Updated October 15, 2009

the-snack-factor-diet-guideThis plan teaches you to snack smarter to help you lose weight. Eating nutrient-rich foods throughout the day helps you control your hunger so you fill up with less calories and won't overeat.

Basic principles:
Snack on nutrient-dense foods to stay satisfied, eat less and lose weight. Monitor your hunger throughout the day and choose a calorie-controlled snack pattern that works best for you.

How it works:
For the first three days, focus on overcoming the "Nine Diet traps from Hell" by making basic changes like keeping a food diary, eating breakfast and drinking more water. Once you've broken your bad habits, follow basic guidelines to help you choose how to structure your meals and snacks for the next 30 days. You'll end up with a plan that's roughly 1,200 to 1,600 calories per day, and approximately equal parts fat, protein and carbs.

What you eat:
Plan an eating schedule that works for you—you can eat three times before lunch or save calories for a midnight snack, it's your choice—just keep your "Hunger Quotient" between 4 (slightly satisfied) and 6 (Slightly hungry) at all times. Eat meals and snacks that consist of one-third fat, one-third protein, and one-third carbs. Choose foods with high nutrient-density like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein and you'll naturally fill up on fewer calories.

How much can you lose?
Glassman says you'll lose weight in as little as three days, but she doesnt make any particular weight-loss promises.

Is it healthy?
Yes. Nutritious foods, small meals, and balanced snacks are part of a diet plan any nutritionist would recommend.

Expert opinion:
"Proper snacking (low sugar, high fiber, protein) is always a good idea. But if you dont reduce your meals, snacks just add more calories," says Donna Feldman, MS, RD. "The premise seems to be that good snacks will cut hunger, thereby cutting calories at meals. Well maybe, but what if overeating is driven by boredom or mindless eating or emotional overeating? This plan might be hard to follow in the real world, where food selection can be influenced by all kinds of things throughout the day."

Try this diet if you:
• Have tried a lot of diets
• Don't like a strict regime
• Are hypoglycemic

1-day sample menus:
Breakfast: 1 slice whole-wheat toast, 1 hard-boiled egg, 1 skim latte

Snack: 10 almonds, drinkable yogurt

Lunch: Mixed green salad, grilled chicken, 1 tablespoon Italian dressing, 1 small apple, water

Snack: KeriBar

Dinner: Grilled chicken sausage, mixed green salad, 1 tablespoon vinaigrette, steamed broccoli, 1 cup blueberries, water