If we’re honest, with life moving at a million miles a minute, we don’t always take the time to sit down and have a proper meal (unless — is beef jerky a meal?), which often means that on any given day we’re attempting to appease our hanger with a snack (or five). But choosing said snacks can be tricky, considering we’re looking for something delicious, nutritious and — LBH — somewhat diet-friendly. So, in our first-ever Q+A, we called on Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN and Founder of Real Nutrition, to help us cut through all of the noise and let us know how to get ready for our next snack attack.
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1. Is there really such a thing as healthy snacking?
Yes! Snacking can help prevent overeating, maintain energy levels and reduce cravings. It definitely plays a role in a healthy diet!
2. How many snacks are too many snacks?
I limit my clients to two snacks per day. This ensures their meals are balanced and that excessive eating isn’t occurring.
3. When is the best time to snack?
I recommend snacking in the late afternoon at about 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m., or about three hours after having lunch. This late snack helps to maintain focus for the rest of the afternoon, fuel an evening workout and prevent you from being overly hungry when heading into dinner.
4. What constitutes a 'healthy' snack?
It should be low in added sugar and contain a balance of fiber, protein and fat. This will allow for blood sugar regulation, satiation and the proper amount of nutrition.
5. What's your go-to healthy snack?
I like to cut up veggies and add a little olive oil and seasoning, dark chocolate, plant-based yogurt (I love Lavva), nuts, seeds and seaweed snacks with hummus or avocado are my favorites.
6. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips go for…
“Seaweed snacks like SeaSnax (try the Teriyaki flavor!). Pistachios, popcorn (Skinny Pop is a favorite among my clients), celery with almond butter and a dash of sea salt, half an avocado or some cut up jicama sprinkled with chili pepper and lime juice are also great options.
7. Instead of grabbing cookies go for…
“An Rxbar, Health Warrior Chia Bar, sliced apples with cinnamon and a tablespoon of almond butter or Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup granola or a few squares of dark chocolate (> 70% cacao). I’m a big fan of the dark chocolate selection at Hu Kitchen.
Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, is the founder and director of Real Nutrition, a NYC-based private practice dedicated to healthfully and successfully guiding clients to their optimal nutrition, weight, and overall wellness. She is internationally recognized for her individualized, lifestyle-focused approach, which integrates realistic food plans, smart eating habits, and active living. Through encouragement, education, and the right “tricks of the trade”, Amy believes that anyone can achieve their nutritional goals while still enjoying the foods and flavors they crave.