To me, a diet that doesn't involve snacks is a sad thing indeed.
Somewhere along the line I have developed a habit -- maybe even a NEED -- to eat or drink something while I work on a computer. And since my job requires me to plow through my workday hand-in-mouse with my computer I tend to eat and drink a little too often.
Luckily for me -- and millions of other overweight Americans -- snacking is a perfectly acceptable part of a healthy diet.
Please keep in mind that between-meal snacking does not mean padding your daily caloric intake. It means spreading out the calories so you eat four or five times a day rather than the traditional three.
A while back I sat down with my good friend Beth Aldrich and asked her for some good advice for us snack-happy dieters. Here is the advice the green living expert, writer, engaging speaker, media personality and food coach spoon-fed me:
Beth's 9 Best Snacking Tips
And be sure to only snack in this zone. You'll avoid countless calorie build up because of mindless munching in front of the TV or computer.
If you need to snack on the go, think beyond a bag of potato chips. Bring a handful of almonds, sunflower seeds or walnuts or even string cheese, yogurt sticks, cereal bars or other drip-free items to keep your car crumb free.
Foods marketed as low-fat or fat-free can still be high in calories. Likewise, foods touted as cholesterol-free can still be high in fat, saturated fat and sugar. Check nutrition labels to find out the whole story.
Whole-grain snacks - such as whole grain pretzels or tortillas and low-sugar, whole-grain cereals can give you energy with some staying power.
If the cookie jar is full, you'll probably clamor for cookies. But if there aren't any cookies in the house, fresh fruit or raw veggies may seem more appealing.
Try something new, such as fresh pineapple, cranberries, red or yellow peppers, or roasted soy nuts. Slice a whole-wheat pita and enjoy with hummus.
Many breakfast foods - such as low-sugar, whole-grain cereals and whole-grain toast make great afternoon snacks.
Healthy snacks don't need to be bland. To satisfy your sweet tooth, try frozen yogurt or frozen fruit bars or agave nectar.
Drink plenty of water between meals. Liven it up with a squirt of lemon, cranberry or other fruit juice.