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Hungry Girl Today: 4.18.12

Hi HG,

I hear so much about how eating nuts can help with weight loss, but I'm not sure which kinds to buy at the grocery store. They all seem to be very high in fat. Any suggestions?

Not So Sure 'Bout Nuts

Hi Not So Sure,

You're right. Nuts are pretty high in fat. Of course, some are higher in fat than others -- walnuts and pecans are among those that have the most fat, with 18 - 20g per ounce. But the fat in nuts is the healthy kind. And with that fat comes a nice amount of protein plus some fiber, all of which help keep you feeling full. Almonds and pistachios are both great choices, with 13 - 14g fat per ounce. As with most foods, portion control is key with nuts. Look for pre-portioned options, like the 100-calorie packs of almonds from Blue Diamond and Emerald. They're small but satisfying, and they come in a ton of varieties, from sweet to savory. Or save some money and DIY -- just break down a larger container or bag into single servings (about 14 almonds for 100 calories), and put each serving in a separate plastic bag.

If I'm straight snacking on nuts, I prefer pistachios (in the shell). Any nuts in the shell are great because you have to pry them open, which means you won't eat them too quickly. Almonds are another favorite of mine. And choose nuts that are dry-roasted or raw -- you don't want any extra oils or sugary calories.

Crushed or slivered almonds are a great choice when you're adding nuts to a dish, because they go a lot further than the whole ones. You don't need much to add lots of flavor. All Natural Almond Accents are a great find -- seven flavors with just 40 calories and 3 - 3.5g fat per tablespoon. Use them in DIY snack mixes with things like freeze-dried fruit and cereal. They're also great in salads, over yogurt, in fruity parfaits, etc. Another way to go? Snack bars that are packed with nuts, like the ones by KIND. You get the benefits of nuts and portion control. Happy chewing!

Hey Lisa,

I try to track my food every day so I can be sure to keep within my calorie, fat, carb, and protein ranges. The one that consistently comes up short, however, is protein. Do you have any snacking tricks up your sleeve to help me pack some protein into my diet? Thanks!

Prowling for Protein

Hi P for P,

I'm all about snacking on foods with protein because they help keep my hunger under control, and I've definitely got some delicious ideas to share. Keep on reading...

I love fat-free Greek yogurt as a protein pick-me-up. There are so many ways to zazzle up a cup -- click 'n see! Staying in the dairy section, fat-free cottage cheese is also great -- it's fantastic with a chopped-up Fuji apple and cinnamon. Pretty much any cheese will give you a good amount of protein, and there are so many portion-controlled and light options out there. Click here for my picks!

Sometimes, I'll snack on deli-sliced turkey breast straight from the package or wrapped around pickles. If salt is a concern for you, look for reduced-sodium or no-salt-added turkey, and skip the pickles. I also love tuna as a snack. I get the kind packed in water (the easy-open, mess-free pouches are so convenient), and then I pile it onto high-fiber crackers or rice cakes, or I mix it with some bagged broccoli cole slaw and low-fat sesame ginger dressing.

Hard-boiled egg whites are another awesome way to get some protein. Each large egg white has only about 17 calories and a whopping 3.5g protein. They're great with a little bit of Dijonnaise (only 5 calories per teaspoon) or just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Click here for some tips on hard-boiling egg whites.

The easiest snack route, of course, is to grab a bar with some protein or a pack of jerky. Look for bars with less than 200 calories, like Nimble by Balance Bar, Luna Protein, and Nature Valley Protein. They're travel-friendly and great when hunger hits unexpectedly. As for jerky, it's definitely underrated and a favorite of mine -- low in calories and fat, and high in protein. And there are many different kinds, from turkey jerky to meatless ones.

Now you've got lots of fun ways to add protein to your day. Protein power!

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Today, April 18th, is National Animal Crackers Day. Those classic Barnum's Animals have just 120 calories and 3.5g fat per ounce (about half a box). Not bad! If you're feeling more adventurous, check out Barbara's Snackimals -- so good. Rrawwr!

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