Planning ahead is key to having the right snacks on hand when cravings hit.

Whether your snack attack hits in the middle of the afternoon or during late-night TV, it can damage your weight-maintenance plan. Mindless snacking will put back on those pounds faster than you can say, “Pass the ranch nachos.”

Smarter Snacks: Better Choices

A lot of the time, it’s the little indulgences that really add up, says Emily Banes, RD, clinical dietitian at the Houston Northwest Medical Center. Here are some healthy suggestions from Banes to satisfy your urge for snacks and keep that weight from coming back.

Find healthy snacks with the taste sensation you crave.


If your craving is sweet or creamy, try light or frozen yogurt, fruit, or sugar-free pudding. If your craving is crunchy or salty, try pretzels, popcorn, a couple of graham crackers, or apple slices with a bit of peanut butter.

Opt for protein.



“When snacking, it’s helpful to include a little bit of protein, like the peanut butter with the apple, or cheese and crackers, or string cheese,” says Banes. “The protein will take some of the edge off the hunger pang. I’ve had patients who really like baked pita triangles with hummus. Sometimes you have to think a bit outside the box.”

Don’t forget the dairy.



Banes’ suggestion of dairy products such as yogurt and string cheese for weight maintenance is supported by a study of 338 men and women who were trying to maintain their body weight. Those who ate three or more servings of dairy a day held steady during the nine-month study, while those who ate very little dairy were more likely to gain.

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