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You Asked: The Science of Snacking

Dear FitSugar-
Do you know how many calories you can allow in a day for snacking? What should a snack consist of nutrition wise?

I love snacking and I too had some questions about snacking so I consulted nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH of Essential Nutrition For You. Here's what she had to say:

One key factor you should think about when you snack in between meals is that it is all about SMART SNACKING. If you are simply adding calories to your day that may result in weight gain depending on your activity levels. You want to make sure that your snacks are between 100 – 200 calories and ideally you will want to fuel your body every 3-4 hours, so you may end up having both a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack.
Now, one purpose of snacking is to prevent over-eating or being starved at lunch or dinner. With that said, you want a snack that has a balance of protein, carbohydrate and some fat. For example a string cheese and an apple comes it at 160 calories, a non-fat fruit flavored yogurt averages from 60-140 calories, or 1/4 cup of nuts comes in at 200 calories.

Need some more inspiration when it comes to healthy snacks, check these Snack Attack ideas for all your snacking needs. You should also take advantage of Rania's free 15 minute consultation if you would like to talk about creating an eating strategy that is right for you.

miss-ellie miss-ellie 10 years
thanks for posting this, FitSugar! i've always been curious about the correct amount of calories that you should allow for snacking
emmy-doo emmy-doo 10 years
I've found that my "snacks" end up being my meals - depending on how much and how often I snack. Terrible, I know, but I usually skip breakfast b/c I'm just not hungry in the morning. But basically I eat 5 or 6 times daily, and each "encounter" is about the same in terms of calories and fat content. By snacking, I fuel myself when I need it, but only as much as I need, then in the evenings I have a little reserve for munching while I watch TV.
bizzybee bizzybee 10 years
I love snacks. Eating the right snacks has really allowed me to eat smaller meal portions. Before I had this mental thing inside my head that was, like, eat a lot to get you through the entire afternoon! Snacks dispel that fear and relieve the dreaded energy drop. Can't wait to check out the snack list for some new possibilities ... : )
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