Getty; Inset: Courtesy Harley Pasternak

The trainer reveals how to snack in the most filling and healthy way

April 24, 2013 04:15 PM

My name is Harley, and I love chocolate chip cookies.

In fact, I love cookies and chips and pretzels and scones and muffins and chocolate bars and you get the picture.

Thats why it’s essential I don’t let myself get hungry between meals, because that’s when I’m vulnerable. If I’m hungry, guess what I’m going to reach for as a snack: WHATEVER I CAN! (Most likely one of the above.)

Smart snacking can help me avoid being hungry between meals, and, therefore, also avoid temptation. Snacking the right way can help you in many ways, too!

Weight Management Snacking provides structure to a daily diet, regardless of how erratic one’s schedule may be. One study found that people who snack throughout the day have improved weight control over those who only stick to three meals, and no snacks. A second study suggests that snacking helps appetite control by preventing overeating at meals.

Weight Loss

Researchers found that hunger is more intense before meals than before snacks, therefore, people looking to lose weight can feel fuller on fewer calories by adding snacks in their daily meal plan. Another study found that snacking between meals led to an overall lower caloric intake over the day, and a significant amount of weight loss over 12 weeks.


Snacking will keep you energized throughout the day and help you avoid “hitting the wall” in the afternoon. In fact, a recent study found that snacking in the afternoon reversed the adverse effect of skipping breakfast and kept the subject energized until dinner.

Diabetics/Pregnant Women

Certain populations NEED to snack for health reasons. One study found that pregnant women who consumed three meals AND two snacks a day had the lowest rate of pre-term birth, compared to women who ONLY had three meals and NO snacks. I typically make my snacks approximately 1/3 to 1/2 the size of a meal. Snacks should contain some protein (at least 5 grams) and healthy fat and/or fiber. The combination of these components make you feel fuller longer.

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Below I’ve compiled a list of my favorite snacks for any craving. There are bunch of packaged snacks on this list, as I know convenience is a major factor for many of us.

Craving something sweet? Try:

Barefruit Crunchy Cinnamon Apple Chips
These are a new find for me, but have fast become a client favorite. With 4g of fiber a serving (8g for the whole bag), the only ingredients in them are apples and cinnamon! These are especially tasty if dipped in some Greek yogurt.

Non-fat Greek Yogurt with Berries
There’s a reason this is my go-to sweet treat. A 6 oz. container of nonfat Greek yogurt has 18g of protein and only 100 calories! Add that with sweetness and tang of some fresh or frozen berries, and you’ve got the perfect snack. Plus berries (especially raspberries and blueberries) pack more fiber and antioxidants than other fruits.

Harley’s Wife’s Cookies
Yes, there is such as thing as a healthy chocolate chip cookie! Check out the recipe here.

Craving something spicy? Try:

The Good Bean Chickpea Snacks
I love good bean snacks (so filling, crunchy and good for you!) but the smoked chili and lime are my favorites. And with 6g of fiber and 6g of protein, it will satisfy your hunger and your taste buds!

Cut Veggies and Spicy Hummus
Carrots or celery sticks are livened up with a few tablespoons of spicy hummus! My favorite brands are Archer Farms Spicy Three Pepper Hummus and Trader Joe’s Spicy Hummus Dip.

Wasabi Freeze-dried Peas
These spicy snacks are delicious, inexpensive and keep well. Plus, their fiber and protein power-combo make them a great snack option.

Craving something salty? Try:

Good Health Half Naked Popcorn
Low in fat and super delicious, the popcorn serving size is four whole cups, so you won’t go hungry! And at 4g of fiber and 3g of protein a serving, you’ll stave off hunger for hours.

Shaklee Snack Crisps
Once you try these crisps, you’ll never go back – their crunch is so satisfying! They pack 6g of protein and 2g of fiber into a delicious 100 calorie bag. The BBQ flavor is my favorite. Bonus for those with an allergy: They’re gluten-free!

Cruncha ma-me Edamame Veggie Snack
These crunchy snacks are a favorite of mine (especially the salt & pepper flavor). A 90 calorie bag has 8g of protein and as much fiber as an apple, so they’re super filling.

Do you have any great snacking ideas? Tweet me @harleypasternak.

Check back every Wednesday for more insider tips on Hollywood’s hottest bodies – and learn how to get one yourself! Plus: follow Harley on Twitter at @harleypasternak

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