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Stay Healthy on the Go

How to Snack Smarter

Three squares a day? That’s old thinking. The new way to stay lean, conquer cravings, and get all your daily nutrients is to master the mini meal.

By Eleni N. Gage
A peach, low-fat cheese, and a piece of dark chocolateSang An


 

Snack on This? Experts Weigh in On ...

Protein Bars
Genius solution for folks on the go or candy bars in health-food clothing? According to experts, the answer is both. "It depends on the bar," says Krieger. "A lot are designed to be meal replacements, so they are 300 calories or more. If you eat them as a snack, you’ll get more calories than you need." Look for a bar that has 150 to 200 calories, at least four grams of protein, and four or more grams of fiber.
 
 Drinks and Smoothies
"Liquids offer a low-calorie way of consuming a lot of volume, and more volume fills you up," says Ryba. Experts suggest a skim decaf latte or a skim cappuccino (calcium sources that fulfill a craving for warmth), a 60- to 100-calorie soup (Gullo loves the appetite-killing powers of tomato soup), or a homemade smoothie with ice, skim milk or plain yogurt, and a cup of berries (store-bought smoothies tend to be high in calories and sugar). Or have a solid snack with some antioxidant-rich green tea.
 
 100-Calorie Snack Packs
"Remember how chip bags used to say ‘20 percent more free’?" says Gullo. "The food industry discovered that people will pay even more to be saved from themselves." In other words, they are willing to fork over extra money for snacks that keep the calories in check; that’s why you see 100-calorie bags of everything from crackers to cookies to chocolate. These are controlled portions, true, but good things don’t always come in small packages. "You want nutrient-dense calories, plus vitamins and minerals, and the protein and healthy fats that promote satiety," says Glassman. "One hundred calories of junk is better than 500 calories of junk, but often those 100 calories lead you to eat more, because you’re not satisfied with them."

For healthy, expert-approved snack ideas, see 24 Nutritious (and Tasty) Snacks.

Read More About:Healthy Eating

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Quick Tip

Nuts

Juice may serve up vitamins, but it won’t do much to ease hunger: Unlike solid foods, liquids don’t trip the brain’s satiety mechanism. For a more effective snack, pair a glass of 100 percent juice with a few nuts. Get more tips.