How to snack smart in 2012

How to snack smart in 2012

(ARA) – Snacks – they can either be your worst dieting enemy or your new weight-loss best friend. The difference is all in the choices you make. This year, make it your resolution to learn how to snack smarter. To help, here are some tips to develop a healthier relationship with snacking.

Portion control
Hand someone a bag of chips and ask them to eat just 100 calories. Sounds impossible, right? Well for most people, it is. Not only is it hard to calculate quickly, our willpower alone will fail us. Soon a few chips become half the bag and the guilt sets in.

Don’t even give yourself the opportunity to overeat and instead think portion control. Replace full size snack bags with 100-calorie snack packs. They are the perfect way to know you’re only eating 100 calories and resist the urge to eat more. Snyder’s of Hanover offers a variety of 100-calorie Pretzel snack packs. Available in mini, snap or pretzel sticks, they’re sold in the snack aisle of local grocery store. They are quick and easy and perfect for kids or adults. Plus the best part is, once the snack pack is gone, you’re done.

Smart snacks
Making smart snack choices doesn’t mean you have to give up flavor or your favorite foods. There are a number of products that are low in fat, and can help satisfy your cravings. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Raisins – One ounce equals 85 calories. You could even cover them with chocolate. Chocolate can be healthy when consumed in small portions.

2. Graham crackers – Eight small rectangles is equal to 100 calories.

3. Celery with peanut butter – Five pieces of celery with 1 tablespoon peanut butter is equal to 100 calories. This is a very satisfying snack packed with protein and is also gluten-free.

4. Dried fruits and nuts – A small amount of dried fruits with a small amount of nuts is a snack kids love to eat.

5. Pretzels – One ounce equals 100 calories. You can even include cheese with your pretzels for something different with added protein.

6. Unsweetened applesauce – One cup is equivalent to 100 calories, and is a great snack idea for younger children.

7. Air-popped popcorn – Three cups or 1 ounce equals 95 calories. Popcorn is also gluten-free.

8. Fruit – All types of fruit are full of valuable nutrients and they also contain no gluten.

9. Baked corn tortillas with dip – Corn tortillas are a great alternative to potato chips. You can eat them with salsa and/or guacamole for a healthy treat.

10. Rice cakes – Rice cakes by themselves aren’t really nutritious, but they are gluten-free. Try topping them with cottage cheese and fruit, peanut butter with banana slices, or cheese and tomatoes for a more nutritious snack.

11. Fat-free sugar-free pudding – One serving contains approximately 80 calories. Another treat kids really enjoy.

12. Lettuce wraps – Fill a big lettuce leaf with tuna, hummus and your favorite vegetables and roll it up. You could even use a ham slice with hummus and vegetables for a change in variety. This is also a gluten-free snack.

Make it simple
Put healthy snacks out so they’re easy to grab. Take a bowl and make sure it’s filled with fresh fruit. For cold snacks create a healthy snack drawer in your refrigerator. Stock it full of baby carrots cut up veggies and low fat dip or puddings. To give your kids incentive to make healthier choices, give them permission to take any snack from these locations without asking.

Read up
When you’re in the store, read the label and look for low fat, whole grain or organic options when possible. You’d be surprised to see a lot of snacks you might have overlooked before. Even pretzels, like Snyder’s of Hanover Organic Whole Wheat Pretzel Nibblers, are made with whole grains and are low in fat.

Set small goals
Creating a healthy lifestyle doesn’t just happen overnight but the process shouldn’t be overwhelming either. Setting small goals, like snacking on vegetables for a week, can develop into long term eating habits. And it’s best to set goals that are obtainable so you see your success early on and you’re motivated to continue.

Healthy snacking is all about making the right choices. This coming year, it’s up to you to make the right decisions, hopefully these tips will help motivate you to a more wholesome and healthier 2012.