Improve mood, boost energy, and satisfy cravings with these healthy snacks recommended by our registered dietitians.
Chocolate Hazelnut Bark
Science says snacking is good for you. The 5,000-subject-strong National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that people who ate snacks in addition to three meals a day had higher levels of nutrients in their diets.
Benefits: Chocolate contains polyphenols and flavonoids, two types of antioxidants shown to help prevent damage caused by cholesterol in arteries.
Warm Cranberry-Walnut Brie
Don't deny yourself. When Belgian researchers told 68 women to either enjoy or refuse their favorite snack, the refusers ate more of the forbidden snack once they were given the green light a day later. Sensible snacking helps you avoid bingeing.
Benefits: Warm, gooey brie satisfies a craving for creamy foods. Dried cranberries add antioxidants, and walnuts contribute heart-healthy fats and a nutty crunch.
Rosemary Roasted Almonds
Portion size matters, especially with some nutrient-rich, yet calorically dense snacks, such as almonds. Research has shown snackers will eat more if a larger portion is offered to them, so don't plop down on the sofa with a bag of snacks and tell yourself you'll stop at just a few. Measure out a serving, and enjoy.
Smart homemade snack: Almonds roasted with oil and spices (111 calories)
Benefits: Studies have shown that consuming small amounts of nuts regularly has been linked to reduced risk of heart disease. Plus antioxidants contained in the skin of whole almonds may play a role in reducing oxidative stress as well as LDL cholesterol.
Photos by Becky Luigart-Stayner