The following is an excert from Hillary’s new book,“The PCOS Diet Plan” — the first nutrition-based PCOS book written by a registered dietician. It’s scheduled release date is November 9, 2010.
Not everyone needs an afternoon snack, but in my experience most people who struggle with portion control need something to fill the void during that long stretch between lunch and dinner. This is particularly important given that for many of us dinner is a lot later than it used to be.
If lunch is at noon or 1 pm and dinner is at 7 or 8 pm, hunger can really start to mount by around 3 or 4 pm, that if not tended to can result in a full blown binge fest when dinner finally rolls around.
It can’t be stated enough that weight control is about calories, so the goal of incorporating an afternoon snack is to help keep hunger under control so dinner is not twice the size of every other meal of the day. Even if you’re afternoon snack is 250 calories, they’re calories well spent if it prevents you from overeating 600 calories at dinner!
The key is to plan for a balanced snack that includes a portion of carbohydrate to keep your blood glucose levels from dipping and triggering carb cravings, and a portion of lean protein to help steady glucose levels and help you feel full.
Snack Suggestions: Being prepared is an important part of establishing healthy eating habits — and load up on snack baggies (1/2 size storage bags), small plastic containers for things like hummus, peanut butter, low fat salad dressings, and an insulated lunch bag and blue ice to carry it all to work.
Here are a few snack ideas that can satisfy your hunger in the hours leading up to dinner:
- ½ cup 1% cottage cheese and ½ cup canned fruit in water or juice
- ½ cup cottage cheese flavored with herb seasoning and ½ oz crackers
- ½ cup tuna mixed with light mayo and ½ oz crackers
- 1 ½ Tbsp peanut butter and ½ serving crackers
- 1 ½ Tbsp peanut butter on a sliced apple or small banana
- 2 wedges of Laughing Cow Light spreadable cheese and ½ serving crackers
- 2 Wedges Laughing Cow Light spreadable cheese on 4 crackers, carrots and celery sticks
- 1 oz reduced fat hard cheese (like Cabot 50% reduced fat) with ½ serving crackers
- 1 small whole wheat pita filled with 2 Tbsp hummus
After 12 years as a nutrition-based educator for Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates (HVMA), Hillary transitioned to a part-time position at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She is also the founder of New Vision Nutrition in Arlington, Massachusetts — a private nutrition consulting practice that includes nutrition counseling, public speaking, and teaching nutrition to colleges and institutions.
She is a contributing editor and regular writer for the newsletter “Environmental Nutrition” and is currently working with the Arlington Public Schools on grant-funded programs designed to increase nutrition, education and physical activity in the community. Hillary’s clinical interests include women’s health and nutritional management of polycycstic overy syndrome (PCOS).