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Diet Snacks Guide - Best Munchies for Dieting

Updated on September 20, 2012
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Stick to your diet... tastily

Despite myths, snacking can actually be a good way to maintain a healthy weight; it's better to eat less at a time more often throughout the day, says Linda McLachlan, RD, CDN, a New Jersey dietitian with Nutrition Matters, LLC. However, your choice of munchies can prove to be your downfall.

Dieting might sound like a daunting task, but there are some ways you can help satisfy your daylong cravings while keeping to your diet plan. In this hub you can read about general diet-snacking tips and certain foods that are best, in addition to links and more to understand what you need to stick to your diet while satisfying your need to eat.

Quick, Healthy and Easy Snack Ideas From Bethenny Frankel

Diet-snacking tips

Have you ever surprised yourself by opening up a bag of fatty potato chips and managing to somehow scrape every last salty remnant from the oily packaging? This happens all the time but can be easily avoided with a few "strategies" to get you on your way to a healthy weight.

1. Keep a "snack" diary

You should keep a record of how much you snacked on a certain food item every day of your diet. That way you can confront any bad habits by looking at them written down in from of you. You can also note when you ate those snacks to try and occupy yourself during that time rather than find yourself with empty eating time.

2. Make a plan

You don't want to find yourself starving at the end of the day and eating everything in sight by the time you get home. Make sure you have healthier snacks about you when and where you'll really feel hungry. Keep things in your work desk or the car. You can also prepare by doing more to alter your day's activities to prevent ultra-hunger later. You might even want to think about what you're going to each and when; make a schedule of snacks and calculate if they'll have the calories you'll need to make it through the day. You can use your snack diary from Step 1 to help you make your snacking goals.

3. Try a different routine

Many people find that snacking on certain foods at particular times is actually a habit developed perhaps since childhood. You may have always eaten buttery popcorn during every movie... but maybe it's time to change that. Instead of continuing on with these unhealthy traditions, ditch them and maybe even add some exercise in your routine rather than eating.

4. Meet cravings with healthy foods rather than junk

So what you are really feeling a need for chocolate right now. To satisfy that melty smooth feeling, get some frozen yogurt instead. Substitute carrots rather than a Butterfinger bar. Find foods that will provide that sensation you want without the calories, fat, etc. Also search for different versions of the food you love; maybe there's a low-calorie option. It probably won't taste better, but a diet isn't always supposed to.

5. Throw in some protein

Don't go for chocolate or a super-rich coffee drink if you need a pick-up. Instead, pack your snacks with protein, which will provide all the staying power you need. You can find protein in nuts (keep this low, however, because they also have lots of fat) as well as dairy products such as cheese or yogurt, and even meat (nothing wrong with a little lunchmeat for a snack).

6. Pay attention to portions

If you have a problem with portion control, try purchasing your snacks in single-serving amounts. Granola bars, individual yogurts, small cheeses and vegetables slices are great, for instance. You can also prepare foods before and set them in little baggies, one portion in each. These methods are also more convenient to carry around with you. Just be careful that, if you're buying prepackaged snacks, that they don't have too much fat or sugar; processed foods can often be a Catch-22.

7. Indulge every once in a while

It's ok to submit to cravings if you can control them. Get small delicacies, however, and don't go for the whole candy bar. Satisfying yourself sometimes will help keep you on track for the rest of the time; those temptations will feel more special that way, something to look forward to after hard work.

Choosing Health Snacks (CBS News)

Great and easy diet snacks

There are certain foods that work really well for diet snacking, items that will help keep you on track to lose the weight you need.

Homemade trail mix

Just because you're on a diet doesn't mean you have to have snacks that are low-fat. A good example of diet-friendly trail mix can include nuts, raisins, even chocolate chips (small ones, of course!). The fattier sweetness and salt makes you feel satisfied when you munch on it, which keeps you from eating too much later. You can mix up the ingredients in your trail mix, too; try different types of nuts, butterscotch chips, dried fruit and more to make it more interesting and tasty while keeping it healthier.

Recommended serving size: An ounce of nuts, like walnuts, and a teaspoon of raisins and chocolate chips each... Approximately 250 calories

Fruit slices with low-fat cheese

This is something that my mom would always fix for my brother and me while we were kids. The fruit is great for supplying you with water, fiber and antioxidants. You can also substitute fruit for vegetables and cheese for cottage cheese. The fat in the cheese is great for keeping you fuller longer. This also goes for the fat in dips, like ranch dip, with vegetables. You can also try fruit with plain yogurt as well; the dairy products are great for protein.

Recommended serving size: A medium-size apple with a small cheese wedge... Approximately 105 calories

Graham crackers with peanut butter

Instead of indulging yourself needlessly with cookies, try this snack instead. Who knew peanut butter would land on this list? The sweetness of the graham crackers and the saltiness of light peanut butter should help satisfy your hunger pangs. The peanut butter will also fulfill your protein and fat needs while keeping you full until your upcoming meal. Feeling in the mood for cookies? While one standard Oreo or Chips Ahoy won't likely derail your diet, it's tough to stop at one. That's where a good substitute comes in. McLachlan recommends 2 graham cracker squares spread with light peanut butter. You'll get a mix of sweet and salty flavors, plus a protein and fat boost from the peanut butter, which will keep you full till your next meal.

Recommended serving size: Two graham cracker squares and a tablespoon of light peanut butter... 155 calories!

Tomato soup with baby carrots

Yes! I love tomato soup! This combination almost even serves as a small meal to stave you off until dinner. The fat in the tomato soup will fill up your tummy and both will provide you with plenty of good nutrients such as potassium, lycopene (great for fighting cancer!) and beta-carotene. Thankfully tomato soup often comes in those convenient portable microwavable containers; they even fit in car cupholders! If you don't want the sodium of regular canned soup, you can try to find a low-sodium version of it or dump a little out and dilute the remaining soup with water.

Recommended serving size: A can of Campbell's Soup at Hand tomato soup, a cup of baby carrots... 190 calories

Frozen tamale pie

Yes, it comes frozen, and yes, it's good Mexican food. These work great as diet snacks because they are low-fat and have healthy carbs for energy (from the beans and the polenta), protein to keep you filled, and vegetables for vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. Amy's makes great frozen tamale pies (among other boxed food items, like Spinach and Feta pockets... one of my favorites!) with natural ingredients.

Recommended serving size: An Amy's Mexican Tamale Pie... 150 calories

Egg salad

Not enough time in the day to eat enough throughout the day? Then your diet snack should include plenty of protein along with some fat to get you through. Homemade egg salad has both of these. All you have to do is chop up a whole hard-boiled egg and the white of another, then mix them up with a tablespoon of low-fat mayo. Fat is good for slowing digestion to keep you feeling fuller; the protein keeps you satisfied longer as well. Sticking it on a piece of bread doesn't hurt either; a slice usually only has 100 calories and the carbs will ensure the snack sticks with you.

Recommended serving size: A whole hard-boiled egg and one white, a tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise... 145 calories

Canned mandarin oranges with light whipped topping

I like going for canned mandarin oranges because they taste great and they often come in smaller 11-ounce cans for portion control. This fruit is great for vitamin C and antioxidants. The whipped topping keeps down the fat while helping you satisfy your cravings for something "bad"... like ice cream. You might even want to try yogurt if you want something heavier than the whipped topping.

Recommended serving size: Half a cup of canned mandarin oranges with two tablespoons light whipped topping... only 50 calories!

Low-Carb Snacks

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    • GarethAdams2010 profile image

      GarethAdams2010 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very interesting hub, snacking is a great way to help control a diet, in both weight loss, and weight gain. The most success full diets out there are generally ones that don't try to stop you eating both what you like and snacks. Great hub!

    • profile image

      Kid Music 

      8 years ago

      Good advice in your blog. Thanks a lot.

    • michelle.dragon99 profile image

      michelle.dragon99 

      9 years ago

      great tips!

    • profile image

      Low Calorie Diet 

      9 years ago

      This is very useful information

    • lilcoco77007 profile image

      Vernon Bell 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thank you, that was very helpful.

    • profile image

      John Hammer 

      10 years ago

      This is such a great site. The insights are right on and I have decided to listen to my body more. Every one should read this site

      <a href="http://www.overweightchild.org">Overweight Children</a>

    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 

      10 years ago from West Kootenays

      Your insights are so true. I quit the conventional idea of "3 square meals a day" and decided to listen to my body instead. I'm never hungry in the morning and I thought:"why eat when I don't feel like it?" I now eat only when I'm hungry and try, for the most part, to eat lots of grains, nuts, vegetables.

      The result: I lost weight without trying, can eat whatever I want (within reason), and I have the odd high-fat snack.

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 

      10 years ago from Sydney

      I had not put a lot of thought into habit of snacking.I would never have thought of making a diary or a plan

      Thank you please have a great Christmas and the best New Year for 2008.Are you interested in this, no offense intended.

      Here are three books on Sudoku:- 1. Killer Sudoku 2. Kakuro 3. Junior Sudoku All on CD ROM and with 256 Page book Giving rules and how to play Buy all three of the great puzzles on Sudoku Uanditogether will endeavour to get them to YOU before Christmas Day. That is $AUD 15.00 Each The Postage will be only $8.00 for all three CD’s and three books Across Australia.

    • siddhinfo profile image

      Shrihari Sawant 

      10 years ago from Goa (India)

      Very good dietary guide published by you. It is delicious also I think every will enjoy reading it.

    • Caregiver-007 profile image

      Margaret Hampton 

      10 years ago from Florida

      Another very instructive Hub. Health is one of my major concerns (for my family and other caregivers), and that ties in directly with diet. Really good tips and resources. Thank you!

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