Joy Bauer's Guide to Replacing Unhealthy Snacks

The top-tier nutritionist gives us her top 3 tips to help you make healthy choices between meals.

If anybody knows the good, the bad, and the ugly about snacking, it’s Joy Bauer, founder of Nourish Snacks, nutrition expert for NBC’s TODAY, and bestselling author of From Junk Food to Joy Food. “Eating the right snacks between meals can help keep your appetite in check to prevent overeating at lunch and dinner,” says Bauer. “Plus, a nourishing snack provides an energizing pick-me-up and gives us something to look forward to — a much-needed mental and physical break from daily responsibilities.” The problem, according to Bauer, is that primarily “due to lack of planning,” many people choose bad snacks, full of sugar, salt, and empty calories. “When your stomach growls between meals, and you haven’t planned out a smart snack option, you’re stuck with a lethal combination: turning to whatever’s available and compromised will power. It’s easy to grab and overeat those tastes-so-good-but-makes-me-feel-so-bad munchies, like cookies, chips, and candy bars. Then, to make matters worse, after eating the junky stuff, you experience swings in blood sugar. So shortly after snack time, you want more … and more.”

To combat the bad-snacking habit, Bauer suggests following her Three Golden Rules of Snacking. A good snack should:

1. Be no more than 200 calories

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2. Contain wholesome ingredients, like fruits and veggies, whole grains, yogurt, nuts, seeds, etc., to help fuel your body and keep you energized and focused

3. Be delicious. “It should be tasty and never feel like a compromise.”

Examples of healthy switches?

Bauer suggests making kale chips instead of potato chips. Instead of fried mozzarella sticks, dip part-skim string cheese into warm marinara sauce. Instead of a bagel with cream cheese, have a toasted whole-grain English muffin with almond butter. Instead of a chocolate milkshake, “make my chocolate smoothie surprise.” Recipes for these and other healthy snacks can be found at

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