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Easy Snack Ideas for a Healthy Diet
by Erin Rogers, Health-E-Meals.com

Most experts agree that snacking is a part of a balanced and healthy diet, as long as the snacks dont pile on empty calories. Like any other part of your diet, its important to put some thought into what kind of snacks to have on hand; otherwise its all too easy to pick something high-calorie, high-fat, or high-sugar.

Its a good idea to not let yourself get too hungry before eating a meal or snack, since this is a surefire way to encourage overeating. Drinking sufficient water throughout the day (8-10 glasses is generally recommended) will not only serve to keep you well-hydrated, but will also help you feel less hungry. Another good idea is to include some protein with your snacks, as this will help keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.

Following are some ideas for different types of snacks. You may be hungry for different kinds of snacks at different times, or on different days. Pick what sounds best, what you have on hand, and what fits best into your eating plan or strategy.

Crunchy/Salty:

  • Flavored popcorn or rice cakes
  • Pretzels (with or without some honey mustard dip)
  • Light microwave popcorn
  • Baked tortilla chips with salsa

Fruits& Veggies:

  • An apple (with or without some caramel dipping sauce)
  • Sliced strawberries with fat-free half and half
  • Raw veggies (try a dip with ranch seasoning and fat-free sour cream)
  • Frozen grapes

Dairy:

  • String cheese
  • Light yogurt
  • Chocolate milk (made with lowfat milk)
  • Cottage cheese with canned pineapple

Drinks:

  • Banana-chocolate whip (In a blender, combine 1 cup fat-free milk, 1 small banana, and a squeeze of chocolate syrup. Optional: toss in a few ice cubes for a frostier concoction)
  • Orange whip (In a blender, combine, 1 cup orange juice, 1 carton orange nonfat yogurt, and a few ice cubes)
  • Light Root Beer Float (Diet root beer with 1 cup lowfat ice cream
  • Steaming mug of fat-free hot chocolate/cocoa (with added calcium)

Sweets:

  • 2 whole wheat fig bars (look for these in the organic food section)
  • 2 lowfat graham crackers spread with 1 T. chocolate frosting
  • 3 Hersheys kisses
  • Animal crackers (1/2 small box) and a cup of lowfat milk

I recommend keeping a list of your favorite healthy snacking ideas, either on your refrigerator, in your purse, on your computer, or even your PDA. Sometimes its hard to think of a good snack option. With your list, youll never have to worry again and it will help with shopping, too!

© Health-E-Meals.com, 2003

This article may be reprinted with permission if the following resource box is included:

Erin Rogers, a work-at-home mom of two, is the founder of Health-E-Meals.com, providing practical healthy living resources for busy people. Visit her website to sign up for the FREE newsletter, 'Dinners on the Double' - offering a quick and healthy, no-recipe dinner idea each week. Other available services include quick and healthy recipes, healthy cooking articles, fitness and motivation tips, healthy living web links, and lots more! Erin can be reached via email at erin@health-e-meals.com.

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