healthy morning snacks

Photo: Thinkstock

3 of 6
When You're Already Rethinking Your Dieter's Lunch...
Set your timer to go off 45 to 60 minutes before your intended lunchtime, says Judith Wurtman, PhD, a former MIT researcher and a co-author of The Serotonin Power Diet. Then eat a "boring” (extremely low-fat) cereal such as Wheat or Rice Chex, Cheerios or Puffins. Wurtman says that although these simple carbs are often demonized, they boost the body's production of serotonin—a neurotransmitter that suppresses appetite—which helps you be satisfied with a diet-friendly lunch. The catch: no milk with the cereal, because the brain releases serotonin only in the absence of protein. (Dieters should have had protein for breakfast a few hours prior, she notes, along with a starchy carb like a slice of bread or whole grain, high-fiber, low-sugar cereal. and fruit.)

How much: About 3/4 to 1 cup of cereal (120 calories or 30 grams of carbohydrate and no more than 2 grams each of protein and fat)

Extra perk: Serotonin is a serenity-enhancer as well as an appetite suppressor (ideally, you'll feel lighter in more than one way). Wurtman recommends that you chow down the entire snack within 10 minutes of starting, or else serotonin will be produced more slowly. Expect appetite-suppressing, mood-enhancing magic to kick in within a half-hour.