The first rule of between meal snacks: eat only when hungry. Quite often, you may sense hunger when in fact you are only thirsty. Drink eight ounces of water and wait 20 minutes before you reach for a snack. If you do have a sense of hunger after that, ask yourself, "what do I want most right now?" Some things you should consider: sweet or savory; crunchy or smooth; chewy or soft; eaten with a utensil or by hand. Listed by category are my favorite healthy snacks.

Savory and Crunchy

Roasted Chickpeas. You can make your own using one of the many recipes on the internet. Or you can buy my favorite brand, Saffron Road, in your favorite flavor. 1/4 cup is a serving.

Salty and Crunchy

In this category, nothing beats organic lightly salted mixed nuts. Keep the portion size to a handful, approximately one ounce.

Sweet and Chewy

Partner a Medjool date with a pecan or walnut half and a small piece of dark chocolate.

Eaten with a Spoon

Combine 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened, nonfat Greek yogurt with sliced almonds (or other nuts) and some sliced banana or berries. Top with cinnamon.

Eaten Out of Hand

Halve a red bell pepper, seed it and slather the interior with hummus.

Sweet and Smooth

Trader Joes Dark Chocolate Honey Mints are a real treat. If you like Andes Mints, these are far superior. Be careful, though. At nearly 50 calories a piece, they should be rationed.

For a healthy weight, refrain from snacking after dinner or out of boredom, stress or fatigue. For more advice on healthy eating, contact a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Nancy Teeter is a registered dietitian and SaddleBrooke resident. She loves sharing her nutrition knowledge with readers.

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