It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

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Ask Dr. Gourmet

My Dr. Gourmet Diet meal plan does not include any snacks. Do you recommend building in morning and afternoon snacks?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Thanks for your great question.

The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan software doesn't have specific provisions for including snacks. I do think that snacks are an important part of your meal plan, however. On the Food Diary page we've included some instructions on how to make snacks part of your plan.

Adding Snacks

There are days where your meal plans will not always add up to exactly the number of calories requested. You are encouraged to snack and snack sensibly on those days and when you feel hungry. Here's some suggestions for great snacks that have been proven to be satisfying and are really healthy.


I want you to eat more fruit and nuts. But I want you to also know about the right portion sizes. Here's a guide and calorie counts. It's interesting to compare these to a Hershey bar with 210 calories. That's the equivalent of almost three apples!

  Serving Size Calories
Apple 2 3/4 inch diameter 77
Applesauce (sugar free) 1/2 cup 84
Banana (6 inch long) one 90
Blackberries 1 cup 62
Blueberries 1 cup 84
Cantaloupe 1/4 large melon 69
Cherries 15 77
Cranberries (dried/sweetened) 1/4 cup 92
Cranberries (fresh) 2 cups 94
Currants (dried) 1/4 cup 102
Grapefruit 1 cup sections 74
Honeydew Melon 1/6 large melon 86
Mandarin Oranges 3/4 cup 78
Mango 3/4 cup 80
Orange 3 inch diameter 86
Papaya 1 1/2 cups 82
Pineapple 1 cup 82
Plums 1 cup 76
Raisins 1/4 cup 15
Raspberries 3/4 cup 96
Strawberries 3/4 cup 73
Watermelon 2 cups 92


There's no doubt that nuts are better for you than junk food. There's research that shows you won't gain weight having nuts for snacks (where you will having processed snack foods). That said, there are a lot of calories and even though they are great quality calories you want to be cautious.

  Serving Size Calories
Almonds 1/4 cup 206
Cashews 1/4 cup 187
Peanuts 1/4 cup 205
Pecans 1/4 cup 188
Pine nuts 1/4 cup 227
Pistachios 1/4 cup 171
Pumpkin seeds 1/4 cup 187
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 67
Walnuts 1/4 cup 191

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet