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Can snacking help me to lose weight? 

That depends. Snacking in itself does not help you to lose weight. However, choosing the right snacks can help to keep you from overeating during meals and keep your calorie count in check.

When you eat less than every three to four hours, fluctuations in your blood sugar can lead to overwhelming hunger and binge eating. That is why you often hear that it is better to eat several small meals or snacks than three large meals.

The key to snacking is choosing healthy things to eat. A bag of chips or a handful of cookies during snack time is not going to get you any closer to your weight-loss goals. According to EJGH Registered Dietitian Rebecca Lee, a healthy snack is one containing high fiber, complex carbohydrates and lean protein.

Placing these healthy snacks in between meals will stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent overeating at the next meal. By reducing the calories eaten at meals, the total number of calories for the day also decreases, which helps with weight loss.

Smart choices include: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, non-fat dairy products and whole grains. Calories count, so pay attention to the amount of calories in the snacks you eat. Generally, you want to keep snacks between 100 and 150 calories.

Here are five examples of properly balanced snacks to try:

1 small apple with ½ tbsp peanut butter

½ whole wheat English muffin with 1 sliced piece of low-fat cheese

1 container of Greek yogurt with ¼ cup berries

2 tbsp hummus with celery or carrot sticks

1-2 tbsp dried fruit with 4-8 walnut halves

To set up an appointment for weight loss nutrition counseling, contact Rebecca Lee, registered dietician at East Jefferson General Hospital, at (504) 454-4077.

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