If you find yourself reaching for something to eat between meals, don’t despair. According to New York City based nutritionist, Tanya Zuckerbrot M.S., R.D., snacks are "not optional." That's because having a little something between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. can "offset hunger, lead to better weight management, and help you make better decisions at dinner time," plus prevent overeating. "Choose a snack that includes both fiber and protein," explains Zuckerbrot, since the combination of the two will "keep you feeling full for the longest period of time, on the fewest calories." Here, the pro breaks down her top 6 go-to snacks to stock up on.
BIENA Non-GMO Roasted Chickpea Snacks in Barbeque
First up, Zuckerbrot recommends a few handfuls of roasted chickpeas, which are readily available at grocery stores around the country. Packed with both fiber and protein, the snack "can satisfy a savory craving with a crunch that isn't fried." Stick to 200 to 300 calories a serving—and for an added kick, the expert suggests trying out some of the more fun flavors, like Biena's barbeque option or Hippea's vegan white cheddar.
KRAVE Jerky Gourmet Beef Cuts, Cracked Peppercorn
Contrary to popular opinion, beef or turkey jerky is actually a healthy and perfectly portioned snack solution that's totally portable and readily available at most gas stations, if you're on the road or in airports. "It's tough to find proteins that are easy to take on-the-go," explains Zuckerbrot, but "I am a huge fan of jerky." The expert frequently travels with a few all-natural sticks and pairs them with an apple or orange for a flight.
F-Factor Fiber/Protein Bars in Chocolate Protein
Years in the making, Zuckerbrot has developed her own brand of bars that, of course, have the right amount of fiber and protein: 20 grams of both. "It's almost too good to be true," she laughs of the vegan, soy-free, no sugar added snack that come in chocolate and peanut butter flavors.
Joseph's Lavash Bread Flax Oat Bran and Whole Wheat Reduced Carb Wraps
"Another favorite of mine is a whole wheat wrap with some protein," she says, like turkey or greek yogurt-style cream cheese, which has four times the protein of the regular creamy spread. If you're near a Trader Joe's market, swing by to pick up one of the brand's high fiber wraps, which Zuckerbrot advises clients to snag on a grocery run. Top off that mini sandwich with some bagel sesame seasoning or add a tomato slice or two for extra fiber.
Bridgford Sliced Turkey Pepperoni
"I always stress the importance of protein in your snack," says Zuckerbrot, to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Try adding a few slices of turkey pepperoni onto a high fiber cracker with a slice or two of Laughing Cow cheese. "You'd think it's the most fattening food in the world," she laughs, "but it's actually an excellent source of protein that's all natural." The pro also recommends making a mini pizza by combining these ingredients along with some tomato sauce, then placing the crackers in the oven for a few minutes.