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Weight Loss & Diet Plans

5 Snacks to Enjoy (and 5 to Avoid)

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Bad Snack 1: Chips

Potato chips might seem like a quick fix for your hunger, but they provide little nutritional value, Culbertson says. “They’re high in sodium -- about 200 milligrams in a 1-ounce serving -- contain only 2 grams of protein and absolutely no fiber,” she says.

Nutrition info: For 1 ounce (a small snack size), you'll get about 50 calories, 9 grams fat, and 16 grams carbohydrates.

Bad Snack 2: Crackers

“Crackers do not stave off hunger well,” Culbertson says. Low in fiber and high in sodium, this snack does not provide the energy boost most people are looking for during the afternoon, and you’re not likely to feel satisfied. (However, some crackers are high in fiber and low in sodium; and topping them with low-fat cheese takes them from a bad snack to a healthy one.) And if they’re not single-serving packages, Culbertson says, it's easy to eat too many.

Nutrition info for 10 crackers: About 164 calories, 8 grams fat, 20 grams carbohydrates

Bad Snack 3: Granola or cereal bar

Yes, there are plenty of healthy versions of granola and cereal bars. But many of them, Grotto says, are “not a blend of healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates, but instead a direct carbohydrate bomb without having fiber and other important nutrients.”

Choose one that’s high in protein and fiber and low in sugar. “It’s not a horrible snack,” Grotto says, “but I find that most people overeat them and tend to be hungry within an hour.”

Nutrition info: For one bar, you'll get about 125 calories, 4.6 grams fat, and 20.5 grams carbohydrates.

Bad Snack 4: Pretzels

If you think pretzels are the “safer” of the traditional snack items, think again. “While this salty treat can be low in fat, they hold no redeeming nutritional value whatsoever,” Grotto says. “In a side-by-side comparison, 1 ounce of pretzels raised blood sugar higher than 1 ounce of potato chips.”

Nutrition info per ounce: 108 calories, 0.7 grams fat, 22.7 grams carbohydrates

Bad Snack 5: 100-calorie cookie snack packs

They're convenient and portion-controlled, but they’re not satisfying, and they don’t help control blood sugar levels, Culbertson says. “Typically, these snacks contain white flour and sugar, and they're also low in nutrients and fiber.”

Nutrition info per package (0.6 ounces to 0.9 ounces): About 100 calories, 2 to 3 grams fat, 16 to 18 grams carbohydrates

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Reviewed on June 19, 2014

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