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I would like to lose some weight. I try to eat very healthy food, no red meat, limited cheese, plenty of fiber and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and I try to snack wisely. Here is my question: What should I do when I am hungry? Can I eat all the (unadorned) fruits and vegetables that I want?
It sounds as if you are on the right track and making great choices. While you can and should snack, I don't think that you should eat all you want. Your idea of eating fruit is great but keep an eye on the calories. Snacking is really important to keep you from being hungry and your choice of fruits is a great one. The calories will vary depending on what you choose, but generally speaking come in around 100 calories. For instance, a banana is 105 calories and an apple contains 95 calories.
Nuts are also a good choice for snacking. You want to be careful because while they are good for you, they do have a lot of calories, so you might want to measure them out. An ounce of almonds comes in at about 160 calories but have been shown to help curb hunger and improve cholesterol profiles. Another good snack choice is 100 calorie packs of microwave popcorn. Each bag contains about 6 cups after popping and there's 4 grams of fiber with only around 225 mg of sodium.
Thanks for writing,
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP