We've got 12 astrological signs, 5 major personality traits, and 3 body types. But there are only 2 snacker styles. Sweet and salty. And 62 percent of you fall into the sweet camp.
When we ran a poll asking what your worst snacking weakness is, 38 percent put down "salty crisps and chips." The rest picked something sugary-with "cookies, cakes, and doughnuts" taking the lead at 25 percent (Check out the full results, and our report on best and worst chips.)
With that in mind, Shine took a walk down the baked-goods aisle with Tammy Lakatos Shames and Lyssie Lakatos, aka the Nutrition Twins. Identical from toe to sweet tooth, the sisters are New York City RDs and authors of The Secret to Skinny and Fire Up Your Metabolism. Of course they'd rather be steering you toward the produce section, say, for an apple and a tablespoon of peanut butter or baby carrots and hummus-a mix of protein and fiber-rich carbs being way healthier and hunger-satisfying than a donut. But when you want sugar, a carrot doesn't cut it, so here's how to get a fix without packing on the fat.
COOKIES! COOKIES! COOKIES!
Friend: The ideal cookie, The Twins say, has 100 to 200 calories per serving. Make sure, though, that if that serving says three cookies, you're only eating three cookies (it's so tempting when they're 50 calories each, to blow through more). Also look for choices with no more than 3 grams of total fat, all of it the good kind-i.e. 0 saturated and 0 trans fat. Healthy ingredients like rolled oats or blueberries can push a sweet thing into this category. Ingredients are always listed in order of decreasing weight, so look at the first few. Health Valley Raisin Oatmeal cookies squeak in because, while a serving has 3.5 grams of fat, none of it's the artery-clogging kind; meanwhile the calories are low (90), and the first three ingredients include organic oats and raisins.
*** FAVES: Low-fat graham crackers, animal crackers, and "at 32 calories per serving and less than a gram of fat, a fortune cookie, is a great way to quench a sweet tooth," says Tammy.
Enemy: We're supposed to love our enemies, and sure enough, most of us adore these-the tricked-out, overstuffed cookies where the "serving size" refers to just one. A packaged example is Pepperidge Farm's Soft Baked Chocolate Chunk Milk Chocolate Macadamia with 160 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of it saturated-delicious, but a heart-clogger if you eat two or three. That pales in comparison to a chocolate chunk cookie at Dunkin Donuts, which has 540 calories-yes, just one cookie-13 grams of saturated fat, and 11 teaspoons of sugar. Their Oatmeal Raisin isn't so much better.
Frenemy: These cookies have more fat than a "friend," but way fewer calories than an "enemy." They include the old familiar suspects: Chips Ahoy, Nutter Butters, Oreos. Two Oreos, for example, have about 5 grams of fat, with more than a gram of it saturated, but they're only 110 calories. Not the healthiest, but a doable snack.
SWAP an enemy for a friend every day-instead of a Pepperidge Farm chocolate chunk milk chocolate macadamia, have a 4-square Graham cracker-and save about 10 pounds a year.
Friend: It's hard to find a muffin-in most cases, a cute name for cake-that's easy on the heart and waist. A small two-ouncer is usually 170 calories, which is okay if you can find it; usually they're two or three times as big.
*** FAVES: Vitatop is a slight sneak because, well, it's only the top. "But each has only 100 calories. They're high in fiber and protein (5 grams), low in fat, and made from a white whole-grain flour which is healthier than refined flour," says Lyssie. "You can't beat them."
Enemy: Most muffins, especially those sold from behind a counter, fall into this category. Starbucks' Blueberry Streusel Muffin is 360 calorie and 11 grams of fat, more than half saturated. That sounds like a diet food compared to their Raspberry Scone which is 500 calories and 26 grams of fat, with 15 grams of it saturated.
Frenemy: A fat-free muffin can be a good runner up to a Vitatop (and you get the bottom too!) The key is to scrutinize the label, because many of them make up for the lack of lipids by heaping on the sugar and plumping up the size. Check to make sure the "serving" is not just 1/2 the muffin.
SWAP: Every day, skip the Starby's raspberry scone and instead, have 2 Vitatops, and you'll save 31 pounds a year.
Friend: Any way you slice it, a doughnut is not a health food. You're talking deep-fried white flour and sugar. The best strategy is to go for portion control with a mini doughnut or munchkin.
***FAVES: Stick to 3 sugar raised munchkins and you only set yourself back 120 calories and 3 grams of saturated fat.
Enemy: "Cake" doughnuts have twice the fat as "yeast or raised" varieties. And chocolate and coconut frosting are two of the worst choices in terms of weight control. A Dunkin Donuts Chocolate Coconut Cake glazed donut is 340 calories and 9 grams of saturated fat. Their Blueberry Crumb has 470 calories, 14 grams of fat (8 of it saturated), and 12 teaspoons of sugar.
Frenemy: Split the difference and head for full-sized yeast doughnut. Krispy Kreme's original glazed does have 12 grams of fat, half of it saturated, but it only has 200 calories.
SWAP: Every day trade in a Blueberry Crumb Donut for 3 sugar raised munchkins and save 36 pounds a year.
What's the hardest thing for you about controlling your weight?
For more great tips on snacking, eating, and splurging well...
Sexy bikini-body foods
How to slash the calories and still enjoy your favorite dishes
9 foods that pack on the pounds
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