Photo Credit: Dave King/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images
Don't let snacks be your downfall. Stock up on the following to make sure you don't unneccessarily splurge on fatty empty calories when 4 PM, 9 PM...let's face it, any PM strikes.
Shira Lenchewski, R.D., founder of the Work+Play Method™
"Snacks can play a significant role in weight loss and weight maintenance, by helping keep ravenous appetites at bay. This is a great way to avoid overeating at meals," explains Lenchewski. "Nutritionally speaking, the ideal snack is around 200 calories and contains protein, healthy fats and fiber."
Her favorite snack to make: "When I’m in the mood for something savory, I like to whip up a simple garlic dip with 2 percent Greek yogurt and a garlic/olive oil blend with crudité," says Lenchewski. "One of my favorite sweet snacks is frozen Greek yogurt, using 2 percent Greek yogurt, ground flaxseeds and a tablespoon of unsweetened apple butter." (Editor's note: if garlic isn't your thing, fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon also works).
Her favorite fruit snack: "1/2 a banana with 1 Tbsp unsweetened almond butter and cinnamon." Um, yum!
Her favorite packaged snack: "My go to packaged snack is Justin's Maple Almond Butter packets. They are pre-portioned, have a great mix of fat and protein, and taste incredible, so they keep me going between meals. I also love Skinny Pop and seaweed snacks."
Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D., nutrition expert and author of Eating in Color: Delicious, Healthy Recipes for You and Your Family
"If you're trying to eat clean, look for very short ingredient lists," says Largeman-Roth.
Her favorite snack to make: "I love making an egg sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin. I use 1 slice of cheddar or muenster cheese and put a pan-fried egg on that side. On the other side I spread 1/4 of an avocado. You get healthy fats, protein, fiber and slow burning carbs -- perfect!
Her favorite fruit snack: "I adore fresh mango. I love it simply cut into slices or cubes. Sometimes I add a squeeze of lime juice on top. Mango is loaded with beta-carotene and vitamin C, which both help your skin look great."
Her favorite packaged snack: "I really like the dark chocolate and sea salt bar from KIND. It really has an amazing balance of salty and sweet and is loaded with heart-healthy nuts. And it's 200 calories -- perfect for a snack or post-run treat. This time of year I love to get a sweet fix from apples and pears. Both are packed with fiber and are a great way to stave off late night munchies."
Ashley Koff, R.D.
Be sure to watch out for "artificial sweeteners, colors and marketing terms that make it sound too good to be true!"
Her favorite snack to make: "I love anything wild salmon so at home I usually make Vital Choice wild salmon sausages at one point in the week and snack on them in different ways like wrapped in a greens leaf with some chopped up apples or eat them with some sweet potato slices or baked fries.
Another medley to throw together: Cacao nibs with nuts or hemp seeds. “I like my chocolate 90% cocoa so it's bitter or I get a chocolate bar with savory ingredients like chile peppers."
Her favorite packaged snack: "Hard for me to pick a favorite but I never leave home without a packet of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts. I find getting quality protein, minerals and essential fats the hardest on the go - I can pair this with any carbs and find some veggies.
Tanya Edwards is a contributing writer for iVillage. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.