Smart snacking between meals, when you are truly hungry, can actually help curb overeating. If you let yourself get to that “beyond hungry” place, it is more difficult to be satisfied with a sensible amount of food once you do get a chance to eat. That’s the first key to smart snacking.
The second key to smart snacking is to use this between-meal opportunity to choose foods that you enjoy but that also contribute important nutrients. The third key is to snack with sensible serving sizes. A new study by Cornell researchers found that smaller snack portion sizes proved to be just as satisfying as larger ones. Generally larger portions result in increased food intake (Food Quality and Preference Jan 2013 vol 27 no. 1, 96-100).
Several recent studies have even supported the body weight benefits of smart snacking. Snackers were less likely to be overweight or obese and less likely to have abdominal obesity, compared to nonsnackers, in a recent study with teens (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition August 2010 vol. 92 no. 2, 428-435). Another study reported that eating fewer times a day predicts greater body mass index and waist circumference in teen girls (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Feb 2012 vol 95 no. 2, 290-296).
With the three keys to smart snacking in mind, here are my picks for 5 New Smart Snacks!
#1 Wonderful Pistachios
The perfect “slow” snack food because it take a little work to remove the shell before you enjoy the tasty nut inside, Wonderful Pistachios now come in convenient individual serving bags. Reach for pistachios instead of chips because pistachios have protein, fiber, and more than 10 antioxidants. And here’s the bonus–you will feel a lot more satisfied after 160 calories worth of nutrient-rich pistachios (49 pistachio kernels or 1 ounce) compared with 15 measly potato chips (160 calories or 1 ounce).
Wonderful Pistachios come in three flavors-the flavors add to their high satisfaction:
- Roasted & Salted
- Sweet Chili
- Salt and Pepper
#2 KIND Nuts & Spices bars
KIND has a new line of bars with only 4 or 5 grams of sugar per bar. They taste fantastic and will keep well in a purse or glove compartment so they are ready to eat when you need them.
There are four flavors in this new line of KIND bars:
- Cashew & Ginger Spice
- Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt
- Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan
- Madagascar Vanilla Almond
Each one comes with its own array of nutrients but all are great sources of vitamin E, Fiber, and Protein, while staying low in sodium and sugar. The combination of protein, carbs and heart healthy fats will keep you satisfied longer. I actually don’t have a favorite flavor-I love them all!
#3 Seaweed Snacks by Annie Chun’s
Now for something completely different! For the more adventurous snacker, I highly suggest Annie Chun’s Seaweed Snacks. They come in four fun flavors:
- Cracked Pepper & Herbs
- Brown Sugar & Sea Salt
My favorite is the Sesame-I love that it has 4 straightforward ingredients (seaweed, canola oil, sesame oil and salt) and that if I eat the whole little package with 20 sheets, because they are so fun to eat and taste so good, its still only 60 calories and 140 milligrams of sodium but contributes 2 grams of protein, 70% of the Daily Value for vitamin A and 12% for vitamin C.
#4 Ak-Mak Sesame Crackers
Say the word “snack” and lots of people think “cracker.” But it’s a challenge first of all to find a truly “whole wheat” cracker, then to find one that also doesn’t have bunch of hydrogenated fat or salt added…well, that’s next to impossible. Ak Mak Sesame Crackers, made here in California does all that and tastes great too. The crackers are made with seven straight forward ingredients: organically grown whole wheat flour stone ground, clover honey, sesame oil, dairy butter, sesame seeds, yeast and salt.
Three large crackers (1 ounce) have 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber and 6% of the daily value for iron, with 110 calories and 2 grams of fat, zero saturated and trans fat. My favorite way to enjoy these crackers are paired with cheese or natural-style nut butters.
#5 Greek Nonfat Yogurt
How do you get a snack with 16 grams of protein that’s high in calcium and gives you a dose of probiotics (good bacteria)? There’s only one way-Greek yogurt. One of my favorite tricks is making a yogurt “bowl” by mixing plain Greek yogurt with ground flaxseed and frozen blueberries and a splash of vanilla extract.
If you like your yogurt a little sweet and ready to go, you’ll want to find one that isn’t too high in sugar. The Vanilla Chobani nonfat Greek yogurt, for example, has a nice flavor without tasting too sweet or chocking up too many calories. A 6-ounce serving has 140 calories and 16 grams of protein and 20% of the Daily Value for calcium plus contains five live active probiotics associated with promoting good GI health. There is 17 grams of sugar in a serving, 7 grams of which come from the natural lactose carbohydrate in milk.