From Pistachios to Snack Bars: 5 Summer Snacks That Stay Fresh

SELF Magazine

"Eating something healthy every three to five hours to keep your metabolism revved and your hunger at bay is key," says Patricia Bannan, registered dietician and author of Eat Right When Time is Tight.

Of course, that doesn't mean constant grazing or a "free pass" for packaged junk food, Bannan warns. The best snacks are 200 calories or less and provide some protein and fiber for sustained energy, good nutrition and a slim waistline. Here are five ideas that travel well AND won't melt in the sun.

Eat your produce.
Dried fruits and veggies are a super convenient way to get your five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Think beyond raisins -- today there are more varieties than ever to choose from. Dried fruits include pineapple, mango, berries, and papaya, and you can get almost any vegetable roasted (carrots, green beans, tomatoes) or try a fun flavor like wasabi peas. A serving size is one-quarter cup.

Raise the bar.
Look for bars that contain just a few recognizable ingredients, like dried fruit and nuts. If you see a long list of foreign ingredients that you can't even pronounce, you're better off leaving that bar on the shelf. Bannan's op picks include Larbar, Soyjoy, Raw Revolution and KIND bars.

Come out of your shell.
Nix the chip fix with 1 ounce of pistachios (about 49 nuts). Pistachios are one of the lowest fat, lowest calorie nuts and yet they provide more than 30 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that promote good health. Summer favorites include flavors like Chile Lime and Garlic Onion. A bonus: The shells slow you down, making for a more mindful snacking experience.

Go Greek
Greek yogurt is thick, creamy and satisfying, boasting, twice the protein of regular yogurt. What's more, one cup of low-fat Greek yogurt can last up to two hours out of the fridge, says Bannan. It also provides "good" bacteria called probiotics that help promote a healthy GI tract. If possible, choose a natural or organic Greek yogurt like chobani, Fage or Oikos.

Mix it up.
Trail mix is a great way to get protein and a serving of fruit. Make your own with one small handful each of dried fruit and nuts (or one-half ounce of each). For convenience and calorie control, Trader Joe's offers 200-calorie portioned-controlled bags of trail mix. Keep them in your car, purse, office, or gym bag for whenever you need some quick fuel. Or go for seeds. One ounce of sunflower or pumpkin seeds is packed with good nutrition, like protein, vitamin E, selenium, zinc and iron. As with nuts and dried produce, a serving size is one quarter cup and calories can add up fast, so portion control is key.

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American Pistachio Growers

9 River Park Place East, Suite 410
Fresno, CA 93720
Telephone: 559.475.0435
Facsimile: 559.475.0624
www.AmericanPistachios.org