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What We're Eating: Snacks for Weight Watchers

It took me a long time to realize the importance of snacks in my weight loss. For many years, I just starved myself between meals in an effort to lower my calorie intake. "I don't need a snack," I told myself. "I'll save the extra points for dinner."

Well, that didn't last. I was hungry, cranky and not really losing weight.

Eventually, I started to understand how snacks are a vital part of my daily nutrition plan. In addition to packing my lunch every day for work, I pack TWO snacks: one for the morning (usually eaten around 10 a.m.) and one for the afternoon (usually eaten around 3 p.m.). Every snack includes some sort of protein, such as yogurt, string cheese, hummus or something else. Why? Because protein takes longer to digest, so you stay satisfied longer. Don't believe me? Start adding a hardboiled egg to your afternoon apple - you'll notice a difference!

I also leave room in my tracker for an after-dinner snack most evenings: usually a glass of wine with popcorn or a Fiber One brownie. Sometimes, I treat myself to a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich or Greek frozen yogurt.

Several readers have asked me to publish a list of snack ideas, so here's my best attempt. PLEASE let me know if you have good ideas to add! I'm always looking for new foods to try.

Favorite low-point snacks:
  • Veggies with hummus (I usually eat 4 tablespoons) = 3 points
  • Veggies with homemade ranch dip (1/4 cup) = 1 point
  • Fat-free Greek yogurt (I'm on a kick with Dannon right now) = 2 points (Varies by brand/serving size)
  • Fresh fruit with fat-free cottage cheese (1/2 cup) = 1 point
  • Light string cheese = 1 point
  • Hardboiled egg = 2 points
  • Deli-sliced turkey (2 oz.) = 1 point
  • Pretzels = 3 points (serving size varies by brand)
  • Rice Krispie treat = 2 points (I was shocked to learn these were so low cal!)
  • Low-fat popcorn (I LOVE Boom Chicka Pop) = 1 point/cup (Again, varies by brand!)
  • Greek frozen yogurt (Healthy Choice makes small cups that are usually near their frozen meals, not with the ice cream products) = 4 points
  • Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches = 4 points
  • Fiber One Oats & Chocolate bar = 4 points
  • Fiber One Protein Bar = 5 points
  • Fiber One Brownie (Great chocolate treat with a glass of wine!) = 2 points
  • Wine (4 oz. glass) = 4 points 
  • To be fair ... Light beer = 4 points
  • Fruit with fat-free caramel dip (We like T. Marzetti brand, 2 tablespoons) = 3 points
  • Reduced-fat peanut butter (2 tablespoons) = 5 points (I don't have this often because it's kinda high for a snack, in my opinion)
Favorite 0 point fruits and veggies for snacks:
  • Bananas - I eat one EVERY morning with breakfast!
  • Apples - Stick an extra in your lunch pail because they are portable and can satisfy random cravings, especially on your commute
  • Grapes
  • Cherries - Though I'm not very good at gracefully spitting out the pits at my desk
  • Carrots
  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Cherry/grape tomatoes
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Fresh watermelon
Another note about snacks: Don't forget to plan them around your exercise! I need SOMETHING in my stomach about hour before I work out (In the morning, it's usually a Fiber One bar and a banana, with a cup of coffee). After, I try to refuel with something that has plenty of protein to help my muscles recover. (After my morning runs, that's usually a bowl of cereal or Greek yogurt with berries and granola.)

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