Three Snacking Rules Joy Bauer Swears By For Healthy Weight Loss

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Snacking gets a bad rap. From TV shows portraying them as late-night cravings that get out of hand to real-life scenarios where we make unhealthy choices on what we snack on (think salty potato chips, ice cream, and sugary cookies), it's not difficult to see why. 

But snacking isn't as bad as you think it is. In fact, it can even be helpful when it comes to weight loss, according to NBC's TODAY Show nutrition and lifestyle expert, Joy Bauer. Snacking helps you stay full, helps prevent cravings, and also makes sure you don't overeat at your main meals. What's not to love? 

Appearing on Access Hollywood, the registered dietician nutritionist shared her three rules when it comes to snacking, the first of which has to do with limiting your intake to under 200 calories. This falls within the general expert-recommended amount of calories when it comes to snacking. You're basically looking for something satisfying enough to keep you going through the day but not too calorific to mess with your weight loss goals.

In the episode, Bauer proceeded to unveil a few healthy snacks that can help you lose weight, starting with rosemary parmesan popcorn (180 calories per serving) and ending with a no-bake key lime pie dish (165 calories per serving), which brings us to rule number two — what your snacks are made of. 

Make sure your snacks are made of wholesome ingredients

Joy Bauer's snacking rule number two is about healthy ingredients (via Access Hollywood). We're talking regular light popcorn topped with olive oil, rosemary, and parmesan cheese; strawberries with powdered peanut butter (we'll get to that in a minute); boiled eggs stuffed with hummus and sprinkled with paprika; and non-fat Greek yogurt combined with some sugar, the juice of four key limes, and a square of graham cracker. 

Popcorn is a low-calorie snack. It's also a good source of fiber (which keeps you feeling full) and antioxidants. Additionally, popcorn has a hidden nutritional benefit over fruits and vegetables: It's higher in inflammation-fighting polyphenols. The kind of popcorn you get matters, though. The heavily salted, buttery, or sugary kinds aren't great when it comes to weight loss so you may want to go with the organic and light variety. 

Another snack option by Bauer — strawberries with diluted powdered peanut butter is interesting, to say the least. Turns out, you can find powdered peanut butter in the same aisle as you would the regular kind but it's higher in protein and lower in calories "so you can eat more," per the nutritionist. Low in calories and sugar while being high in antioxidants and fiber, strawberries are a good choice for snacks too. In fact, Bauer's Instagram has more strawberry-inspired recipes you can check out. 

It is also easy to see why Joy Bauer thinks you should eat an egg every day — one snack option contained eggs (minus the yolk) and hummus. Combined together, eggs and hummus offer lots of protein, good fats, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. On to rule three.

Your snacks should satisfy your cravings

Understanding what your food cravings are trying to tell you is a part of having a healthy relationship with food. Weight loss is also about having a healthy relationship with food. 

Joy Bauer's recipes, especially the sweet options like the no-bake key lime pie and strawberry with peanut butter tie into that concept of satisfying your cravings. "They have to taste delicious and be interesting. Otherwise, we're going to keep snacking all day long because nothing is going to satisfy us," shared the nutritionist with Access Hollywood.

For example, with the no-bake key lime pie, you're getting the goodness of low sugar, satiating protein, and probiotics for gut health with Greek yogurt together with some zesty lime, a small dash of sugar for taste, and the satisfying crunch of graham crackers. While graham crackers aren't a great source of nutrition in and of themselves, pairing them with other healthy snack options can be a good idea. The author of the book "From Junk Food to Joy Food: All the Foods You Love to Eat... Only Better," even suggested a spicy twist to the popcorn dish by adding a few drops of hot sauce as topping. 

Weight loss is about being consistent with your food choices, exercise, and other lifestyle factors. Following Joy Bauer's three rules might help you get on track, at least in the food and snacking department. If you enjoyed reading tips from this registered dietician, check out the Health Digest exclusive on what Joy Bauer has to say about four foods that can improve your overall health