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  • Mimi Greenwood Knight

Healthy Snacking 101

You work hard to plan healthy, well-balanced meals for your family. Make sure unhealthy snacking doesn’t derail your good efforts. Let these five tips help.


plate of fruit on toast


1. Plan ahead.


Don’t wait until you’re hungry and apt to make a bad choice. Prepare snacks ahead of time.


Keep a supply of fresh fruit and vegetables on hand.


Make grab-and-go packages of cut-up veggies, dried fruit, olives, healthy popcorn, and nuts and take them along, when you leave the house.


2. Combine protein and whole grain.


When combined with protein, whole grains can help curb your appetite between meals.


Pair healthy cheeses with whole-wheat crackers, hummus with whole-wheat pita, and graham crackers with a healthy yogurt (low-sugar or sugar-free)​.​


3. Learn to read nutrition labels.


Many packaged foods list the total calories for one serving on a pack containing two, three—or more—servings. Be sure to multiply the calories per serving with the total number of servings.


Spend some time educating yourself about these and other nutrition labeling factors.


4. Avoid “diet food”.


Many products advertised as “fat-free” or “low-fat” are high in added sugar and sodium.


Similarly, many popular "100-calorie snacks" contain little or no nutrients.


5. Don’t snack mindlessly.


Have you ever looked down at a bag of popcorn or chips and wondered, “When did I eat all

this?”


If possible, take a break and give your snack the same attention you would a meal.


Decide ahead of time how much you’ll eat and stop when you’ve eaten the allotted portion.


In general, look for snacks that are high in fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and low in added sugar, trans fats, and sodium. And remember, dark chocolate (with 70% cacao or better) is great for your heart.

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