Hungry? Chew on These Snacks

Fruit smoothies, nachos, frozen yogurt make great treats

By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic

Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson, MD

Junk food has given snacking a bad name.

"Snacking in itself isn't a bad thing," says Elaine Magee, PhD, RD, author of numerous nutrition books, including The Recipe Doctor Cookbook: Light and Healthy Versions of America's Favorite Dishes.

Magee firmly believes in eating several small meals during the day -- "and that includes quality, healthy snacks," she tells WebMD.

Her philosophy: Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're comfortable. "There's a difference between stuffed and comfortable," she says. "If you truly follow that concept, you should be hungry every two or three hours."

Here's Magee's list of favorite healthy snacks -- plus the "bad guys" -- taken from another of her books, Fight Fat and Win: Light Meals and Snacks:

Popcorn. The fat in those microwave brands is the only negative here. Look for the healthier versions -- 98% fat-free. If you opt for plain popcorn, it's OK to drizzle a little margarine (one with no trans-fats) or butter. "It's better than full-fat brands, where you can't control the fat they add," says Magee.

Fruit and fruit smoothies. "Awesome, awesome healthy snack choice," she says. "For a complete, sustainable snack, make a fruit smoothie -- the dairy will sustain you."

Ice cream. Get real. You know ice cream isn't an everyday snack. "But there are good choices in ice-creamland," says Magee. Breyer's Light Vanilla is one of the best-tasting vanillas. Also, 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."