Snack packs are tempting because they seem like a guilt-free way to indulge in junk food. After all, 100 calories is nothing. But with these snack packs you really do get “nothing” because they’re absolutely devoid of nutrition, says Chicago-based personal trainer Stephanie Mansour. “We’ve come to think of snacks as sugary, salty treats, but they’re actually meant to help us fit in all of the recommended servings of produce, dairy and grains -- things we don’t get at meals,” says Mansour. “That’s why you want to choose snacks that contribute to your nutritional needs and don’t just provide sugar and sodium. Those kinds of foods can cause wild swings in blood sugar that can leave you feeling hungry again fairly quickly. That leads to even more snacking, which can end up sabotaging your weight loss efforts.”
Fast Fix: Create your own healthier portable snacks -- two a day are ideal -- from fresh whole foods, suggests Mansour. Good choices: Peanut butter on celery or a hard-boiled egg.