assorted vegetables on a platter," says Magee.
Kids love this!
Ah, the favorite snack of the young and single set! To keep it
healthy, choose the higher-fiber, lower-sugar options such as oatmeal.
True, peanut butter is loaded with calories, but it's an OK
snack if you eat just one tablespoon spread over several whole-grain crackers
or a slice of whole-wheat bread.
Chocolate?! Sure, says Magee, as long as you opt for a small
piece. "Almost every day, I have a little bit of chocolate," she says.
"If you deprive yourself, you'll end up compulsively overeating."
Get real. We all know ice cream isn't an everyday snack. But
there are healthy choices. Breyer's Light Vanilla is a good-tasting vanilla ice
cream, says Magee, and Smart Ones fudge bars are "really delicious -- they
hit your chocolate and ice cream craving, plus they have four grams soluble
fiber, 80 calories, hardly any fat, and very good flavor."
"If they're fat-free, the cookies aren't so great, and you
end up eating more," Magee says. "Cookies are something you should
enjoy, but not as a regular snack."
As much as we love it, cake is not a snack. With about 400
calories per slice, cake is more like a mini-meal without nutritional value,
The chewier they are, the more sugar and fat they have, Magee
says. "The healthy ones are crunchy, and not coated in chocolate." If
you truly crave granola bars, make your own. "There are good recipes out there," she
says, "and then you can choose the oil, fruits, grains that go into
Cheese and Crackers
This snack sounds healthy, but both cheese and crackers are
usually loaded with fat. Try using Kraft 2% and Jarlsberg Light cheese on
whole-grain, low-fat crackers for a lighter version of this snack.
Chips or Nachos
True, there are reduced fat chips and chips made with canola
oil. But chips are still the type of snack that people tend to overeat. Says
Magee: "You're better off eating a real potato."