It's late afternoon, and you're starving. Dinner is a couple of hours away, and lunch is a distant memory. But don't think pretzelsthink berries. Satisfying your snack attack with low-calorie, nutritious fruit instead of chips and other fattening nibbles is a great way to lose weight.
Adding It Up
It's easy to overdo it, especially when you're snacking straight from the package. But if you actually crunch the numbers, you'll find:
- Eight medium-sized strawberries have 50 calories; zero fat, cholesterol or sodium; four grams of dietary fiber; 12 grams of carbohydrates.
- Three large pretzels have 120 calories; one gram of fat; 120 milligrams of sodium; one gram of fiber; zero vitamins; about double the amount of carbohydrates as the strawberries.
- One medium-sized peach has 37 calories; zero fat, cholesterol or sodium; two grams of dietary fiber; nine grams of carbohydrates.
- Two granola bars have 180 calories; six grams of fat; zero cholesterol; 160 milligrams of sodium; two grams of dietary fiber; 29 grams of carbohydrates.
Low-carb diets may be in vogue, but the bottom line is that calories count. Our recent Survey on Weight Loss found that calories were what FoodFit members tracked most in their diets.
It's pretty clear that fruit is an awesome snack calorie-wise. It's also chock-full of nutritional benefits. Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and important health-promoting antioxidants. Take strawberries, for example. Eight berries have 160 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin C. Variety is the way to go, since different fruits provide different health benefits.
The federal government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and the level is likely to be raised to at least seven servings a day when revamped guidelines are unveiled in January.
In short, snacking on fruit is an easy way to make sure you eat your five (or seven) servings each day. As a post-dinner snack, fruit can go a long way towards sating your sweet toothand easing your guilt.