The ‘100' mark

Looking for some to nosh on that won't wreck your diet? Melissa Southrey, a registered dietitian at Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point, recommends incorporating the following snacks or side dishes into your daily meal plan. Each serving contains about 100 calories:

A medium-size apple

(72 calories)

A medium-size banana (105 calories)

1 cup of blueberries

(83 calories)

1 cup of broccoli or bell peppers with 2 tablespoons of hummus (76 calories)

Soup's the thing

A bowl of soup can be made healthier with creative substitutions. If you add 1 cup of chopped vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beans or red peppers to the soup in place of 2 ounces of the meat or

1 cup of noodles, you'll be reducing your caloric intake and raising your nutritional value.

"Even with the substitutions, the soup will still be filling. But you'll be doing your body a favor," Southrey says. "You won't miss the extra calories at all."

Cooking/eating plan

Want to get the most out of your meals? At-home cooks can use preparation methods that lock in nutritional value.

"For instance, you should steam vegetables," Southrey says. "Stay away from frying, as that will increase the amount of fat and calories in the dish you are preparing. High-fat dressings and sauces are things to stay away from, as are breaded dishes."

Also, the dietitian says to remember how nature intended food to be eaten.

"There's nothing wrong with eating fruit and vegetables raw," she says. "They are delicious and retain their nutritional value."

Fast-food tips

If you have to eat fast food, your diet need not suffer too much. At a burger place, order a hamburger, skim milk and fruit instead of a Big Mac, soda and fries. Southrey says lower-fat options such as Subway are good, but "it's all about the caloric intake. Serving size is everything." If skim milk is unavailable, go with water. "We need eight to 12 8-ounce glasses of water per day," she says.

James Clark