A big trick to healthy eating is nailing shopping and stocking. Aim to keep your pantry, fridge and freezer packed with only nutritious food (that are also tasty) so that when hunger strikes, you’ll be left to satisfy it with only energy-packed, good-for-you options. Here, Kelly O’Connor, RD, LDN, CDE, a registered dietician with 20-plus years’ experience, who is also director of Diabetes Education at The Diabetes Center at Baltimore-based Mercy Medical Center, fills us in on how to shop and stock like a nutritionist.
“I recommend keeping snacks to 150 calories max,” says O’Connor. “Remember, snacks aren’t meant to be meals or even mini-meals but to provide small amounts of energy during the day between meals. Snacks offering the most benefits, including energy and nutrients, contain a small amount of complex carbohydrate, found in starchy veggies like corn, peas, and potatoes or legumes like black or kidney beans, and grains like barley and oats, with a little lean protein.”
Fill the pantry with O’Connor’s favorite nutritionist-approved snack foods and kiss greasy potato chips buh-bye.
1. Whole-wheat tortillas with natural salsa . Tip: Just two tablespoons of store-bought salsa pack 90 to 270 mg of sodium, so watch those labels! Scout our favorite, Green Mountain Gringo Salsa, with its beautifully clean all-natural ingredients list and just 90 mg of sodium per serving.
2. Fresh fruit or veggies (apples, celery, bananas) with natural peanut butter
3. Frozen grapes or peas
4. A slice of whole-grain bread spread with natural peanut butter and topped with banana slices. Tip: Add splotch of honey for sweetness
5. A cup of whole-grain cereal (think Cheerios or Grape Nuts) with low-fat milk
6. A package of sugar-free instant oatmeal with fresh fruit and cinnamon
7. Unsalted, raw or roasted almonds or sunflower seeds
8. Whole-wheat pitas with fresh or roasted vegetables
9. Kale or veggie chips
10. Sugar-free frozen fruit bars
11. Whole-grain frozen waffles topped with low-sugar jelly or fresh fruit
12. Low-fat cheese and whole-wheat crackers
13. Edamame sprinkled with sea salt
14. Fruit and veggie smoothies
15. Low-fat yogurt topped with whole-grain cereal
Best DIY Healthy Snacks
1. Trail Mix
* Combine nuts containing healthy fats (almonds and walnuts) with raw or roasted unsalted sunflower seeds, dried fruit, and uncooked oats.
2. Frozen Juice Pops
* Peel a banana; dip in low-fat yogurt; roll in crushed cereal; freeze.
* Blend two sliced bananas, two tablespoons of lemon juice, and 18 ounces of low-fat fruit yogurt; fill 12 popsicle molds; freeze.
* Blend a cup of 100 percent fruit juice with one cup fresh fruit; fill molds; freeze.
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What is Your favorite healthy snack?