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Nutrition Library: Healthy Eating

Healthy Snacking Tips

Any nutritionist worth her salt will recommend eating an apple or carrot sticks if you want a healthy, nutritious snack. But can you imagine serving crudités, tofu kabobs, and rice cakes when "the gang" comes over to watch the big game on television? Even the most health-conscious among us have to admit that there are times when only cookies, chips, crackers, dips, and spreads will do.

Snacking Strategies:

  • Try a raw vegetable platter made with a variety of vegetables. Include some good fiber choices: carrots, snow peas, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans.

  • Make sauces and dips with nonfat plain yogurt as the base.

  • Eat more fruit. Oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, apples, pears, bananas, strawberries and cantaloupe are all good fiber sources. Make a big fruit salad and keep it on hand for snacks.

  • Plain, air-popped popcorn is a great low-fat snack with fiber. Watch out! Some prepackaged microwave popcorn has fat added. Remember to go easy on the salt or use other seasonings.

  • Instead of chips, try one of these low-fat alternatives that provide fiber: toasted shredded wheat Squares sprinkled with a small amount of grated Parmesan cheese, whole-grain English muffins, or toasted plain corn tortillas.

  • When you are thirsty, try water, skim milk, juice, or club soda with a twist of lime or lemon.

Smart and Easy

Today, it's easier than ever to find a version of your favorite brand or type of snack food that is lower in fat or sodium than the "regular" version. These are some of the descriptors to look for on the front of the package:

  • Fat-free: less than 0.5 grams (g) of fat per serving

  • Low-fat: 3 g or less per serving

  • Light: one-third fewer calories or half the fat of the "regular" version

  • Low-sodium: 140 milligrams (mg) or less per serving

  • Lightly salted: at least 50 percent less sodium per serving than the "regular" version

  • Reduced: when describing fat, sodium or calorie content, the food must have at least 25 percent less of these nutrients than the "regular" version.

(Reprinted with permission from the National Institutes of Health and the United States General Services Administration)

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