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Snacking the Healthy Way
Ronda Elsenbrook, a registered dietitian in Kelsey-Seybold, answers some of your most common questions about eating between meals.
"Snacking is a good way to increase intake of healthy foods and not be overly hungry at meals so portions can be smaller," she says.
Ronda recommends incorporating fruits and vegetables, paired with a source of protein, to keep energy levels stable throughout the day. For example, fruit with a small handful of nuts or raw vegetables and hummus can make great snacks.
As for when to snack, according to Ronda, there is no set time for snacking.
"If you're hungry and your next meal is several hours away, it's a good time for a snack," she says. "It is always okay to snack if you're hungry, regardless of time. Before bed, though, I would advise you to keep it small."
Here are some of Ronda's favorite healthy snack suggestions, which are all between 150 and 200 calories:
- Celery with 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- ½ cup pineapple with ½ cup reduced-fat cottage cheese
- 6 ounces light or Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup high-fiber cereal or fruit
- Piece of fruit with 1 ounce reduced-fat or 2%-fat cheese
- Raw vegetables with 1/3 cup hummus
- 3 cups air-popped popcorn with 1/4 cup nuts
- Whole wheat tortilla with ¼ cup fat-free refried beans, 1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded cheese, and salsa
- Two graham cracker squares with tablespoon of Nutella
- Half a sandwich
- Bar and prepared snack suggestions: Luna, Kashi TLC, Cliff Kid Z Bar, Balance, Zone Perfect, Larabar, Chex Mix
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