Snacks aren't bad. In fact, they are "mini-meals" that are meant to curb hunger and help supplement nutrients you may not be getting enough of from meals (like fiber from fruits and veggies).
Studies show that waiting too long to eat between meals can cause you to overeat later in the day not exactly the best way to lose weight or stay healthy.
Stick to snacks that are between 100 and 200 calories each. You especially need them when you have three to five hours between meals.
1. Peanut Butter and Whole-Wheat Crackers: Combine lean protein, fiber and healthy fat and you've got a satisfying snack. Portion: 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter and 4 whole-wheat crackers. Total: 180 calories, 5 grams of protein.
2. Vegetable Soup: Try snacking on a warm, hearty vegetable soup 20 minutes later you'll feel like a new person. Portion: 1 cup vegetable soup. Total: 100 calories, 4 grams protein.
3. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese and Fruit: With its good balance of protein, carbs and fat, cottage cheese is one of the most underappreciated foods. Portion: 1/2 cup low-fat or nonfat cottage cheese with 1/2 cup sliced or 1 medium piece of fresh fruit. Total calories: 140 calories, 14 grams protein.
4. Hummus with Sliced Veggies: Two tablespoons of plain hummus has 50 calories and 3 grams of fat, so you're probably better off measuring out two to three tablespoons instead of sitting down with the entire container. Portion: 3 tablespoons of plain hummus plus 1 cup of sliced veggies. Total calories: 120 calories, 7 grams protein
5. Trail Mix: Almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts or pecans are full of healthy fat, fiber and protein. To minimize calories, choose nuts that are dry roasted or raw. Portion: 15 nuts plus 2 tablespoons of dried fruit. Total calories: 170 calories, 7 grams protein.
Courtesy of Toby Amidor on foodnetwork.com.