It’s inevitable—you’re watching TV and you just want a little something to munch on. The problem is, a little something usually turns into a lot of something, which means calories and weight gain.
“Recent studies show that 90+ percent of people snack at least once per day,” says nutritionist Lauren Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of the web site Nutrition Starring You. However, she says, snacking shouldn’t be for when you’re hanging out on the couch. Snacking is really a way to keep up your energy levels between meals. “Think of your body as a car,” Pincus says. “You need fuel on the road, not in the garage.”
But if you just can’t help but have an evening snack, try one of the items listed below, which are low in calories and fat.
What makes a good-for-you snack?
The ideal snack should be:• A combination of protein, healthy carbs, and good fats.
- No more than 100-200 calories
- No processed foods or empty calories such as cookies. chips, pastries, or muffins
- Beware of protein and energy bars, which are often filled with as much sugar and calories as candy bars.
- Organic packaged foods. Just because they are organic does not mean they are healthy or low-calorie or low in sugar/fat.
- Foods with added sugar. Read labels and try to make the best decisions you can. As a guide, the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 24 grams per day for women (6 teaspoons) and 36 grams per day for men (9 teaspoons). “That adds up very quickly—a little soda or sweetened iced tea and you have probably met your limit,” says Pincus.
Read on for a list of healthy snack choices.