Snack Attack! 10 Ways to Snack & Lose Weight (cont.)

An ounce of nuts is a perfect healthy snack. An ounce of most nuts will add about 170 calories, 7 grams of carbs, 6 grams of protein, and 15 grams fat. (The higher amount of fat in nuts will take longer to digest and will help the snack seem more satisfying.)

  • hazelnuts and almonds are lowest in saturated fat
  • macadamia and hazelnuts are highest in monounsaturated fat (this is a very good thing)
  • pistachios and macadamia nuts are highest in fiber (about 3 grams per ounce)
  • walnuts have the most omega-3 fatty acids (also a very good thing).

Tip 4: Calling All Yogurt Fans

A container of light fruit yogurt (low fat and with artificial sweeteners) is a great snack at work or on the go. A 7-ounce container has about 13 grams of available carbohydrate and a glycemic index of 20, adding up to a glycemic load of only 2! Remember Tip #2 about the benefits of slow-release foods? Add some fresh fruit, ground flaxseed, or reduced-fat granola to yogurt to make a fun snack parfait!

Tip 5: Portable Fruit

Fruit can travel well in your car or briefcase and come in handy for a quick pick-me-up, many offering just enough carbohydrates with a nice dose of fiber. You can make a more balanced snack by enjoying your fruit with cottage cheese, yogurt, or some cereal and milk.

The following fruits have a low glycemic load (5 or less per serving):

  • Cherries, glycemic load of 3 per (4 1/4 ounce) serving
  • Grapefruit, glycemic load of 3 per (4 1/4 ounce) serving
  • Kiwi fruit, glycemic load of 5 per (4 1/4 ounce) serving
  • Oranges, glycemic load of 5 per (4 1/4 ounce) serving
  • Peaches (fresh or canned in juice), glycemic load of 4 per (4 1/4 ounce) serving
  • Pears, glycemic load of 4 per (4 1/4 ounce) serving
  • Plums, glycemic load of 3 per (4 1/4 ounce) serving
  • Cantaloupe, glycemic load of 4 per (4 1/4 ounce) serving
  • Strawberries, glycemic load of 1 per (4 1/4 ounce) serving

Tip 6: Get Your Whole Grain Snacks

The latest research suggests that people who eat whole grains have the lowest incidence of diabetes. They appear to increase the efficiency of insulin so that less is required to metabolize the sugar. (Lower levels of circulating insulin are believed to help discourage weight gain.) Use snack time as a time to work in some whole grains!

Tip 7: Eat Your Veggies

Cut up fresh, raw vegetables and serve them with a light ranch dressing, or with peanut butter, reduced fat cheese, or cottage cheese. Look past the basic salad greens and baby carrots and try jicama sticks (a refreshing, crispy white root), zucchini coins, bell pepper rings, or lightly cooked and chilled snow pea pods or green beans.

Tip 8: Try Trail Mix

The dried fruits in trail mix give you some fiber and carbohydrate calories, but the nuts help round the snack off with protein, fat, and some more fiber. (Tip: Stay away from those that include ingredients such as sesame sticks or dried banana chips that may contain trans-containing hydrogenated oils. If you choose a trail mix with chocolate chips or M&Ms, just make sure there is just a sprinkling).

Tip 9: Don't Shovel Down Your Snack

Snacks need to be eaten slowly, too, just like meals. Don't forget that it takes 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that you are full. Give that message time to work before you decide the snack didn't do the trick. Make a point of enjoying a flavored mineral water (the unsweetened, no-calorie kind) at the same time. This will help you eat the snack slower, too.

Tip 10: Don't Make Your Snack a Meal

Snacks should be around 150-200 calories -- just enough energy to tide you over until your next meal but not so much that it contributes as many calories as a meal.

Try half of a whole-wheat bagel toasted with a slice of reduced fat cheddar instead of the whole bagel (160 calories vs. 300). Or try a cup of minestrone soup instead of a big bowl for a snack (150 calories vs. 300)

And Finally

Be sure to join me on my Snack Attack message board. Every week, we have a new set of snack attack ideas for you, with such fun titles as Microwave Snack Mondays, Wacky Snack Wednesdays, and my favorite -- Sinful Snack Saturday!

Originally published Jan. 10, 2003.

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