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Mayo Clinic Dietitian Katherine Zeratsky Reveals Best Between-Meal Snacks (Video!)

Mayo Clinic Dietitian Katherine Zeratsky Reveals Best Between-Meal Snacks (Video!) 1 Listen to this article
Katherine Zeratsky Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic Dietitian Katherine Zeratsky talks about the value of fruits and veggies. (Photo: ScreenCap)

Mayo Clinic dietitian Katherine Zeratsky says between-meal hunger cravings may have nothing to do with hunger at all. But a few simple tricks can make you feel fuller quicker and for a longer periods without a lot of excess calories.


For many people, the afternoon lull is the toughest time to keep yourself from eating. This is when lunch feels like forever ago and dinner is still hours away, she says in a new Mayo Clinic video.

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“I think one of the key things … is to truly, first, ask, am I hungry, or am I doing it out of routine or boredom, or some other reason,” Zeratsky says.

A Diet High in Fruits, Veggies
Breakfast
  • Eat melon, grapefruit or other fruit.
  • Add bananas, raisins or berries to your cereal.
  • Drink a small (6-ounce) glass of 100% fruit or vegetable juice.
  • Add chopped veggies to eggs or potatoes–onions, celery, green, red bell peppers, spinach.
Lunch
  • Have a fruit or vegetable salad
  • Put vegetables on your sandwich–cucumber, sprouts, tomato, lettuce or avocado.
  • Eat vegetable soup.
Snacks
  • Raw veggie sticks–green or red bell peppers, green beans, celery or carrots.
  • Dried fruit–raisins, dates or dried apricots, in your purse or pocket.
  • Fresh fruit–grapes, apple, banana, orange, kiwi
Dinner
  • Have a fruit or vegetable salad.
  • A Side of steamed or microwaved vegetables;frozen veggies work
  • Cook whole potato, sweet potato or yam
  • Add chopped vegetables–onions, garlic and celery–to soup, stew, beans, rice, sauces.

Source:American Heart Association

if you can’t resist eating, be advised some snacks are better than others. “Our stomachs seem to be responsive to volume and weight,” she explains.

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That means some of the best snacks are the ones that fill you up with the fewest amount of calories.

“Fruits and vegetables are 80 percent to 90 percent water,” the Mayo Clinic’s Zeratsky says. “They’re bulky because they’re fibrous. And, so, they’re heavy and they take up space.”

They can trick your brain. Fruits and vegetables can make your body feel full more quickly than eating other foods.

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The best way to keep the full-feeling is to also eat some protein or fat, because they take longer to digest. She recommends peanut butter on fruit, or hummus or guacamole on vegetables.

“And, so, if you fill up with fruits and vegetables but then have a little bit of protein and fat, that’s going to digest slower, maintaining that feeling of satiety or that fullness,” Zeratsky explains.

The American Heart Association doesn’t see any downside to fruits and vegetables.

It recommends filling at least half your plate with fruits and veggies to make it to the recommended four and a half cups of each per day. And, all produce counts, whether it’s canned, fresh or frozen varieties.

But it’s important to compare labels when buying canned or frozen veggies. Look for the products with the lowest amount of sodium and added sugars. And, here’s another tip:

Include more color in your choice of fruits and vegetables. The vitamins, minerals and other nutrients they contain may help prevent heart disease, cancer and other illnesses. Some of these nutrients are fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin A and C. The best way to get all the various nutrients is to eat fruits and vegetables of many different colors.

“You can definitely reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by eating certain foods every day,” says Julie Zumpano, a dietitian in the Preventive Cardiology and Nutrition Program at Cleveland Clinic. “There is a great variety of fruits and vegetables that are good for your heart.”

That diet includes heart-healthy foods such as fish, whole grains, vegetables and fruits, but don’t be afraid to treat yourself occasionally with a glass of red wine or a piece of dark chocolate, Zumpano says.

Check out the video below.