Smarter Snacking

If you're gonna do it, do it right: Celebrity Nutritionist Ashley Koff shares her picks for lighter fare.

What really has you reaching for that 11am yogurt? That pre-meeting energy bar? If you're munching for the wrong reasons, you may be sabotaging yourself, a recent study finds. People who snacked between breakfast and lunch lost 4 percent less weight compared to those who didn’t indulge before their afternoon meal, according to research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Since there’s a short amount of time between breakfast and lunch, researchers speculate that mid-morning snackers might be eating out of boredom — not hunger. Mid-morning snackers were also more likely to nosh again in the afternoon, bumping up their total calorie intake for the day.

When it comes to grazing, the key is being conscious, says study author Angela Kong, PhD, MPH, RD of the University of Illinois at Chicago: "If you snack when you’re not actually hungry, it might lead to consuming excess calories and eventual weight gain. However, when snacks are consumed in response to hunger, it could help control your appetite and prevent you from overeating at your next meal." She suggests aiming for an under 200-calorie snack.

Celebrity nutritionist Ashley Koff, RD, advises clients like Emily Deschanel and Amy Brenneman to make sure snacks include a mix of carbs, protein, healthy fat and a non-starchy vegetable for optimal energy. Carbohydrates provide quick energy, protein sustains that energy and fat helps you feel full.

Here, Koff's favorite power snacks: