Victory at snacktime

Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 9:04 a.m.

Snack time isn't just for children. The daily, late-afternoon chorus of groaning stomachs indicates that adults need fuel to power through the rest of the day, as well. But when it comes to snacking, it's important to eat with healthful intentions — a candy bar won't cut it.

“We typically think of snacking as junk food,” registered dietitian Mary Bohannon says. “We need to rethink it in terms of eating food that's contributing to our overall nutritional well-being.”

We're here to help: We've remixed your original go-to snacks for guilt-free favorites that will officially quiet the nagging 3 p.m. cookie craving.

Bohannon, who has a nutrition practice here, says her rule of thumb is to never eat unless you're truly hungry. Instead of encouraging clients to count calories, she instills the mindfulness of how snacks contribute to the overall nutritional value of their daily intake.

“You want to consume just enough so that you're satisfied but not overly full, and will be hungry for the next meal,” she says.

Avoid reaching for a 100-calorie snack pack, though. By not contributing nutrients, the bags are essentially empty calories. (“A lot of times, they don't even taste good,” Bohannon says.) For quick, delicious snacks, Bohannon always keeps fresh fruit, dried fruit, and nuts and seeds on hand, which provide fiber, protein and healthy fat to keep the body balanced and brain chemistry flowing.

Stick to munching whole foods that are easily recognized in their natural state, but get creative: mix flavors, textures and food groups for countless snack combinations.

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